SPAIN: Catalan regional operator FGC is to take forward design studies for converting its metre-gauge Manresa - Martorell route to dual 1000 mm/1435 mm gauge, following the signature of an agreement with Iberpotash SA.

At Martorell, 1435 mm gauge freight trains would join the Mediterranean Corridor, one of the 10 core corridors to be developed under the European Union's revised TEN-T programme and running in Spain from the French border to Barcelona, Tarragona, Valencia, Murcia, Cartagena and Almería. The Spanish Ministry of Development hopes to have this electrified 1435 mm gauge route in place by 2020 at a total cost of €194bn, including €59bn for the Barcelona - Valencia section.

Meanwhile, FGC's current contract with Iberpotash runs until 2014, and the two parties are to examine the possibility of closer collaboration in the future.