CALPE-DENIA TRAIN STOPPED
Trains stopped and replaced with buses due to works on 100-year-old tracks, untouched for over 20 years
TRAINS from Dénia to Calpe have stopped for the whole of the summer and been replaced by buses while works are carried out on the tracks.
Another month or so of hassles and delays await commuters who rely on the ' snail rail', as they will now have to sit on coaches in traffic jams with no guarantee of exactly when they will arrive at their place of work.
The tracks between Dénia and Benidorm were built over 100 years ago and are not 'electrified', meaning they have no 'online' braking system.
Designed for maximum speeds of 80 kilometres per hour, stopping the train and slowing down relies entirely on the driver putting his foot on the pedal.
Most regional lines have at least an Automatic Train Protection (ATP) braking system on the track, whilst the more ad- vanced, long-distance links have a European-standard mechanism which slows and stops the train automatically if the driver becomes distracted – a system that would have prevented the devastating Galicia crash three years ago which killed 80 passengers.
An ATP and automatic block system will now be installed on the line, tracks mended and stations modernised, thanks to a cash injection of €15 million by the left-wing regional government which took over last year.
But it has not been confirmed how long the works will take.
Not a single cent has been invested in the Dénia-Benidorm connection, known as Line 9, in the 20 years since the PP came into power in the Valencian government, and it has deteriorated badly in that time.
Now, missing parts and broken track mean it is unsafe for the train to travel at more than 40 kilometres per hour along much of the line.
As a result, the trek to Benidorm from Dénia takes around an hour and 20 minutes, arriving minutes too late for the hourly connection from Benidorm to Alicante.
A Dénia resident who com- mutes daily to Villajoyosa, for example, can spend up to three hours getting to work – a journey which, by motorway, would take around half an hour, but is prohibitively expensive as it costs more in tolls than it does in petrol.