NEW TRAIN SERVICE WILL OPEN AT THE END OF APRIL, SAYS MINISTER

IT will cost nearly 32 million euros to reopen the railway line between Inca and Manacor. Balearic transport minister Francesc Quetglas visited the new line yesterday, accompanied by director general of public works and transport Joaquin Rodriguez and the manager of SFM (Majorcan Railway Company) Antonio Santos. The entourage travelled by train along as much of the track as possible. The Inca-Manacor train line will link Manacor with Palma, passing through Petra and Sineu, in 58 minutes. The route will follow the original railway line to a great extent, but will be modern and adapted to current safety regulations and technology which will cut down on noise and vibrations and need less maintenance. The length of the track is 30.6 kilometres. Some 20 kilometres of track have been laid and Quetglas claimed that the line will be open by the end of April, as originally planned. The entourage travelled on a special train from Inca to the entrance of Petra, where it will run parallel to the Carretera C-715, along a three kilometre cutting. The original railway track ran through the centre of Petra, and the government decided to reroute it outside town limits, despite protests from a large sector of the community. Those opposed to it running through the centre of Petra said it would be dangerous and level crossings would be needed. Those who opposed it being rerouted outside the town claimed that too much land had to be expropriated and the station will be too far out to be reached on foot. Santos said that a survey was now being conducted in the various municipalities through which the new line runs, in order to decide the times of the service. He confirmed that it would not stop at every station along the route. Nor will it stop at the wayside station of Sant Joan, which is three kilometres outside the town. The Balearic government has also undertaken complementary work, such as stations at Manacor and Sineu and a wayside station at Petra. The line between Inca and Sineu, a distance of 13.9 kilometres, was opened in 1878 and one year later, the 21.3 kilometre line from Sineu to Manacor was opened. They were closed down in 1977. The Inca line has already been extended to Sa Pobla and there are plans to extend the service to Alcudia. There is a shuttle service to and from stations along the line from neighbouring villages. This is part of the government's plans to improve communications between the outlying towns and villages and increase the use of public transport.

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