The Minister of Development, José Luis Ábalos, has asserted today that railway investments in Extremadura are "a priority", both for "the normalization of the benefits of the conventional line", for which he has announced improvements in several lines and new units , as for the fulfillment of the terms of the high-speed network, which will be operational by 2020.
It is, said Ábalos, "to provide the region with the quality of infrastructure and services it deserves" in a situation that has come to be described as "serious".
Ábalos, who has said that in the next Board of Directors of Adif will tender 125 million euros in railway infrastructure for this region, has offered a press conference in Merida, after holding a working meeting with the president of the Junta de Extremadura , Guillermo Fernández Vara, and after attending a meeting with the Pact for the Railroad.
According to Vara, "this country has a debt owed to this land, which has to do with the rail network, which will not be paid until we have more than the others, but not less."
In order to "coordinate and evaluate" all the investments and the marked deadlines, Ábalos has announced the creation of the figure of "a coordinator of the Railway System of Extremadura", which will be in charge of intermediating between the Ministry of Development, RENFE, Adif and the Junta de Extremadura.
Regarding the improvements of the rolling stock, Ábalos has advanced that in 2020, five new hybrid trains will arrive in Extremadura, to renew the current fleet, which can circulate in both high-speed and conventional networks.
Fomento will continue with the implementation phases of the 599 model, since the two units that arrived in August will be added three in November, as many in February and another three in May, thus advancing the initially anticipated deadlines.
Likewise, Fomento will increase the operations of maintenance of the rolling stock and the installation of new traction motors in the 598 series, and will undertake a campaign of general revision of the engines of the 599 models.
Work is also being carried out on the awarding of the construction project and execution of the works of the new maintenance headquarters in Badajoz, whose works will be completed in 2019.
In the conventional line, to the 50 million euros already tendered in the last four years, the minister has announced an investment of 54 million euros for the improvement of the security facilities of the Humanes-Monfrague-Plasencia line, and the elimination of seven points of temporary speed limitations.
With regard to the section between Ciudad Real and Badajoz, Fomento will undertake actions that will involve the improvement of the line in a stretch of 85 kilometers, with a total investment of 83 million euros.
All investment is necessary because "for years" there was a decrease in investment in the conventional network, "which was abandoned". "There has been a certain decapitalization of the entire railway system," he added.
However, since the arrival of the new Government "all the projects have been tendered in their time". "Of the 170 million projected in rail between January and September, 97% have been awarded with this Government", remarked Ábalos.
As for the high speed, and according to the planned schedule, in the fourth quarter of 2019 the works of the Extremaduran high speed will be completed and by 2020 it will be operational. That year the hybrid trains will come into operation and, at the same time, the track will be electrified.