The train line

Following the recent announcement that a tender contract has been prepared for the creation of a draft study of the viability of a train line along the Mediterranean coast, that included a feasibility study of the railway connection of Torrevieja, a campaign championed by the Los Verdes and numerous campaigners in the city, the Mayor of Torrevieja, Eduardo Dolón, was quick to jump on board with his plans for the development.

Dolón stated that three locations had been identified as potential sites where he would like an interchange to be built, where trains, buses and taxis all meet, to provide a transport hub for the coast. However, Dolón wasn´t prepared to say where these sites were, at least not for the moment.

There is no doubt to the benefits that a train link to Torrevieja would bring, but there are questions over the impact it would have on the local environment. The sites in Torrevieja are unlikely to be vacant plots immediately, unless one is the originally proposed location of the fairground and market place, again recently announced as no longer being used for that purpose, despite the money spent already and even buses being diverted to cover the market that never had and never will exist.

The allocation of land for the interchange could possibly mean demolition of buildings already there, which may explain part of the reason for the Mayor not wishing to aggravate property owners too soon. The line where the trains will run will undoubtedly mean that land will have to be consumed by the project, whether that land be natural, agricultural or residential would remain to be seen, but the train would have to run somewhere.

This is where we now have some good news, at least if you are one of those who might lose land, or if you want to gamble and try and invest now, before the train starts to roll. The Regional High court has ruled this week on a case brought by the owner of nine farms affected by the AVE high speed train between Caudete and Villena, setting the “fair price” at double that which was originally awarded.

The ruling, issued by the litigation department, annuls that established in December 2011 by a judge in Alicante, which estimated compensation at around 320,000 euro for the nine plots, now stating that the fair value of the land should have been set at 715 786 euro.

The court considers that the unit price of land, both irrigated and rain-fed, should be set at 12 euro per square metre, well above that established by Alicante which valued rain-fed land at 4.11 euro per square meter and 6.02 euro per square metre for irrigated plots. The increase was partly based on the argument that although the train line only cut through parts of the land, the surrounding area was also affected and the “productive surface generated a demerit”.

The Central Government and the railway infrastructure company ADIF have the right to appeal the decision.

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