MADRID – Travellers in Spain experienced significant inconvenience on the railways at the weekend. Disruptions and incidents led to train cancellations on the AVE high-speed train route between Madrid and Valencia since Friday.
This resulted in hundreds of people having to wait for hours to rebook their tickets. The incident came at a critical time for tourism in the country, precisely during the long weekend ‘Puente del Pilar’ that started last Thursday with the Fiesta Nacional de España. It once again puts pressure on the services of rail companies Renfe and Adif.
Tourists and local travellers affected
Tourists Pedro and Santos from Burgos received a message about the cancellation of their train while they were having lunch. Then, after four hours of waiting in Valencia’s busy Joaquín Sorolla station, they finally got a ticket for Saturday. Begoña and Javier chose to book a new ticket online and therefore had to arrange an extra night in a hotel.
Joserra González de Zárate, spokesperson for Obras Públicas y Transportes of the PP political party, has asked for an explanation. He also announced that he would ask the president of Adif, María Luisa Domínguez, for an explanation. The focus is on the increase in incidents in a short period of time and what measures are being taken to prevent recurrence.
Magnitude of the problem
According to the railway companies Iryo and Ouigo, around 7,000 people were affected by the problems, while Renfe said 1,824 users were affected on the day of the outage. The incidents started early in the morning of Saturday with an incident at the installations of Monteagudo de las Salinas (Cuenca) and power outages in Bifurcación Albacete, which led to a chain reaction of disruptions. The company has deployed buses to transport travellers between Cuenca and Albacete.
Fault in the overhead line
Adif points to a fault in the overhead line as the cause, caused by a defect in one of the trains. This information will be forwarded to the Ministry of Transport, which has requested the utmost urgency. Renfe says affected travellers can rebook or cancel their train tickets free of charge.