Coastal rail link back on the table

Coastal rail link back on the table

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CercaniasFor years local authorities and businesses on the western Costa del Sol have been demanding a rail link serving the coastal population west of the existing Malaga to Fuengirola train service.

In 2004 studies were carried out and plans drawn up for a line running from Malaga to Estepona with stations in Marbella, San Pedro and Estepona with a proposed completion date of 2012.

Unfortunately the financial crisis led to the project being shelved and despite constant petitioning no money was set allocated for it.

Cut to 2014 and the project was taken down from the shelf and dusted off and new studies carried out which identified a number of potential routes. Whilst it has been concluded that there is little possibility of a high speed AVE link, it would be feasible to extend the Malaga-Fuengirola line to Marbella and Estepona.

Five possible routes were drawn up of which three have been rejected as too expensive or too disruptive to existing infrastructure.

Of the two remaining: one would see the line running in entirety underground almost following the A7 coast road which would have a cost of 2 billion euros to Marbella and 3.8 billion euros if it extended to Estepona. A cheaper alternative would be for a route which runs mostly on the surface parallel to the AP-7 toll road, with underground sections where it deviated towards the main population centres with at an estimated cost of 1 billion euros to Marbella and 2.4 billion euros to Estepona.

One of the main obstacles is the density of the urbanised areas making it impossible to build the track on the surface without routing too far inland to make it an attractive transport alternative.

Passenger projections are for 4.6 to 5 million passengers on the Fuengirola to Marbella section by 2024 and 7.4 to 8.15 million for the Fuengirola to Estepona option.

Geological surveys are nearing completion and a new 1/5000 scale plan drawn up once completed.

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