NEW CHANCE FOR THE LEMON EXPRESS
AFTER 12 years, there is finally hope that the Lemon Express train, from Benidorm to Gata de Gorgos, will run again.
The company behind the resurrection, Gestión Ferroviaria, has been in talks with the train company, FGV (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana), to try and restore and run the legendary tourist train, whose carriages are sitting in a storage yard in Campello.
Gestión Ferroviaria is proposing to obtain the manage- ment of the train, either by a direct contract or by bidding for the concession to run it. This all depends on the Valencia government agreeing to allow it to go to public tender.
In return, they would restore the old carriages and put it back on the tracks during hours that “at no time" would disturb the Line 9 timetable. They propose that the Lemon Express would once again cover the Benidorm to Dénia route at an intermediate frequency to the FGV tram, which would make it possible to simultaneously connect the two.
The director of Gestión Ferroviaria, Josep Calvera, said that placing it on the tracks is not as complicated or as expensive as the Valencian government thinks. He also stated that although the carriages have been left standing for many years, they were actually like new, as they were replacements which had never been used. They have never been on the track.
Twelve years ago, a decision was taken to terminate the service whilst maintenance on the tracks took place, and the Lemon Express was parked near Campello. Calvera said "They only travelled a few kilometres between the workshops of La Marina and Campello. The frame and the wheels are totally new; some still have their factory labels. One million euros was invested and they were never used."
The carriages have since been the victim of graffiti and only two cars, one for passengers and one for the restaurant, have retained their appearance. The other 10 need thorough cleaning, new windows and repainting.
The plan came to fruition when a company in Benidorm proposed that one of the carriages be placed on a roundabout as a tourist feature. Calvera, who devised the idea, said that "the project is feasible" and he did not lose hope of "recovering from memory a historical train that is part of the culture of all the inhabitants of the area".
The Lemon Express went from Benidorm to Gata de Gorgos, where it stopped at the guitar factory. On the return route, copious amounts of free cava was enjoyed by many passengers, with many not recalling their trip back on the rickety wooden bench seats.