Whilst I was shaving this morning, I heard a piece on the radio about changes to the rail service in Murcia. The National news has ten minute sections of local news every now and then. In the bathroom the local news comes from Murcia and in the kitchen the local news covers the Valencian Community. It's to do with signal strengths and because we are on the frontier between two regions.
RENFE, the train operator and ADIF, the rail infrastructure operator, have been in the news a lot lately. Over in Extremadura there was lots of fuss about really old diesel trains breaking down all the time and leaving people stranded for hours. The people of Extremadura complained that they live in a forgotten part of the country. In fact there has been a lot of grumbling, from several parts of Spain, that all the railway money is being poured into the glamorous high speed trains whilst the much more travelled commuter lines are being largely ignored. The story was rekindled a few days ago when, in Cataluña, there was a head on collision between two trains, leaving several people injured and one person dead. The trains looked like very old stock..
Back in Murcia the city is awaiting the arrival of the high speed train line out of Madrid. Over the last year or so, possibly longer, there have been a number of pitched battles, really violent confrontations, between people who live in the communities, that are about to be cut in half by the high speed lines, and the police. I have read articles that have suggested that vested interests are at work in suppressing reporting the number and severity of those confrontations.
Foamy faced I didn't quite catch the railway news but it sounded interesting. Like Sheldon Cooper I approve of trains and I like to use them. So I thought I'd check the story. I expected a quick, precision strike. Not so. First of all my search turned up lots of unrelated stories about the introduction of hybrid trains onto the line that currently joins Murcia to Madrid. These trains can change axle width (Spanish conventional gauge is wider than the standard European gauge used for the high speed lines) at Cuenca for the last part of the run into Madrid. They are hybrid because they have diesel as well as electrical drive for the non electrified parts of the route.
Thwarted by printed stories I had to go back and find the podcast of the news bulletin I'd half heard this morning and listen. I understood the words but I still didn't quite understand the story. In fact it turned out it was three pieces of rail news, affecting Murcia, reported as one
The second story was that there were going to be closures on the line between Murcia and Alicante. Again part of the difficulty was that there was a place name involved, another place I'd never heard of; Reguerón. It's a district of Murcia city. That story was about was closing the current line whilst a couple of stretches of new track were joined up.
The third piece took no working out. Another place, but this time they described the name, Trepía, as a village near Lorca. It was about protests demanding the building bridges instead of level crossings on the new line.
Just 80 seconds of news bulletin which I would have understood perfectly if I'd known two place names and how to say spur line in Spanish. Or which I would never have heard if I'd shaved faster and got into the kitchen for the local news spot!