SPAIN: The initial 8·25 km of a light rail route under construction in the town of Parla, 20 km south of the Spanish capital (RG 8.05 p464), was opened on May 6. Mayor Tomás Gómez was accompanied by the President of the Madrid regional government, Esperanza Aguirre.

Due to be completed by the end of August, the circular route will run for 12 km with a total of 16 stops spaced at 500 m intervals, serving a new development with 12 000 homes to the east of Parla, the railway station and a new stop on the Renfe suburban network to be built north of the town centre. Running on a reserved alignment, a fleet of nine LRVs each accomodating 180 passengers will provide a base frequency of a service every 6 min, completing the circuit in 27 min.

The system is expected to carry 18 000 passengers a day or 4 million passengers a year. The municipality is meeting 82% of the €120m construction cost (including €27m for rolling stock), which it is to provide in annual payments over a period of 40 years to the building and operating consortium of Acciona, FCC, Caja Castilla La Mancha and Detren.