BALEARIC transport minister Mabel Cabrer announced yesterday that the Inca-Sineu railway will be back in operation on Friday, now that inspectors have declared it safe.
The line was closed when an embankment collapsed, causing a train to go off the rails three months ago.
Thirteen people were injured in the accident, although none of them seriously.
Cabrer told Parliament that the engineers had assured her that such an accident would not happen again, and she considered that the safety of passengers was now guaranteed. She pointed out that repair work had been carried out by brigades of workers at weekends and holidays, in order to reopen the line as quickly as possible.
Cabrer's decision to close the entire line while repair work was in progress was widely criticised by commuters and the Opposition who said there was no reason why repairs could not be carried out stretch by stretch, without the need to stop service.
But the minister, who blamed the accident and frequent delays in the service on the previous coalition government, alleging that they had been in too much of a hurry to open the new lines, maintained that she put safety first.
A coach service was provided while the train was out of service, but commuters complained that this took longer than the train and was more expensive. As to the opening of the stretch of line between Sineu and Manacor, Cabrer said that work is progressing normally and the government plans to have it open on schedule.
As announced earlier this week, the railway service will take up three quarters of the government's new master plan for transport, which also envisages extensive improvements in the transport service by road, sea and air.