Is it possible that the controversial plans for a high-speed rail freight route through a beautiful valley near Ronda are about to be dropped? If so, it will be great news for hundreds of local residents who have been objecting since the plans were announced in October 2011

ACCORDING to widespread reports in the press yesterday and today, the new Spanish government has changed the plans for the Mediterranean Rail Corridor. Ana Pastor, the Minister for Development (Fomento) in the new Partido Popular government, has revised the previous PSOE government’s proposals for high-speed freight and passenger routes through Spain, and these have been officially transmitted to Brussels.

As far as Andalucía is concerned it appears she has opted for a route along the coast from Almería via Málaga and Marbella to Algeciras and Sevilla, instead of turning inland at Málaga to go via Antequera and Ronda back to the coast at Algeciras. However, El País reports that Pastor’s amendments are an addition to the existing plans, implying that the controversial inland route may indeed be built too:

En realidad no se trata de una modificación, sino de un añadido, puesto que la propuesta que Pastor presentó ayer mantiene el dibujo interior del eje desde Almería hasta Algeciras por Granada y Bobadilla, por el que se inclinó la UE para aprovechar el corredor ya existente y trazar un eje transversal hasta Sevilla, de forma que los dos corredores básicos que conectan Europa con el estrecho de Gibraltar, el Central y el Mediterráneo, se cruzarán en Antequera.

So, whether this is good news or not for residents living between Antequera and Ronda and along the Guadiaro valley is not clear at this stage. Hundreds of residents, Spanish and foreign, who feared the route might be coming through their back gardens, as proposed by Fomento at the end of October 2011, sent in their objections before Christmas, although it remains to be seen what the final outcome will be.

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