An out-of-service Cercanías train. File photograph. / SUR

Train driver shortage forces Renfe to cancel 28 local passenger services

This Monday, 8 November, some 28 trains on the Fuengirola and Álora lines will not operate "for technical reasons" according to the national rail operator

ENRIQUE MIRANDA

The problem of local train cancellations and delays on the Renfe Cercanías service in Malaga is on the way to becoming chronic if the necessary staff are not soon put in place to allow trains to return to normal service.

Despite complaints from users, the Diputación de Malaga provincial government and the Junta de Andalucía regional government there has been little improvement and passengers continue to suffer the daily cancellations of trains and altered timetables.

To illustrate the situation, this Monday, 8 November, Renfe will cancel "for technical reasons" a total of 28 trains on the lines between Malaga and Fuengirola and Malaga and Álora. Although it is common for there to be cancellations every day, such a high number is not normal on a day on which no workers' strike is called.

The company has announced the cancellations on its app, a new service that it launched recently in response to passengers’ demands, who previously could only obtain information on cancellations on the information panels or through the public address announcements in the stations, so they didn't know in advance whether their train was going to leave or not.

According to the Renfe app the following trains will not operate this Monday:

On line C-1 between Malaga and Fuengirola, the Malaga departures at 9.10 am, 10.50 am, 2.10 pm, 3.30 pm, 3.50 pm, 5.10 pm, 6.30 pm, 8.10 pm, 9.10 pm, 10 pm and 11 pm (12 trains)

On the same C-1 line, the Fuengirola departures at 10.00, 11.40, 3 pm, 4.20 pm, 4.40 pm, 6 pm, 6.20 pm, 7.20 pm, 9 pm, 10 pm, 10.50 pm and 11.50 pm hours (12 trains)

On the C-2 line to Álora, the departures from Malaga at 1.40 pm and 7.40 pm and those from Álora at 2.56 pm and 8.49 pm (four trains)

The rail operating company has issued the information number 952 128 079 for passengers.

Weekend cancellations

This past weekend 12 local trains were cancelled on Saturday and 18 on Sunday. The lack of train drivers has been causing this situation for months with trains being cancelled practically without prior notice to passengers.

Renfe argues that the cancellations are due to several factors coming together that affect the local train driving staff and that the unforeseen cancellations will gradually normalise once the drivers who joined the company through public job offers in 2020 and 2021 complete their training.