INTRO: Opening of the Green Corridor route across central Madrid in 1996 concluded an important phase in a major investment programme that has transformed the Spanish capital’s commuter services. Construction of new lines to dormitory suburbs has been matched by rolling stock deliveries to create the most modern commuter train fleet in Europe

BYLINE: Abelardo Carillo Jiménez

Director General, Commuter, Spanish National Railways

MADRID’S commuter rail network, serving almost every municipality with over 30000 inhabitants in the conurbation, carries more than 600000 passengers a day on 12 routes. Service quality, assessed by users in terms of train frequency, convenience, speed and comfort on a scale of 0 to 10, currently stands at 8·4, the highest yet.

This achievement comes at a time of expansion following the opening in June 1996 of the 8 km Pasillo Verde (green corridor), which has had a major impact on the city’s rail network and other public transport in Madrid. Connecting the northwestern suburbs with the city centre, this cross-city link (RG 8.96 p472) concludes a major phase of expansion that began in the late 1980s.

Not that expansion will end there. Opening of new stations, for example at Villalba and El Pozo, is to continue, and there are many remodelling and new line projects pending.

Political pressure is growing for important population centres currently without rail links to be connected to the commuter network. Work on the first section of a 7·2 km line from Cantoblanco to Alcobendas and San Sebasti