WORK was due to begin last month on a Pts4·5bn project to re-open the 30 km Inca - Manacor section of the former line to Arta on the island of Mallorca. This follows the restoration of passenger service on the Inca - Sa Pobla line on January 6. Regional operator SFM expects to re-open Inca - Manacor and intermediate stations at Sineu, Sant Joan and Petra in 2003, when a non-stop Palma de Mallorca - Manacor service with a journey time of 50min is also to be introduced.

SFM Director José Antonio Santos said that procurement of new rolling stock would start this year to double the size of the existing fleet of six DMUs. Infrastructure work to be undertaken between Inca and Manacor includes the replacement of the 914mm gauge track, disused since 1977, by new material to metre gauge, the closure of 77 level crossings, construction of 15 road overbridges and the provision of four new level crossings equipped with barriers. n

CAPTION: The disused line to Manacor (foreground) meets the refurbished Sa Pobla route at Empalme, near Inca

Photo: Chris Heaps