Friday rail strike promises chaos for holidaymakers in Spain

Friday rail strike promises chaos for holidaymakers in Spain
Renfe has cancelled 274 trains on Friday. Photo: AFP
Spain's railway workers are downing tools on Friday, one of the busiest days of the year, as millions head off for their summer holidays.

The last Friday in July traditionally is the start of the summer holidays for many Spaniards promising long traffic jams to the coast and packed out trains.

This Friday, July 28th, promises to be even worse than the usual ‘operacion salida’ – as the holiday exodus is dubbed –  as Spain’s rail workers have called a strike.

Renfe has cancelled 274 trains as members of the CGT trade union down tools between midnight on Thursday night and 11pm on Friday.

But the long distance train service has pledged to run a minimum service of 77 percent while regional routes will operate with a 65 percent service.

Those who use local Cercanias routes can expect a 75 percent of trains running during rush hours but only 50 percent of trains the rest of the day.

Renfe are offering affected passengers the option to change tickets if their trains are cancelled, either to the closest available service or for another date entirely. Or passengers can claim a full refund.

To discover which trains are running, the Ministry of Transport has published a detailed breakdown of expected services on Friday.

The CGT said they called the strike after negotiations broke down between the union and Renfe and Adif, which run Spain’s railways over restructuring plans.

“The reasons that have led us to call this strike are not new, but the result of continued lack of response to collective fears over the uncertain future of the railways as a public service,” the union said in a statement.