SPAIN: Salvador Galve, Chairman of the Railway Commission of the General Council of Industrial Engineers, presented the European Alliance for the Development of Railway Corridors in the Iberian Peninsula initiative at a conference held in Madrid on March 9.

According to Galve, less than 4% of freight is currently transported by rail in Spain, compared with an average of 18% across the EU. The Spanish government wants to raise this to 20%. He told the conference that there was a need to develop cross-border connections that would boost Spain’s competitiveness. ‘The Iberian Peninsula has limited connections to other countries in western Europe’, said Galve. ‘Whereas Italy has seven main lines connecting it to its neighbours, Spain has only two, which are furthermore hampered by the break of gauge and by rules that give priority to passenger service.’

The conference heard proposals from the Corredores.EU initiative to develop more freight corridors in Spain, and linking these to ports in north Africa and logistics hubs in the rest of Europe. To achieve modal shift, Corredores.EU has proposed the construction of twin base tunnels connecting Zaragoza, which would be turned into a key southern European logistics hub, to the main line between Toulouse and Bordeaux.

  • On March 1 the Infrastructure Ministry gave its provisional approval for study into the feasibility of converting the single track, non-electrified line from Huesca to Canfranc from 1 668 mm gauge to 1 435 mm gauge, ahead of any possible reconstruction of the through route to Pau in France in the longer term.