SPAIN: ADIF Alta Velocidad has awarded Sacyr Construcciones a 36-month contract worth €77∙3m to for civil works on a 20∙8 km section of high speed line between Palencia Norte and Amusco.

This is the first section to be tendered of a planned high speed corridor linking Madrid with Santander. The new line is to be built from a junction with the existing high speed network north of Palencia initially as far as Aguilar de Campoo, 100 km to the north. This would have a design speed of 350 km/h and be used exclusively by passenger trains.

es-Cantabria route map crop

The first section as far as Amusco passes through mostly flat agricultural terrain, requiring just have five viaducts, seven overbridges and five underpasses. The new line will largely run parallel to the eastern side of the existing Palencia – Santander broad gauge main line, on which five level crossings are to be replaced by overbridges.

Further extensions are planned to take the new line north from Aguilar de Campoo into mountainous territory as far as Reinosa, where trains would rejoin the existing line to Torrelavega; today this is a steeply graded and sinuous single track alignment through the Cordillera Cantábrica. The railway between Torrelavega and Santander, 220 km north of Palencia, is currently being doubled-tracked.

According to the Ministry of Infrastructure, the new line would be built to 1 435 mm gauge with gauge-changing equipment initially located at Aguilar de Campoo and later at Reinosa.