It cost 10 million euros per kilometre to build the high speed train line between Alicante and Madrid so you would expect it to be perfect. With AVE trains travelling at speeds of up to 310kms per hour, it needs to be.
However, a rain storm yesterday caused part of the line between Alicante and Albacete to sink leaving one of the trains tilted at an angle. Passengers had to be transferred to a normal train running on the old line to complete their journey and subsequent trains had to follow that track as well.
The overhead power cable had to be cut and the train lifted off the line by crane to allow engineers to replace the ballast and substrata that was washed away. RENFE and ADIF say that the line will be operational this morning but that there will be speed limitations on that part of the track.
It is not unusual to have storms in that area between the months of June and October with anything up to 120 litres of water per square metre in 24 hours. Yesterday’s storm dropped 70 square litres in just one hour and so was described as “absolutely exceptional”. The fact that the area is largely composed of clay and loam did not help.
The engineers at ADIF must now have red faces knowing that they had made such a mistake by not taking account of the possibility of such storms.
Incidentally, a hailstorm at Madrid during the afternoon forced the diversion of a flight to Alicante-Elche. Those who believe that Spain enjoys glorious weather from June through to September please take note!