By John Ensor •
Updated: 11 Dec 2023 • 11:44
Train arriving at Atocha station.
Credit: Martyn Jandula/Shutterstock.com
In the early hours of this Friday, Madrid’s daily commute was thrown into chaos.
On Friday, December 8, a Cercanias train on the Airport – Principe Pio route suffered a major mechanical failure near Atocha station.
An axle of the train came off, leading to a major disruption in the Renfe Cercanias network. The incident occurred just at the entrance to Atocha station at 00:50 am, writes 20 Minutos.
There were 60 passengers on the affected train, fortunately with no reported injuries. They had to be evacuated to the Atocha station, a key transport hub in Madrid.
This accident led to significant limitations in train services. Renfe, the national railway company of Spain, confirmed, ‘As a result of the departure of an axle of a Cercanias train… it is circulating on a single track on the Atocha – Recoletos section.’
The effects of the incident were not limited to the immediate area. Cercanias trains, as well as medium and long-distance services using the Atocha-Recoletos section, were restricted to a single track. This caused a knock-on effect in train services at Recoletos which are now set to every 15 minutes.
In response to this, Renfe has had to implement alternative plans. The Guadalajara/Alcala and Cercedilla lines will maintain a 15-minute frequency between Atocha and Chamartin.
The Villalba and Principe Pio line will start or end in Atocha, operating two trains per hour in each direction. Airport line services will commence and terminate at Chamartin station.
While services in the Sol tunnel, and lines from Mostoles to Atocha and Fuenlabrada-Humanes, among others, continue normally, Renfe has also devised plans for medium and long-distance trains to or from Alcazar de San Juan, Jaen, Almeria or Extremadura.
Renfe is actively communicating updates through all its channels, with both its technicians and those from Adif working diligently to restore normal services as soon as possible.
In recent weeks, Madrid’s local train network, Cercanias, has experienced significant disruptions due to recurring issues. Notably, there have been two derailments at the same location within a fortnight, raising concerns about the network’s maintenance.
The problematic area lies in the tunnel that connects Atocha and Chamartin stations. This year has seen a marked increase in incidents along this route.
Last Tuesday a Cercanias train, carrying 180 passengers, derailed in the Recoletos tunnel, near the entrance to Atocha Station. This incident mirrors a similar occurrence just 13 days earlier, on November 26, when another train came off the tracks at the same spot.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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