In the middle of the weekend due to the celebration of the National Holiday, the Madrid-Valencia high-speed line has failed again and left numerous travelers on the ground. Adif announced during Friday that it had to suspend circulation on the high-speed line that connects Madrid with Valencia and Alicante for the entire day.

One of those affected is Belén, a young university student, who has been waiting for more than three hours at the Madrid Chamartín station to get to Valencia for Joaquín Sorolla. The young woman explains to EL MUNDO that she had planned to travel at 4:30 p.m. to attend a concert with her friends. “If they don’t fix it now, I’m going home because I won’t be able to get there, it’s tonight.”

From Renfe you have only received three emails in which the only option is to cancel or change the ticket for another day at no cost due to a breakdown “with no expected resolution period.” Although at the end of the afternoon, the company announced that it will continue working during the night in order to resume rail traffic as soon as possible.

Although Renfe has assured that it is warning travelers to avoid traveling to their station of origin, the chaos, uncertainty and fatigue are palpable.

Yason Calderón was coming to Madrid to pick up his wife, Maira Olaya, and his four-year-old daughter who were coming from Colombia. “On the train from Alicante after three hours they made a transfer because people were running out of air.”

Now the young family is waiting for a response. They are trying to find buses, but they can’t because “they seem to be sold out.”

“Today’s day has been disastrous,” begins Silvia Casasola, another of those affected by the electrical breakdown on the high-speed line. The journalist was heading to Crevillente this morning for a cultural awards ceremony when the convoy stopped “about 10 minutes from Cuenca.” “They told us that there was an electrical fault and therefore only one track available with a line of trains that had to circulate.”

At 3:45 p.m. and already in the city of the Hanging Houses, they were offered buses to Albacete or trains to Madrid. “The event started at 7:00 p.m., so I had to turn back because I didn’t arrive,” as did most of the guests at the awards ceremony.

Casasola lives in Madrid, but two Canadian couples who were going to spend this weekend in Valencia do not. “We have nowhere to sleep or how to get there,” explains Silvie Lefebvre in fluent Spanish and with the sadness of being the first time she visited Spain.

When asked about the options the company offers him, he points out the overflowing office. “I would change it but it is not known when the road will open.”

Outside the station there is also palpable nervousness about not knowing where they will be able to spend the night. Silvia Paris was returning to Valencia from a funeral. In the group in which she is, they comment that “there is nothing left to go to Valencia: not BlaBlaCar, not anything.” In the same group is Anais Pérez who is also trying to return to Valencia with six other members of her family, including a little girl who is not even three years old.

Abelardo López came to Madrid to renew his documentation as a foreigner, but “this morning’s train arrived two hours late and I missed the appointment.” “They give me back double the ticket, but what do I do with that?” He says, looking at the ceiling with a gesture of desperation.

However, some find solutions and kindness does not fight delays. A boy who was traveling to Valencia and who had two trains canceled is looking for those affected so he can transport them to the Mediterranean city for free: “It’s happened to me too, it’s the least.”

Another of those affected is Mari Luz Keller, who had already been in Chamartín for four hours at seven in the afternoon. She lives in Bilbao but had a connection at the Madrid station to get to her niece’s wedding celebration. “I had to call my brother to have someone come pick me up by car.”

Keller realized that “something was happening” when he arrived at the Madrid station, since he found it crowded even outside.

“I approached [the Renfe office in the terminal] and had to pick up a number to receive explanations,” he details. “The option was to get a ticket for tomorrow but that is not the solution,” she says with clear signs of fatigue. “I think that with such a flood of people they have not been able to take charge of the situation,” she concludes.

María José Balaguer was returning from visiting Berlin this afternoon, when a few minutes after arriving at the Chamartín station she received a notification from Renfe canceling the trip she had planned at 6:00 p.m. to Alicante, along with four other friends. “Three of us are disabled,” she laments, so they need to travel in a means of transportation adapted to their wheelchairs.

When they began to ask for explanations, the only solution was the possibility of booking another trip or a refund of the money, but their condition does not allow them to “spend the night at the station or look for hotels with adapted rooms.”

At the end of the afternoon, it seemed that the light was coming to Balaguer: “They are looking for adapted taxis,” he said with a half smile despite the uncertainty. This would allow them, at least, to reach Alicante late at night.

The incident, or rather the consequence of four, has culminated in the total closure of the line when an Ouigo train has been stopped near Monteagudo de las Salinas (Cuenca). Previously, at 08:20, Adif had reported an incident in the facilities of that town and later, at 08:47, a lack of tension in the catenary between Monteagudo and Bifurcación Albacete. This forced us to travel on a single track on that route.

Later, at 11:56, an incident affected the electrification system that powers the trains and one of the vehicles was stopped on the track, which led to the interruption of both tracks on this section. Although the causes are still unknown, Adif reported that “the first analyzes suggest that the incident is due to the lack of tension on one of the tracks due to the breakage of the catenary by the pantograph of a train when reversing to circulate on the alternative route”. The catenary is the overhead power line that transmits electrical energy to the trains, while the pantograph is the device located on the train that transmits electricity from the catenary.

Renfe has established a bus shuttle service between Albacete and Cuenca for trains stopped along the way. Adif, for its part, has deployed an information device in Chamartín that will continue throughout the night. It has also set up an area for those passengers who arrive to Atocha from Albecete via the conventional line, in addition to negotiating with some businesses in the Chamartín terminal to extend their schedules to provide service to those affected.