Work on tunnels will mean a three-month closure of the Soller train service.

19-01-2010LLG

Work on the Palma-Soller line, which began on Monday, requires the train to be substituted by a bus service that will be used until the work ends at the beginning of February.

Suspension of the train has in the past meant no alternative transport. However, the regional ministry of transport has insisted that this time there is an alternative, which will cost the company 45,000 euros.

Oscar Mayol, president of the Soller Train, is convinced that the bus will prove to be highly loss-making and says that if its necessity - demanded by the government - cannot be shown within a fortnight, the company will request that it is withdrawn. "Over the past ten years the train has regularly been suspended for a couple of months for maintenance work. There has never been a demand for an alternative by residents, because there is also the regular bus service."

The substitute bus will operate from calle Cetre in Soller and Eusebi Estrada in Palma. Departures from Soller will be at 09.00, 10.30, 15.00 and 16.30; from Palma they will be 09.45, 11.15, 15.45 and 17.15. The regular service, meanwhile, has sixteen weekday departures from Puerto Soller between 07.00 and 21.15 and fifteen from Palma starting at 07.00 (Saturdays and Sundays have reduced services).

The maintenance work being carried out is in tunnels one to three in the Serra d'Alfabia. Mayol says that the closure of the line is an annual occurrence, though this year it has started a month earlier because of the need to strengthen the tunnels.

Between 20 and 30 people will be undertaking the work. The plan is to re-open the line on 6 February, but Mayol notes that if the work can be completed earlier, then the line will re-open earlier.

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