PASSENGERS travelling from Madrid to Andalucia suffered another day of travel hell after being forced to sit on trains for up to five hours before leaving the station.
Train operator Renfe saw many of its services delayed due to a number of stretches remaining flooded following heavy rainfall at the weekend.
Chaos reigned at Madrid’s Atocha station on Monday night as thousands of people gathered around the monitors, which showed every train’s status as ‘delayed’.
Passengers were left fuming over the lack of communication when at around 6pm, the station announced the boarding of the 4:48pm train to Malaga, before telling those with tickets for the 12.49pm and 2.49pm services to also board.
However, although all travellers were crammed inside the carriages at just after 6pm, the train did not depart the station until three hours later.
A similar incident occurred to those travelling on the 5:50pm Renfe service to Malaga after boarding was announced at 7:30pm.
Passengers had taken their seats some 15 minutes later, but the train remained at the station for over four hours.
“We have been inside the train for two hours and we are still not moving, and we have not been given any information, so I am here to complain to someone,” one fuming man shouted
The conductor replied: “We know the same information as you. Adif is in charge of the railway and they have not given us a departure time. If you want to complain, call the Ministry of Transport.”
The Olive Press asked the conductor why they had asked people to board the train if they didn’t know a departure time.
He said: “Adif asked us to take people inside the trains because there was a big build-up of people waiting for the trains and the press had arrived and was filming it. They asked us to do this so there wouldn’t be so many people at the station premises.”
Families with small children inside the train were becoming increasingly anxious.
“The worst thing is that they have not given us any information,” one woman said.
“I have to work tomorrow and I am going to be exhausted,” another complained.
At around 9:30pm, the conductor decided to open the gate so people could stretch their legs or go for a smoke.
The Olive Press asked another conductor if there were any updates on the issue.
“We are not being told any information. I feel really bad for you all but I don’t know if the train will depart the station or whether it’ll be cancelled in the end.”
People were smoking outside the train, others were just chatting. There was a man casually drinking a beer.
Some people just started to pack their things and leave the station.
“I have three kids and they cannot be around here all night,” a worried father said.
At around 11:00pm, people were finally asked to go back inside the train as the departure was imminent.
At 11:15pm, the train left Atocha train station. However, the conductor made it clear that the journey was going to take more than the usual three hours.
“Due to the restrictions and the floods in the railway, it will probably take us around six hours to get to Malaga” he explained.
The train arrived to Malaga Maria Zambrano train station at 3:37am.
Knackered passengers left the train, but those travelling to other destinations were stuck in Malaga.
“We need to get to Marbella, so we’ll need to wait for the 6:30am bus,” a married couple told the Olive Press.
Another woman, who was with her teenage daughter, was prepared to spend some extra cash.
“We are going to Fuengirola, but there are no more trains, so we’ll just get a taxi because I am exhausted,” she said.
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