Wednesday, January 19

Renfe has suppressed 25% of regional trains for 18 months

From today Two of the services suppressed in the Community are recovered a year and a half ago, a train in each direction between Castelló de la Plana and Vinaròs, which also connect directly with Valencia. Renfe confirms, however, that it is not the principle of restitution of services prior to the pandemic on all lines, but of one more specific step, as before with two circulations -one in each direction- between Valencia and Alicante and between the regional capital and Alcoy. Moreover, with the re-implementation of the aforementioned trains between Castelló and Vinaròs, this line is on the same level as the others in proportion of the routes offered.

Renfe sources insist that around 75% of the trains prior to the pandemic circulate on all lines, a high percentage compared to other areas of the country. And while this is objectively true, the absence of some existing routes until March 2020 can greatly condition the lack of use of the rail service, especially on those routes in which the daily frequency of circulation was already low. And the public operator shields itself from the beginning, precisely, in the demand to go or not to replenish trains.

The clearest example is the Alcoy line, where until a year and a half ago there were four trains in each direction every day and now there are three, one of them reestablished in December; Indeed, it is 75% of the service prior to the start of the health crisis, but the absence of that fourth train is very noticeable.

The main machinists’ union affirms that the eliminated routes are not replaced due to lack of personnel and trains


At this time it is impossible to go from Alcoy in Valencia by train after 3.18pm, except on Sundays, and it is also not possible to return from the autonomous capital after 5.14pm. That last service of the day, which left Valencia after 8:00 pm, had a lot of use.

Among Alicante and Villena, as this newspaper has already been publishing over the last few months, the cut in services is noticeable in the capital of the Alto Vinalopó and Elda, going from ten routes in each direction to eight, but even more so in Novelda and Sax. Not all trains stop there and the offer has been reduced to six in each direction, which can lead to periods of several hours between one and the next. These circumstances can make it difficult for travelers to recover, despite the fact that activity and social mobility are on the rise. Last year, the pandemic caused the loss of more than half of the users compared to 2019.

If these medium-distance services were officially commuter, the hours prior to the health crisis would have been restored some time ago, as is the case, for example, between Alicante and Murcia or between Valencia and Xàtiva. When new routes of Alicante to Villena and from Castelló to VinaròsIn 2018, there was an informal discussion of “neighborhoods” and, in practice, that is the service they provide. However, the nuance of the name, as seen in this case, can go far beyond a simple commercial or exploitation question. Various sectors have appealed for these routes, like the one from Valencia to Alcoy, to be considered suburbs, which would also favor links with other routes by integrating the rates into the same network.

There is also another factor that the machinists’ union has pointed to in recent weeks Semaf, which in mid-August assured that if Renfe has not yet replaced all the services that were suppressed a year and a half ago, it is because it does not have mobile equipment or enough personnel to provide them. The organization shuffles the call for a strike if the canceled circulations are not reintroduced, and denounces that Renfe fails to comply with the employment plan included in the agreement and “is leading the system to collapse.”

Cuts also continue in the long distance of the Mediterranean Corridor

The province continues with two Intercity to Barcelona compared to the four that previously circulated

The passengers most affected by this one and a half year reduction in trains are those of medium distance because they are often journeys that are made or made daily, but the elimination of services is also maintained in long distance. As far as the province is concerned, between Alicante and Barcelona there are only two Intercity, which are the only ones that stop at intermediate stations between capitals. Before the pandemic there were four daily trips of this type from Alicante, and of them came from Murcia. Thus, Elda and Villena had four daily services to the Catalan capital, and three to Orihuela and Elche. However, now only two circulate, originating in Lorca and Cartagena. The most notable absence is that of the convoy that was heading towards Barcelona early in the morning and returned in the middle of the afternoon. In Alicante this cut is not felt so much because the provincial capital has four other daily frequency Euromed trains.

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