Parque de las Medranas

A fast train going nowhere © Gonzalo Alvarez
A fast train going nowhere

Parque de las Medranas - San Pedro de Alcantara

This park's main feature is its large lake, actually a reservior built to irrigate the sugar plantations, an important part of La Colonia San Pedro history.

Those feeling energetic enough can practice their wakeboarding without the need of a motorboat. The Marbella Wakeboard Centre (was called Cable Ski) offers a chance to really appreciate the spectacular scenery on the move.

Other than the wakeboard centre it is not posible to walk around the lake as there is no footpath and private housing plots extend down to the lake. With this in mind it is difficult for visitor to understand where the park is.

In the vicinity or perhaps part of the park is the San Pedro Golf Club. A club and a driving range but not a golf course. Certainly worth a vist for the little cafe hidden away in the woods here.

Abandoned Train

Visitors to Las Medranas park, in San Pedro Alcántara can not help but notice two railway carriages seemingly out of palce on a short length of track in the bushes next to the entrance road. They are in a poor state, covered in graffiti and full of rubbish. Urban legends talk of a film set others talk of a old themed restaurant. The latter is partially correct.

In 1999 Jesus Gil the then Mayor of Marbella, granted a concession (for a fee) to a private company for 40 years over 2,500 square meters of land in Las Medranas park to build sports facilities, a restaurant and several commercial initiatives. Similar initiatives that were launched in other Spanish cities were successful.

The train carriages from this iniciative were part of of a 1960s project called TER (Tren Españols Rapido) a 120 km per hour 'high' speed train. Sixty two-car; motorised and trailer units were constructed by FIAT and CAF. The units began to be decommissioned in the 1990s. Many were sold to Argentina. The last TER train ran on the 16-01-1995 from Madrid to Cuenca. The first unit numbered 9701 is preserved in the town of Calatayud, another is in the Madrid Railway Museum and a third is here.

The third unit, built by FIAT number 9703 arrived in San Pedro on a 37-meter truck. Two 100 tonne cranes were required to drop them into position on a specially laid track. Apparently, the cost of collecting and install the two carriages was more than the 15k € purchase price.

There was talk of a total project investment of 180 million pesetas (1.1m €). However just after the company applied for the building license the Marbella City Council was dissolved (due to corruption scandals) a temporary management team had been appointed and as cartakers, refused the license.

The company sued Marbella council for the concession fee and costs and the case is apparently not resolved.

Meanwhile the TER train remains in the undergrowth, only of interest to graffiti artists, Instagram fans, and the curious passer-by. One couple chose the locations for their wedding photos.  The rapper and actor Juan Manuel Montilla, better known as 'Langui', has choose the wagons to illustrate the cover of his album 'Hola'.

See and Do