Staff Reporter CONSTRUCTION work will begin tomorrow on putting a section of the railway track into central Palma underground. Financed by the Ministry of Public Works, Housing and Transport, the project will cost approximately 29 million euros and will be complete within 18 months.

Preparatory work which was carried out in November and December last year consisted of restructuring light, gas and electricity supplies to the districts of Palma which will be affected by the tunnelling programme, such as Hostalets, Son Forteza and Son Oliva.

Regardless of the major construction programme, the train from Inca will continue to run into the urban centre of Palma.
Specifically, as announced by Mabel Cabrer, the Public Works minister, on 15 December last, it will go as far as the coach station in calle Eusebi Estada, alongside the Plaza España.

The plan of action comes in response to petitions lobbied by train users' groups and Opposition party politicians, who were against original government proposals for the train to run in from Inca only as far as Son Fuster on the outskirts of Palma. Passengers would then have been forced to alight to be transported into the centre of the city by a “ferry” coach service, an alternative which at peak times would have added at least another half hour to the journey.

On 14 December, the Majorcan Railways Board (SFM) awarded a contract for the construction of the multi-functional transport centre in Palma, and for a project to lay a section of the track underground within the urban district of the city, to two conglomerates, all for the princely sum of 92 million euros.

The joint venture company, made up of FCC S.A., Brues and Fernandez Construction, and Sampol Engineering and Construction, will be responsible for the underground track laying (29 million euros); while a separate organisation comprising AZVI, and Llabres Feliu Civil Engineering will take on the transport centre. The project will consist of laying ten separate tracks and five platforms in the station.

The transport centre will also provide a base for users of the metro, which is planned for linking up the centre of Palma with the Balearic Univerisity (UIB).

This project for the future, which has an estimated cost of 98 million euros, is currently on the drawing board to be put out for public approval.