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Will the 163rd Year be the Charm? Malaga-Marbella Train Plan Unveils its 7th

January 9, 2024
Malaga-Marbella coastal train plan: seven official projects in 162 years, but will this be the definitive one?

New Coastal Train Project Proposed for Costa del Sol

ARCS consultancy and Economic Analysts of Andalucía, commissioned by Malaga city council and the Diputación, Malaga’s provincial authority, have put forth a new proposal for a coastal train project. This is the latest in a series of proposals for a railway line along the Costa del Sol, stretching from Malaga city to Marbella.

Details of the Latest Proposal

The new proposal suggests an 88% underground route, running parallel to the A-7 motorway. The project is estimated to cost around 2.7 billion euros and is expected to be completed in eight years. The trains would operate at speeds of up to 160 km/h, potentially serving around 44 million passengers annually. The entire route would be new from Malaga Airport, while the existing Malaga-Fuengirola Cercanías track and services would continue to operate in parallel.

A Long History of Proposals

Interestingly, the first plan for this route dates back to 1862, and there have been seven official projects over the past 162 years. At one point, the extension of the Malaga-Fuengirola Cercanías service was considered, but was eventually dismissed. The lack of available land on the Costa del Sol meant that only three subsections were initially designated.

Previous Plans and Challenges

As early as 1926, a Royal Decree included a Malaga-Algeciras line in the plan of lines for “preferential and urgent construction”. However, various circumstances led to the railway line not being reconsidered until the 1960s. It was then included in a national plan for modernisation, which also encompassed the Madrid and Barcelona metros. Despite these plans, the line between Malaga and Fuengirola was only electrified in 1970, with the current services beginning operation on a single Renfe gauge track.

Recent Proposals and Future Prospects

More recently, the Plataforma Infraestructuras group proposed a new high-speed route through the interior of the Guadalhorce valley. This would reduce travel time between the airport and Marbella to 40 or 50 minutes. The proposed C3 line would run through Alhaurines, Coín, and Monda to Mijas. Despite the numerous proposals and plans, the economic situation and other challenges have prevented these projects from moving beyond the planning stage.

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