No train today (still)
UNTIL the Quisi Viaduct issue has been resolved, the Calpe-Denia rail link cannot reopen.
This section of Line 9 between Benidorm and Denia was closed in July 2016 on safety grounds while modernisation was carried out although the regional rail operator FGV initially estimated that all of Line 9 between would come into service by 2019.
This was soon put back to early 2020 and it now seems inevitable that Line 9 passengers will continue making the Calpe-Denia journey on a bus provided by FGV until 2022.
Completing the project is closely linked to building a new bridge over the Quisi ravine in Benissa, which FGV believes will take a little over two years to build.
But more than engineering problems are attached to the viaduct.
Last September, Benissa council voted unanimously in favour of a motion presented by Compromis calling for the project to be halted while other options are sought.
Since 2018 Benissa town hall, supported by the local population and railway enthusiasts, has fought to save the emblematic bridge which was built in 1915 and is classed as a superb example of early 20th century railway architecture.
FVG has pointed out that alternatives are limited once the line’s new electro-diesel trains are introduced.
These will run as trams on electrified sections and conventional diesel locomotives elsewhere but the existing viaduct over the Quisi ravine will not be able to take their weight.
If the entire Line 9 is ever to reopen, the rail operator insisted, a new bridge must be built, parallel to the revered 1915 structure.