The auditors are particularly critical of the average speeds achieved on parts of the Spanish high speed network.

SPAIN: Infrastructure manager ADIF has awarded a consortium of Lantania and ASCH Infraestructuras y Servicios a €21·3m contract to undertake works for an 8·8 km long 1 435 mm gauge line which will enable high speed trains to access Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport Terminal 4 from Chamartín.

The consortium’s bid was 18% lower than ADIF’s original budget for the project, which is being co-financed from the European Union’s Recovery Fund.

The line will use the alignment of a 1 668 mm gauge suburban rail link to the airport which was designed to be suitable for future use by high speed trains.

es Madrid Barajas airport high speed rail contract

The station at Terminal 4 has platforms suitable for high speed trains, and the double-track airport access tunnel is partially dual-gauge.

This section will be entirely dual-gauged, and 3·5 km of new 1 435 mm gauge track laid alongside the existing track from Chamartín to the access tunnel. The link will be double-track, except for a single-track section under the A-1 motorway bridge near Chamartín.

High speed services to the airport are expected to be introduced next year, with the tunnel under the centre of Madrid which was inaugurated in July 2022 meaning trains from both the north and south of the country will eventually be able to access the airport.

Detailed plans are to be announced later this year for a dedicated high speed link to the airport, with completion planned for 2030.

Meanwhile, work is underway on a €1bn remodelling of Chamartín station as a multimodal hub with double the capacity for high speed and suburban services.