ON JULY 11, the Transport Secretary for the Madrid regional government, Luis Eduardo Cortés, announced plans for a further suburban rail branch, linking Atocha with the town of San Martín de la Vega, approximately 22 km south of the capital. Due to be built over an 18-month period at a cost of Pts11bn, the line is due for completion in 2002.

The 14·5 km double-track electrified branch will diverge from the existing C3 route from Madrid to Aranjuez near Pinto, and run southwest to San Martín. The line will terminate beyond the town, where a second station will be built to serve a new theme park being built by entertainment multinational Time Warner.

Services to San Martín will call at El Casar on route C3, where a new interchange is being built with the Metrosur ring line. Work on this project was formally inaugurated by Madrid’s regional President Alberto Ruiz Gallardón on June 20.

However, three days after the start of work, Spain’s competition authorities launched an investigation into the award of Metrosur construction contracts to five of the major civil engineering firms involved (RG 5.00 p274).