Trains, trains… with the new high-speed AVE and Avant links in Barcelona and Sevilla, word about them has been around the mill a lot recently. But this tidbit is about Malaga’s regional train, Cercanías, which currently runs between Malaga centre and Fuengirola. Plans have been unveiled for expansion of this line to reach Estepona, with the new stretch stopping in hotspots like Marbella and 13 others along the Costa del Sol. The project is a joint planning effort between the Andalucian and national government, and has a completion date set at 2011. It will be presented in multiple stages, with several groups performing the engineering studies and construction. Included in the challenges are a 4 km, twin-track underground tunnel between Las Lagunas and La Cala de Mijas (Fuengirola area), and making the existing tracks compatible with high-performance engines reaching top speeds of 200 km/h. This last task has caused a split in logistics and two possible options:
- Improvement of the existing line, including widening of the track beds and allowing for simultaneous Cercanías and mid- to long-range traffic. This has been the more popular option so far.
- Construction of a completely new stretch between Malaga and Fuengirola. This would share part of the Cordoba high-speed line, cross through the Malaga airport, and go through Sierra de Mijas to meet with the remainder of the Fuengirola-Estepona track. To this end, Aena has even reserved a tunnel for this hypothetical section under the airport in its expansion plans for the new runway and terminal.