Spain’s Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez this week inaugurated the high-speed railway line that joins Madrid with Antequera and Granada, a city, he said, “that has probably waited too long for the arrival of high-speed travel and its return to the railway network”.
Sánchez left from Madrid Puerta de Atocha Station at 9:15 am, accompanied by the Acting Minister for Public Works, José Luis Ábalos, the State Secretary for Infrastructure, Transport and Housing, Pedro Saura, the Chaiperson of Adif, Isabel Pardo, and the Chaiperson of Renfe, Isaías Táboas. The first stop was made at around 11:30 am at Santa Ana station in the town of Antequera (Malaga), where their groups was joined by the President of the Regional Government of Andalusia, Juan Manuel Moreno and the Mayor of Antequera, Manuel Barón. At around 12:30 pm, the train arrived at the high-speed station in Granada, where Pedro Sánchez unveiled a commemorative plaque.
“Today Granada won the battle with time and distance”, claimed Sánchez at the end of the journey. “This is a victory that means more jobs, more tourism and more economic development, not only for the city, but for the whole province”, he added. Pedro Sánchez argued that each euro invested in infrastructure, “directly translates into prosperity and future for society as a whole”, and that, with the arrival of high-speed railway travel, Granada can harness to the maximum its history and its universal heritage.
Safe, sustainable and strategic projects
In his speech, Sánchez stated that a modern infrastructure project must be based on four main pillars: safe travel, mobility as a right and an element of social and territorial cohesion, digitalisation and the incorporation of the latest technological development to ensure smart mobility, and the fight against climate change, in line with the commitments contained in the 2020 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement.
“We must minimize the contribution from transport and mobility to greenhouse gas emissions”, said Pedro Sánchez, who called for responsibility from all public authorities”, because the regressions that some people advocate in this field come with a dramatic cost”.
Sánchez defended the importance of strategic projects, with a direct impact on productivity. The government’s commitment to the Mediterranean and Atlantic Corridors respond to this philosophy, he remarked. The Mediterranean Corridor, he underlined, is a strategic infrastructure for Spain, particularly as regards goods traffic, and “above all, it is a decisive commitment to European integration, to Europe as an economic space for prosperity, but also to projects of co-existence between countries that share history, values and principles”.
Spain, leader in civil engineering
Sánchez praised the contribution from the professionals that have designed and planned the new high-speed line and those who have “physically laid the track and the rails with their own hands”. Thanks to all of them, he stressed, Spain is a leader in civil engineering applied to the development of major infrastructures, as can be seen in the fact that among the 10 leading groups in the ranking of transport infrastructure business undertakings in the world in 2017, five are Spanish.
Sánchez encouraged business owners in Granada to tackle their own future with ambition and optimism. “It is precisely now, when some people invoke conquering the past as their only project, that we need your boost to conquer the future”, he declared.
Shorter journey time and improvements in features and accessibility
As from 26 June, three AVE trains will connect Granada and Madrid in each direction, with a daily offer of 2,000 seats. The journey time will range between three hours and five minutes and three hours and nineteen minutes for the Altaria service between Madrid and Granada, a saving of approximately one hour and twenty minutes.
The arrival of high-speed travel to Granada also translates into trains with more features and services – such as Wi-Fi connections on the whole journey – more seats available and greater reliability. It also means a qualitative leap in terms of accessibility, since these trains have full disabled access and will have a customer care service for people with reduced mobility.
The new connection between Granada and Madrid includes other towns and cities in Andalusia, such as Loja, Puente Genil and Cordoba, as well as Ciudad Real. In addition, Renfe will establish, as from 26 June, a direct connection between Granada and Barcelona with a daily AVE train in each direction, thus offering another 730 seats to the high-speed offer from the city of Granada.
Coinciding with the start of ticket sales, Renfe has launched a promotional offer to travel between Madrid and Granada for a price of 35 euros, and 45 euros for journeys that begin or end in Barcelona.