IN the first week of November 2006, the Spanish national government, led by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, awarded the construction work for the first stretch of the AVE line from Bobadilla to Granada. The work has therefore been underway for a decade now and remains unfinished.
This means that the construction of the line has now taken longer than the conventional railroad, which was built over a period of nine years between 1865 and 1874. All this despite the fact that the old railroad was obviously constructed using much more primitive technology.
Talks to build the AVE line date all the way back to 2000 when José María Aznar was in power. Its development has been plagued by numerous setbacks. Early on, archaeological discoveries were made along the route. At another point the work was paralysed for a year because it was threatening an aquifer. Regardless of which party was in charge, the work has been slow going.
However, Mariano Rajoy seems to have given the project a shot in the arm. The Ministry of Development has announced that the work will be finished by next summer and that the train will be in effect as early as autumn of next year. This would allow passengers to travel from Malaga to Granada within an hour.
Despite the fact that 90 per cent of the stretch has now been completed, it is likely that many people won’t be holding their breath, given the railroad’s track record.