The trains on the line between Extremadura and Madrid have improved their travel times in the last four days. Although punctuality has not been achieved, they are “acceptable” delays, according to the Secretary of State for Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Isabel Pardo de Vera, who has traveled to Mérida to report on the measures that, for now, have solved the numerous incidents of this service, and which involved delays of up to more than an hour in the first days of the so-called ‘fast train’ of Extremadura.
For this reason, the travel times of the new trains will not be increased, as announced by the president of Renfe, Isaías Táboas, but an increase in the estimated stopping times at the line’s stations will be studied. According to Pardo de Vera, some “very optimistic” calculations were made regarding the number of passengers getting off and on, and he gave as an example that the estimated time at Atocha station is two minutes. Another example: at the Mérida station it is necessary to “go around the train”, so the driver must change cabin and Renfe has verified that it takes more time than expected.
Despite the fact that for now the failures have been resolved, the Secretary of State has announced the commitment of the state company to return 50% of the amount of the ticket for a delay of more than 15 minutes, following Renfe’s policy with the AVE . In the case of the Alvia, which is the train that runs on the new Extremadura platform, the 50% refund is made if the delay exceeds half an hour.
Pardo de Vera has also rejected the explanations given by the presidents of Renfe and Adif last Friday, who blamed the heat and the slopes of the Extremadura section for the overheating of the train, which caused the engine’s traction to decrease by 50% and, therefore, therefore, the speed. “On mixed traffic roads like these, the slopes are less, so it is not an excuse, and in the case of the heat it was a hypothesis that was considered at the time but the manufacturer has ruled it out and guarantees total safety” , has explained.
However, the Secretary of State for Transport has lamented the “tremendous accumulation of incidents”, which have been “unacceptable”, although she has also admitted the lack of foresight for not reinforcing the maintenance brigades in the first days of the commercial service to solve any failure in the shortest possible time. Now that increase in personnel exists and will remain in the Extremaduran section of the line to avoid further delays.