11/17/2022 at 06:36


    The Barcelona-València passenger axis continues without high speed and is linked to the slow progress of the Mediterranean Corridor | The trip does not reach three hours, the same as in 1997, when it was promised that in 2002 it would be two hours and a quarter

    each of insects that hit the snout of a train has a story to tell. Something happened that day, or was it just random, for them to decide cross the tracks at the moment when a iron animal weighing more than 300 tons. His sacrifice is collateral damage in the path of the rail progressthat slow road to the true sustainable mobility. The euromed that enters via track 5 of the Sants station on Wednesday, November 16 at 10:10 a.m. brings, of course, the locomotive’s helmet full of stamped bugs. they are a small remnant of developmentalismbut in this case with things half finished, because the Barcelona-Valencia route It is still an I want and I cannot be an AVE, a line that, to this day, is a dazed drone on the front of the Mediterranean Corridor. Halfway it goes from almost high speed to being an agile regional; of the international route to the Iberian gauge shared with other services. It’s going faster than three years ago, but it’s not the speed promised decades ago and the frequency of trains is not what regular users would like.

    Platform of track 5 of the Sants station. Euromed travelers are preparing to board the train, this Wednesday. | CARLOS MARQUEZ DANIEL

    The train leaves at 10:15 am, very punctual. Inside, a relative use of mandatory mask, which generates not a few trips and warnings from the personnel on board. “Go to the cafeteria and they will give you one,” they decree to a young man, who when he returns, with visible reluctance, places his face mask at chin level. At 10:50 a.m., the train arrives at the Camp de Tarragonathat town with the name of a station, like that city “that bears the name of our club”, read Josep Lluis Nunez.

    In carriage five, Maribel travels to visit her mother, who was widowed last July. She says that he price seems excessive, that he misses that there are more trains, that it is almost easier to go to Madrid and from there continue to Valencia. “It gives me the feeling that my city (she now lives in Barcelona) is much further away than it really is. And I think there are many of us who are in a similar situation. There are no trains, and that prices do not rise when they know there will be demand“. According to the city council census, some 17,000 people born in the Valencian Community reside in the Catalan capital; 60,000 throughout Cataloniaaccording to the Statistics Institute of Catalonia.

    unnoticed change

    Ten minutes after passing the spooky stop from Camp de Tarragona, the convoy begins a long process of lethargy. It seems that it is idling, dismissing the AVE tracks, generating a sound of heartbeat, very regular, who dies when the train lands on him track changer located in La Boella, next to the Reus airport and the junction of the AP-7 motorway with the T-11 motorway. There it is intuited that something It goes by, a noise like a wrench being dropped in a workshop and bouncing.

    A Euromed traveler looks out the window as the train passes by Marina d’Or (holiday town). | CARLOS MARQUEZ DANIEL

    Travelers, however, remain immersed in their phones, their laptops, their music, their notes or their conversation in the cafeteria, where he dispatches, kind and affable, jordi de miguel, with 32 years of profession and millions of railway kilometers behind him. Mercedes, on the way to Alicante, is a regular on the journey and celebrates that now it takes about 25 minutes less than before, but nothing knew about the change of soles on the underside of the train. “Another way? First news that we had a different way than in the rest of Europe,” he comments, while rocking his cortado in a cardboard cup. Yes, Juan Carlos was aware of this, who stretches his legs on the landing between two carriages and complains about the shortage of frequencies and price volatility.

    minutes without coffee

    The manager of the bar tells that now change is sewing and singing. In fact, the convoy does not come to a complete stop. He remembers the international trains that when they arrived in Portbou, years ago, they would spend half an hour standing still to be able to adapt them to the Iberian gauge. “I know lifted the whole train, it was a maneuver that you did not see & rdquor ;. The main annoyance, now, apart from the time that is lost, because it is strange so much speed to advance a few kilometers in 10 minutes, is that the machinist lowers the electrical voltage and Jordi stays “for a couple of minutes without being able to make coffee”. A lesser evil.

    Front of the Euromed that arrived in Valencia at 1:10 p.m. this Wednesday, with a bird and hundreds of insects embedded in its nose. | CARLOS MARQUEZ DANIEL

    At 11:08 a.m., the train has already gone from the international gauge to the Iberian gauge, and an agile journey, which reached 250 kilometers per hour on the same lines used by the AVE Barcelona-Madrid, is substantially reduced to continue below 200 km/h, which isn’t bad but it’s not the same. East scale jump happens since January 14, 2020, when the Euromed promoted to the first division of the railway and in Sants it went on to share a lobby with the AVE.

    Aznar’s dream

    That day the Vandellós variant and the train stopped passing through the center of Tarragona. The promises of 1997 come to mind, when it was assured that in 2002, the Barcelona-Valencia match would be completed in two hours and 15 minutes. They were years of paying the piper of a railway planning that passed yes or yes through Madrid, with the lighthouse of that pharaonic dream of Jose Maria Aznar that all the provincial capitals were clinging to the epicenter of the state through high speed.

    A traveler stretches his legs in the Euromed cafeteria, this Wednesday. | CARLOS MARQUEZ DANIEL

    The Mediterranean Corridor has been jumping from government to government, from legislature to legislature, based on pieces and patches. And although I always know associates with merchandise and the importance of creating a railway channel that runs along the entire coast and connects us to the economic activity from the rest of Europe (which would certainly remove trucks on the AP-7 motorway and would reduce accidents and congestion), all this mess also affects citizens who have one foot in Catalonia and the other in the Valencian Community and whose only product to transport is themselves and a weekend’s change. In 2019 they were slightly more than one million recorded trips between Valencia and Barcelona; it is not a small thing.

    The train arrives at capital of Turia at 1:07 p.m., two hours and 50 minutes after his departure, almost half an hour more than the high-speed journey from Barcelona to Madrid, which to make matters worse travel twice as far. On the train screens, by the way, an unidentifiable film whose image is often cut horizontally, as was the case with the old vhs videos. It was the star reproduction system in 1997, when DVD had not yet been popularized but there was already talk of the great things that the Mediterranean Corridor would bring and how Euromed, when it grew up, wanted to be an AVE.