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Elections, a flooded tunnel and chaos: 24 hours without a train between Madrid and Valencia

Date: April 19, 2024 Time: 15:40:41

No one could have expected that, in the middle of election day, one more railway incident would generate so much noise. The fire in a chest at four in the morning on the Sunday when Spain prepared to vote left the pumping system of the high-speed rail tunnel located underground in Valencia, and which is below sea level, useless. The situation led to an 80-centimeter high flood that disabled the infrastructure, according to what Adif, the network manager, revealed immediately.

The difficulty of putting out the fire, first, of extracting the smoke, then, and of draining the water, finally, made it impossible for the rail service to return to normal on a critical day for mobility. Sunday, July, back from vacation for many and, on top of that, election day. A perfect cocktail. Time would run out and both Adif and the three operators that provided services that day rushed to take action. Each one, depending on their resources. The manager of the network contracted more pumps to drain water and moved all the necessary technical means to return to normality as soon as possible.

Renfe’s flexible plan

Renfe, as the majority operator, left one of the trains that were en route in Requena and, using buses, transferred its passengers to Valencia. The second train of the day, one from Ouigo that left from Chamartín, stayed in Cuenca and many of its travelers chose to get off and seek their lives to get to Valencia. The following trains to or from Madrid were canceled pending solutions.

But the passengers kept arriving at the stations, and the crowds, the waits and the complaints began. And here, each operator applied his own policy. Renfe, taking advantage of the greater flexibility of its fleet and the existence of the conventional line, arranged several shuttle trains to Albacete and relocated its 8,500 passengers on the AVE that connect Madrid with Alicante. Once the incident ended, the state company wanted to highlight being “the only one of the three companies that offered alternative trips that same day so that those affected could reach their destination.”

The private ones, with little room for action

The French operator Ouigo canceled all its trains as the impossibility of advancing was confirmed and offered a refund of the ticket price and an additional compensation of 200% of the cost so that the more than 4,000 passengers who planned to circulate could travel in another transport alternative. There were those who opted for shared taxis, with an estimated price of 300 euros.

Iryo, with similar complications but a greater operation to Levante, managed the transfer of 150 of his passengers to Alicante to, from there, travel to Madrid. He was able to execute it thanks to Renfe, which chartered a special train by conventional means. Another 507 were displaced in a dozen buses to the Requena-Utiel station, from where they continued their journey to Madrid. The rest of the travelers from the Italian-Spanish company received, in addition to the refund of the money, the possibility of traveling on Monday. In total, 2,800 were affected and 1,600 tickets cancelled, relocating all its passengers before 11:00 p.m. at night.

All operators have promised to refund the full amount of their tickets to affected passengers, as required by law. The incident was resolved during the early hours of Monday the 24th, when Spain already knew who had won the elections. Some can vote, others can’t, but they all ended up reaching their destinations.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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