THE King and Queen of Spain officially opened the first section of Madrid Metro’s Line 8 on June 24. Built at a cost of Pts8·9bn, the 2·6 km route runs from Mar de Cristal on Line 4 to Campo de las Naciones, serving the Madrid fair grounds and the Juan Carlos I park.

Serving these attractions rather than a residential area, Line 8 will close at midnight every day, 90min before the rest of the network. Train frequencies will be boosted from every 12min to every 6 or 4min when events are held at the fair grounds.

Line 8 is due to reach Barajas airport in October 1999, which it is forecast to attract 6million passengers a year. A link from Mar de Cristal to Nuevos Ministerios in the city centre is expected to open in 2001 (MR98 p46).

By 2003 the new terminal at Barajas should also be served by Renfe suburban services using a 14 km line from Charmartín station to the Atocha - Alcal