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In the News The ‘AVE’ from Granada to Madrid The initials ‘AVE’ stand for ‘Alta Velocidád Española’, the Spanish High Speed Train. In many cases the construction phase has been dead slow or stop and this is the case in Almería province where no work has been done for 8 years. The AVE line from Granada to Madrid was first proposed 20 years ago with a completion promise of 2007 and it finally opened at the end of June. Contractors had downed tools and walked away twice complaining of the lack of funding to overcome problems. The tortuous journey by conventional trains from Almería to Seville has involved two trains and two buses, (now with an additional bus), for some time whilst electrification work on the AVE near Granada was completed. The Spanish Prime Minister in function Pedro Sánchez travelled from Madrid to Granada to inaugurate the first train which took 3hrs 5mins for the 568km route without any intermediate stops but he then flew back from Granada airport! Critics have immediately pointed out that the journey time is the worst of all the AVE routes, and the journey time from Alicante to Madrid is only 2hrs 30mins for the same distance, but the maximum speed from Granada to Madrid is only 200km/h. Where the train passes through the Lola region near Granada the speed is reduced to 37km/h for a 20km stretch. The rail authority ADIF state that the extreme cost of improving this section where there are too many curves is the reason it has not been done and calculate that this slow speed section only adds twenty minutes to the journey time. Critics say that this is not true as the trains have to slow down to enter the 37km/h section and the maximum speed they can then travel at is 180km/h before they arrive at the Granada station. The fare from Granada to Madrid is 80 Euros, and 118 Euros to Barcelona, but travellers who want a quick journey to Madrid can fly from Granada – Jaen airport with a flight time of just over one hour, although they have to allow time to checkin. Pre-booked fares from Iberia start at 83 Euros. A coach journey takes 4hrs 30mins but only costs

47 Euros. Soon after the first trains went into operation it was announced that the work to take out the slow section would be put out to tender. Whether the AVE will take a large amount of passengers remains to be seen.

Lidl Supermarkets Forging Ahead in Spain Mercadona, the leading supermarket in Spain, has had the lion’s share for a number of years and continues to grow in size and profits. The Día chain has just been rescued from bankruptcy and the Eroski chain is experiencing difficulties. Apart from the dominant position of Mercadona, the German company Lidl are consolidating their position and becoming very busy and profitable compared to Aldi. Lidl came to Spain in 1994 followed by Aldi in 2002 but Lidl sales outdo Aldi by 400% although Aldi have 500 supermarkets compared to Lidl’s 300. Lidl have a sales average each year of 7 million Euros per supermarket compared to 3 million from Aldi stores with the same shop areas of about 1,400-1,500 m2. In 2018 they recorded a profit of 150 million Euros, and only Mercadona exceeded them. Mercadona made a profit of 322 million Euros but on sales that were 700% more than Lidl. Lidl customers in Spain are attracted by the lower prices although the total range of goods is still much reduced.

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Continued ....

Profile for The Almeria Focus

The Almería Focus - September 2019  

The Almeria Focus is a local directory and magazine distributed monthly in the Almeria province of southeast Spain.

The Almería Focus - September 2019  

The Almeria Focus is a local directory and magazine distributed monthly in the Almeria province of southeast Spain.

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