The Ministry of Public Works knew three years ago that it would need to withdraw hundreds of loss-making rail routes across Spain to meet European Union requirements. The restructuring process has commenced but with one major problem, the passengers were not warned in advance.
At the beginning of the week it was almost impossible to know exactly what trains were operating around the northwestern region of Galicia. National rail operator Renfe, and Adif, the company that manages the lines, attributed the delay in informing rail users to last-minute political decisions to make changes to the announced cuts. So far the ministry has remained silent on the matter.
Months ago the ministry announced the elimination of the least-used Galician route, between Ourense and Puebla de Sanabria, but at the last minute decided to “delay” its closure until later in June, according to the Renfe spokesman.
These last-minute changes explain the mistake made by regional infrastructure chief Agustin Hernandez when he told the Galician parliament that 72 out of 306 weekly services in the region were to be withdrawn. In the end only 36 services were canceled with Galicia also gaining extra services to Madrid. Beyond that figure, Renfe was this week unable to give details of which services were currently running in the region.
The number of links between major cities has not been greatly reduced, but many intermediate stops have. The Galician regional parliament said alternative bus routes were available, serving all the closed stations