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Local Cercanías train on the Costa del Sol, full of passengers. Migue Fernández
Spain's transport minister pours cold water on possibility of extending coastal train line from Fuengirola to Marbella
Rail travel

Spain's transport minister pours cold water on possibility of extending coastal train line from Fuengirola to Marbella

Óscar Puente has weighed into the debate and said a direct line is the only feasible option, not extending the C1 Cercanías line from Malaga

Ignacio Lillo

Malaga

Tuesday, 2 April 2024, 17:14

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Spain's transport minister has poured cold water over the possibility of extending the C1 Malaga - Fuengirola train line along the Costa del Sol to Marbella or even Estepona.

Óscar Puente, spoke out on Monday 1 April for the first time since he took office about the debate in Malaga province during an interview with journalist Carlos Alsina on radio network Onda Cero.

Puente said "different alternatives" are being considered on the possible connection: "One is to strengthen the Cercanías train service and extend it, which would give rise to an uncompetitive Marbella-Malaga route, if the train stops at 20 places".

He added: "Extending the Cercanías to Marbella with all those stops means that in the end people will end up doing the same as they do now, which is to take the car to go to Malaga to catch the AVE".

New train corridor

Puente said it would only be feasible to build a new train corridor, in line with the latest technical studies carried out in Malaga, sponsored by Unicaja, the city council and the provincial authority, and which have been sent to the ministry for evaluation.

Therefore, the other option remains, which, as the minister pointed out, is to "create a direct line, Marbella-Malaga, of high-speed train line". "The problem of transport is that you draw a line on the map and everything seems very simple, you draw a straight line and it is easy. But the problem of landscape and the economic and environmental conditions of such a line are enormous".

"Nobody at the moment is proposing a solution of these characteristics in terms of cost and environmental impact," he said. "I think it is difficult to make such a commitment in a reasonable timeframe, when there is no feasibility study or environmental impact statement at the moment, nor a single piece of paper to work with," Puente added.

However, successive governments of the Partido Popular and the PSOE, have allocated funds in the general state budgets year after year for at least a decade, totalling more than eight million, always under the same heading: studies for the coastal train.

In 2018, during the Partido Popular's government, minister of public works Íñigo de la Serna presented the study of several alternatives for the route to extend to Estepona, with a plan to advance to the first phase of the environmental study, although in the end this process was cut short.

Puente referred to the improvement of the railway connections in the area, especially the project of laying double tracks for the Cercanias "to give it a greater capacity".

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