The R1 line of Rodalies Renfe, condemned to “disappear”

The director of the Georisk Observatory of the College of Geologists of Catalonia, Joan Manuel Vilaplana, has warned that It is urgent to transfer the railway line of the Maresme coast because the erosion of the sea will increase and there will be a sea ​​level rise for him climate change that will eat the tracks.

The storm of the last few days has eroded track foundations and the waves toppled a piece of rail that forced rail traffic to be interrupted this Sunday on this line, the first to be put into service in Spain and which runs along the sea.

“The occupation of the coastline on the old natural beaches hhas subtracted space and conditions the natural coastal dynamics of the Baix Maresme, which has never tended to form large beaches. On this coast, the numerous storms, their frequency, their intensity and their duration and the anthropic action cause the eerosion is predominant over sedimentation“, explained today the geologist.

“If we add the sea ​​level rise due to climate change, it is clear that the flooding of the sea is progressively advancing, so we can say that most of the current beaches and the Maresme train line, in its current layout, are doomed to disappear”, he has sentenced.

lack of sediment

According to the geologist, “the beaches are dynamic systems that are formed by the contribution of sediments of the rivers and streams, and the coastal currents redistribute the sand along the coast”.

“The streams, currently very channeled and with highly urbanized basins, they provide much less sediment and that represents a deficit for the natural regeneration of the beaches”, the expert has detailed.

Vilaplana has remarked that “the sand that the currents move from north to south along the coast and that regenerates the beaches naturally is intercepted by the breakwaters of the marinas, that act as sedimentary traps”.

“In the northeast of the ports the sand is retained and in the Southwest it is almost non-existent. For this reason, the regulations oblige ports to carry out a ‘bypass’ of sands that is rarely fulfilled“, denounces the geologist.

The scientist has recalled that the rrestorations of the beaches with artificial contributions of sand “they have one temporary effectiveness of short duration” and suppose a great economic cost and damages in the marine-coastal ecosystem.

an imminent need

Until 2020, the different Barcelona Metropolitan Plans and the Infrastructure Master Plans considered the transfer of line R1 from Cercanías to the interior as a future optionbut, according to Vilaplana, “unfortunately and incomprehensibly, this is no longer the case today”.

The temporary gloryin January 2020, already damaged the Maresme line and, although works were carried out to protect the infrastructure in two kilometers of the Mataró-Cabrera de Mar section to consolidate and repair the existing breakwater protections and mitigate the effects of maritime storms, the ttemporary Celia of these days infrastructure has been damaged again.

“These defense works are necessary to increase the security of the R1 and avoid possible incidents and railway accidents in the short term, but they are not the definitive solution and, in no case, the alternative to moving the infrastructure”, opined the geologist, who recalls that “a wide beach is the best natural protection against maritime storms.

According to Vilaplana, “moving the R1 is essential to start the process of adapting our coastline to the new climate emergency scenarios”.

remove barriers

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Furthermore, he argues that “displacing R1 would allow opening coastal towns to the sea” and the new layout of the train through the interior “would provide a more efficient service and improve mobility throughout the region”.

“Remove the barrier that means the railway line of the coastline allows to gain spaceincrease the width of the beach to reduce erosion and facilitates natural regeneration of the beaches after the storms”, concluded the geologist, who encourages administrations to have “a broad view where urban planning, mobility, safety and sustainability are considered together”.

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