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AVE high speed train route axed

Source: Telegraph - Tue 28th Jun 2011

Telegraph has reported how the AVE high-speed train routes between Toledo and Albacete and Cuenca will be cancelled from Friday of this week - just 6 months after it's inauguration.

Ennrique Urkijo, the Director General for Passengers at Renfe, announced that the service would be cut, and instead passengers will have to change trains in Madrid, from which high-speed trains are already operating to the biggest three cities of Castilla-La Mancha. The change would result in an extra 20 minutes added to the journey time.

The failed route, which costs 18,000 euros per day to operate, has seen an average of 9 passengers per day since December.

Last week Spain's public spending on enormous construction and infrastructure projects attracted widespread criticism. The country currently has 48 regional airports - With Murcia's Corvera airport set to make number 49 when it opens early next year - with just 11 of them actually making a profit.

The last airport to open - Castellon - did so in March of this year, at a cost of 150 Million Euros, but is still to receive it's first flight.

The problem can perhaps be attributed to Spain's system of government - with the Autonomous Regions holding a lot of control over public spending. While one perfectly good airport may located only a few miles away in a different Region, another region or province may insist on having their own built. An airport was built in Huescar just 4 years ago, located just 45 miles away from Zaragoza. The intention was that both airports would compete for the tourists attracted to the ski slopes of Northern Spain, however the airlines saw little value in providing a service to both airports. As a consequence Huescar is deserted for many month of the year between arrivals.

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