THE AVE is coming to Ronda. This means significantly reduced journey times to Madrid, Granada, Cordoba, Málaga and beyond. The project also includes completing the upgrade of the line from Ronda down to Algeciras to allow for the faster trains. The announcement was made on Friday, 4 November, via a BOE, Boletín Oficial del Estado. According to this document there will be 64.4 kms. of double track electrified line of the European gauge between the existing AVE-station at Antequera-Santa Ana and La Indiana, the old station on the outskirts of Ronda where the new AVE station for Ronda will be built. The project has a budget of 711.47 million euros and will follow the route of the current single track line between Bobadilla and Ronda. However, according to the website ferropedia.es the line will take a direct route from Setenil de las Bodegas to La Indiana, cutting out the S-loop which takes in Arriate and Ronda, and will cut through virgin countryside. The proposals are now out to public consultation and the plans can be viewed at the Town Halls in Antequera, Campillos, Teba, Cañete la Real, Almargen, Ronda, Arriate, Olvera, Alcalá y Setenil de las Bodegas, as well as in Málaga City, Cádiz and Madrid. I understand from an unnamed source that work will not commence until 2014. So peace and quiet for three more years before more new sounds are added to the local cacophony where we live. However, ignoring any NIMBY tendencies, a high speed rail link from Ronda into the rest of the AVE-network can only be a good thing for the area. With journey times to major cities cut dramatically, it can only improve the economic prospects of the area, both in terms of tourism and commerce. Real estate values in the area around La Indiana are likely to rocket as people realise it’s possible to commute from the rural idyll that is the Serranía de Ronda to Madrid and the other major cities to the north.