The Spanish institution which runs the infrastructure – Adif – has received the permission of the regulatory body – Comisión Nacional de los Mercedes y la Competencia (CNMC; National Commission on Market and Competence) – to almost triplicate the track access fees for non-highspeed trains on normal tracks: +169 %, + 176 %, and so on.
They justify this with a law from 2015 that forbids any public subsidies (by now: 584,8 million Euros per year) for long distance passenger trains.
The newspaper, based in Ourense (Galicia), writes:
“Adif’s demands put at risk the train services to Madrid, Barcelona and Irún”
The increase of the fees which this body demands from Renfe threatens the further existence of the night trains and the day train to the Basque Country.
Affects both night- and day trains
The CNMC has granted Adif the right to increase the fees by more than 170 per cent in comparison to 2017.
The increase affects also the six day trains which run to Madrid (+169 %). But in their case, the high occupation rate and the greater passenger capacity will minimize this extra costs.
But in the case of the hotel train that links Madrid to Ferrol, A Coruña, Lugo, Vigo and Pontevedra (+176 %) whose costs already are higher than its gross revenue, there is a permanent threat of cancelling this train.
For many years, there have been cuts. First, they took away the restaurant and reduced the capacity (of beds and seats). Then, they cancelled the train in the night from Saturday to Sunday. Recently, they changed the routing of this train which no more serves the provincial capital of Zamora.
And finally, the hotel train from Vigo to Barcelona – the longest distance of all Spanish trains – will face an increase of 171 %.
Of the more than 20 night trains that existed in the 90s, only 3 are operating now – 2 of them from and to Galicia.
Tailored to hit the night trains
Adif regulates the “normal” tracks, and for the high speed network, there is “Adif AV” (for: Alta Velocidad, high speed). The total network has 15.326 kms, and they say that 2.383 kms are high speed lines. [The second figure seem to be outdated; recently the Adif reports for 31.12.2016: 2.591 kms high speed with 1.435 mms gauge plus 84 kms with 1.668 mms Iberian gauge.]
Be it as it be, they say that the access fees of the high speed network are 507,5 million Euro, from the rest of the network 106,5 million Euro. Adif received 584,8 million Euro as subsidies from the public bodies. Now, Adif wants to obey law 38 from 2015 that demands that the track costs are financed only by fees, not by subsidies. The high speed trains are very close to that model, and the freight trains will be exempted because “the goal is to promote that cargo is transported by train”. But passenger trains shall almost triplicate their fees.