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Muñoz, García Urbano, Lillo, Luque and Moya during the forum Photo: Ñito Salas | Vídeo: Pedro J. Quero
'The train line project is unstoppable and it will be built': Marbella and Estepona mayors on the Costa del Sol railway
 

'The train line project is unstoppable and it will be built': Marbella and Estepona mayors on the Costa del Sol railway

Councillors, business leaders and regular Cercania commuter line have weighed in on the debate about how best to build the vital infrastructure

Chus Heredia

Monday, 17 June 2024, 11:36

Opciones para compartir

Municipal mayors, business leaders and commuters hacve participated in a second SUR forum discussing extending the railway line along the Costa del Sol, helping to put a megaphone to the voices of Malaga province residents.

SUR journalist Ignacio Lillo chaired the forum called, Analysing the Usefulness of the Future Coastal Train. The meeting was attended by Marbella mayor Ángeles Muñoz; Estepona mayor José María García Urbano; the president of the Association of Hoteliers (Aehcos) José Luque and Francisco Moya, a regular user of the Costa del Sol C1 commuter train service.

Muñoz said Malaga province was at a disadvantage to other parts of Spain. "We have infrastructure below our needs, but it has been proven that when trains have been introduced they have worked. We have the N340 at the point of collapse and the AP-7 toll road, which is the most expensive in Spain. It is our weakness. I am convinced that we will see this train line built. I want you to know that we will see it. There is a need and it is real".

The Estepona mayor said there is a social and media consensus on the need for a Costa train line extension. "We have to keep the flame alive. We have to reach half a million signatures, via SUR, and reach a legislative outcome," García Urbano said.

Private initiative and planning

Luque, from Aehcos, spoke about planning and its several challenges: coasts, water and connectivity. He said private partnership is key to the project.

Meanwhile, Moya, a regular user of the Cercanias considered the extension of the train line is necessary. "It is a burning issue that is not a one-day flower. It interests people, it interests us users. It is an opportunity that should not be missed. There are European funds. These are political decisions that will be of general benefit. We need a joint path. What we don't have is a study that says it shouldn't be done. It is going to be absurd that it is easier to go by drone from the airport to Marbella than by train. We have to think about the next generations," he said.

Study everything, consider all requirements

Muñoz pointed out the high demand of a service between Marbella and Malaga Airport: "An investment of this type, and that is what the technical studies are for, must take into account all the needs. You can have a fast AVE first thing in the morning and another one that takes much longer".

Services for all distances, double track

García Urbano linked quality destinations to quality transport: "We have seen that there is a technical consensus that it should be suburban and double track, with long and short links. I never think of the Malaga-Estepona train, I think of the people of Estepona who are going to travel sometimes 10, sometimes 20 and sometimes 100 kilometres, and that is what the double track allows".

The Aehcos director gave the example of a direct bus from the airport to Marbella in 40 minutes along the motorway. "It works very well, everything needs to be studied a lot. Hotels need goods. Maybe the gardener lives in Cártama. We are not a normal town, we are a big service town. If the resident is not happy, the tourist is not happy either. That's why we need a lot of science, statistics and changes in habits", he reflected.

Users' needs for a good service

"We need concrete things. It is no longer about today. Low emission zones are coming. It is not going to be possible to park in city centres. Is a train that finishes at 11pm at night on a Friday going to work for me," Moya said.

Muñoz pointed out the tourist potential of Marbella and the coast and cited the study of alternative routes presented years ago by minister Íñigo de la Serna. "The residents need to see that there is not only one side in favour, but that we all believe in this need," she said.

Discrimination

The Estepona mayor said there had been "discrimination": "It is citizen discrimination at the most basic level: students, pensioners, those with employment difficulties or those who do not have jobs or who are far away? Article 14 of the Constitution, discrimination between Spaniards," he said.

Luque also pointed out traffic jams at certain times on the accesses to Marbella are getting worse: "We have to do things now while this is happening".

Future generations

"There is a certain hope that the coastal train can be achieved, even if it is in phases. Or are we going to wait for the future of the province to be strangled by decisions taken now," Moya said.

Muñoz respected what the technicians want to opt for, and said that despite the minister not contacting her, said the project is "unstoppable".

"It is going to be done, yes or yes," García Urbano said, who pointed out technical solutions exist, and the economic issue can be resolved. He also said he sees possibilities of connection with the Costa Tropical of Granada and the Campo de Gibraltar. Aehcos believes it is essential for the coastal train line to be a general project for all the people of Malaga.

Land availability

Muñoz assured that Marbella will never have an issue of land reserves. In Estepona, underground is the better option for the railway, the municipality's mayor said.

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