April 23, 2021

The demands of Catalonia condition the renewal of Cercanías trains

The demands of Catalonia condition the renewal of Cercanías trains


Madrid BarcelonaUpdated:

Renfe announced on Monday that it will invest almost 3,500 million euros in buying up to 331 Cercanías trains. A fleet that, according to the railway operator, will go to the large urban centers: Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. But, in the case of Ciudad Condal, this reinforcement is still in the air.

And is that the rail operator has to sign with the Generalitat, which has the powers of Cercanías, the contract-program that specifies the needs of the region in this matter. Until this procedure takes place, it will not be possible to determine the number of trains that will be directed to the community, although the public company trusts that there will be advances in this matter soon.

It must be taken into account that, based on this document, The railway company is commissioned to operate railway services considered public and charges the corresponding public subsidy. Therefore, it is a guarantee for the company, which needs to finance itself to undertake the purchase of this rolling stock.

The complexity in the drafting of the service contract between Renfe and the Generalitat is what explains the delay in its approval, explain sources familiar with the negotiation. Since January 1, 2010 the Government transferred to the Generalitat the management of the Cercanías -from that day, Rodalies-, The Catalan Executive has always complained about what it considers an incomplete assignment, not having the decision-making or investment capacity over the infrastructures -in Adif's hands- nor the real capacity to rescind, if necessary, the Renfe operator's service.

Despite this climate of historical distrust -the accusations of lack of investment are recurrent whenever there are problems in the service- last November the Secretary of Infrastructure and Mobility of the Generalitat, Isidre Gavín, and the president of Renfe, Isaías Táboas, went to work in a new service contract for Rodalies, after the one that was agreed in 2013 will never be validated by the State. Almost half a year after that meeting, the contract remains unspecified, although negotiations are progressing.

Last Thursday, ABC learned, the aforementioned joint coordination body met again, and the technical meetings are regular. «It is not an easy matter», explain knowledgeable sources of the conversations, that emphasize that although the Generalitat, obviously, "squeezes" to ensure better services in the service – frequencies, punctuality, rates … – the tone is constructive.

Unlike other periods in which the tension between Renfe and the Government was enormous, the Catalan Executive made clear at the November meeting that the continuity of the company is not questioned -in fact, there would not be a viable alternative provider either-, but it's about Agree on conditions with ample enough time so that Renfe can give guarantees that the service will be provided with quality.

Other sources of the sector consulted by ABC, on the other hand, downplay the non-completion of the contract of services when awarding trains to the Cercanías de Barcelona and regional trains in Catalonia.

On the other hand, and apart from the specific problem with Renfe, the Government of Catalonia yesterday called on the Government to send Catalonia in advance. "The proportional part" that corresponds to the extra 7,000 million euros that the coffers of the State have collected in the form of taxes. This figure was announced by the Executive of Pedro Sánchez, which would be conveyed through the General Budgets of the State that ended up being knocked down in the Congress and that precipitated the convocation of general elections.

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