When preparations were being made at Son Carrió for the train to Arta. | Miquel À. Cañellas

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Jaume Font, the leader of El Pi, suggested in parliament yesterday that the government should open a debate on building a railway line in Minorca.

In the context of discussion of the government's transport plan, which is due to be approved next year, Font said that use of public transport in Minorca has decreased by three per cent in recent years. Seven out of ten island residents, he noted, drive to work, while 62% of tourists hire a car.

Because of all this, he believed that the time has come to talk about there being railway in Minorca. Public transport on the island should be promoted, not least because Minorca is a Unesco Biosphere Reserve and has been since 1993.

In Majorca, the government's rail priority has been the electrification of the lines from Inca to Manacor and to Sa Pobla. Work is currently being carried out for both these projects. The reactivation of the Manacor-Arta line remains a possibility, with a revisiting of the Alcudia extension from Sa Pobla a more remote prospect. This latter project had Madrid funding, but this was eventually taken away because consensus as to the route proved to be impossible. Alcudia town hall wanted one that went past Albufera, while the regional government supported a route that would have gone alongside the main road into Alcudia from the motorway.