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Costa del Sol railway extension vital

News date: Sunday, 15th of May, 2005

Political leaders along the Costa del Sol are keen to jump on the railway bandwagon when hearing that the PP, the party in power, has promised to extend the local railway to Algeciras. Many feel that it is a century too late but, nonetheless, still vital to the development of the coast especially with the arrival of the high-speed Ave train in Malaga in 2007.

The PP Party will be campaigning for the scheme to be implemented within the next four years. Angeles Muñoz, an MP who is standing for mayor of Marbella, says: “This urgency is justified as the Costa del Sol has undergone tremendous growth in recent years due to the rise in tourism and a boom in the construction of property. Over a million people currently live between Malaga and Algeciras and to this figure must be added the 8.5 million tourists who visited the coast in 2002.” Some politicians however are against the scheme and feel that the PP Party is using this proposal as an electoral promise.

Nevertheless, many business owners are totally in favour of the idea especially those who are affected by the on-going traffic problems. The Chairman of the Costa del Sol Jewellers’ Association, Miguel Gomez who is based in Marbella, stresses: “The railway line should be extended right now! It should really have been opened 20 years ago.” Estepona and Manilva have both earmarked land for the railway track. Rosa Diaz, the Mayor of Estepona, feels that the proposed extension will put her municipality right in the centre of the two provinces of Malaga and Cadiz. “The train will be fantastic for us,” she said, “from both the tourism and business points of view.

The extension of the track will bring the Costa del Sol closer to the rest of Spain, but especially the capital. Many flights come in from Madrid with passengers who wish to travel along the coast.” With the population due to increase by several hundred thousand within the next few years, a modern railway transport system is a necessity to give both the residents and visitors a service to keep pace with progress.

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