Spain eyes drastic reduction of rail network | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 16.05.2013
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Spain eyes drastic reduction of rail network

A Spanish newspaper report has claimed Spain is planning to do away with a considerable number of rail lines in a cost-cutting bid. The measure is meant to help Madrid narrow its huge budget deficit.

Photo: Siemens +++(c) dpa - Report+++

Spanish Renfe high-speed trains near Madrid

The "El Pais" newspaper reported Thursday that Spain was preparing to close down 48 out of a total of 127 rail lines in the country. Referring to a study by the Transport Ministry, the daily said the measure would save 86.5 million euros ($112 million) annually.

Spain's national rail company Renfe confirmed it was working on a restructuring plan to bring down current operating costs, while the Transport Ministry was not immediately available for comment.

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"El Pais" said the lines cited for closure were currently used by some 1.6 million passengers per year, but covered only 16 percent of overall costs.

Controversial scheme

It added the Saragossa region in northeastern Spain would see nine regional rail lines go under the scheme, while six more would be scrapped in the area around Madrid. Hardest hit would be small towns which might no longer be connected to the national rail network at all.

The report said additional savings would be ensured by reducing the number of trains in operation on all other lines.

Madrid's conservative government has been looking for more ways to curb spending in a bid to cut the country's budget deficit from 7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) last year to below the EU limit of 3 percent by 2016.

hg/jm (AFP, dpa)

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