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Great Little Train? • Colin Read

Urb La Marina has suffered as much as any from a lack of holiday makers - and from holiday home owners not visiting as often as they once did. My view is that Urb La Marina needs to do what it can to make itself more attractive to these groups. I came here when music in the bars was the 'norm' - and really enjoyed the nights out that the entertainment engendered. I'm still surprised that people decided on a house on a Costa Blanca Urb and complain about music in the bars - but I accept that the law is on their side and the rest of us have to accept it!

Therefore, we have to look to other ways to attrract these groups of people - people who spend money on our Urb and ensure residents have viable shops/bars/restaurants open for us to use!

One disadvantage we suffer is the 5km distance to the beach - making it almost a necessity to hire a car - which is now a crippling cost during the height of the season.

I was really pleased to see the instigation of the 'Little Train' and had hoped that it would provide a solution. However, what disappointment to see the route ended at the Bahia/San Fulgencio centre commercial - and, even more, that it stopped after just one season.

Being Spain, it is probably in the 'too difficult to do' drawer to think that one could run the 'Little Train' across the border into Elche territory - and down to the beach. There'd probably be a howl of protest from the current beach bus and taxis, too. However, in my opinion, what a boon it would be!

My vision is the 'Little Train' running around the Urb, down to Hostal Castella/El Pinet - along the beach road to Candella/La Marina playa - and serving La Marina International camping down the, now closed road, to its beach - and serving the Bahia/San Fulgencio centros too. I can see a luggage carriage to take down all your beach equipment - a carriage with wheelchair/electric buggy access - and, I believe, you'd need plenty of seating!

Oh to be able to have that bottle of wine with lunch - be it at a beach cafe - or at one of the Urb restaurants - without having to drive home! I'm convinced that, once people knew it was a fixed feature - and was reliable - it would be bound to feature in their holiday decision (or their kids/grandkids, for sure!)

That moves us on to the next problem. The 'Little Train' only ran for one season. Anyone in business knows that a speculative venture such as this works on a 3 year cycle. Year 1 = loss (no one knows you're there - advertising outgoings - no income from trade advertising) Year 2 = loss/break even (at best) Year 3 = profit (everyone knows you're there - it figures in their holiday choice - people want to advertise on you).

I'm not a Spanish speaker - and I certainly don't have a clue about the bureaucracy involved (would anyone?) However, if I ever thought it were possible, I'd seriously look at the business case and consider putting up the money and run the 'Little Train' myself - and I'm certain Urb La Marina would benefit and I wouldn't be out of pocket for more than 2 years!

Anyone agree with the principle?



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