Staff Reporter
A train users' lobby and the Majorcan Socialist Party (PSM) called on the regional government yesterday to keep a rail line open into the centre of Palma, even when works begin on putting a section of the track underground.

The lobby, which was created recently to press for a continuous train service during the underground construction period, claim that if the railway isn't kept open into Plaza España, the number of people using the train will diminish substantially.

In an effort to gain local support, the group has taken its case to the doors of several town councils whose districts are affected by the railway line.

The train users' lobby, which is affiliated to the Balearic ecological watchdog (GOB), the Train Defence Platform, and the Federation of Neighbourhood Associations, is asking the town councils to pressure the Balearic government and Palma City Council to set up necessary measures to ensure the rail service continues to run into Palma, even during the planned construction work.

The lobby draws attention to the fact that technical studies “show that it is quite feasible for a train service to keep running whilst building is underway” through the installation of temporary lines.

The group rejects the proposal that the train will have to finish its journey into Palma at the Son Fuster industrial estate, and that passengers will be obliged to travel the remainder of the distance into the city centre by means of bus “ferries” along the calle Aragon.

The lobby believes that this arrangement will “do untold damage to travellers” as another 20 to 22 minutes will be needed to journey from Son Fuster to the centre.

In the opinion of the Majorcan Socialist Party, the Balearic government should modify the plans to put a section of track underground from the Palma Ringroad to the Parque de las Estaciones, in such a way that “the train's journey as far as Plaza Espanya is guaranteed” while the construction work is in progress.

According to PSM deputy, Maria Antonia Vadell, Palma City Council and the Majorcan Railway Company (SFM) “have no idea of how to organise a bus “ferry” service between Son Fuster into the Plaza Espanya” in central Palma.

It was also her view that plans for putting a section of the rail track underground into Palma should include “opening up calle Jacinto Verdaguer once again so that the quality of life of residents in the area can be improved”. Vadell also wanted to see public transport becoming a priority in government planning.

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