SPAIN: Infrastructure Manager ADIF has awarded a €20·4m contract to install mixed-gauge track between Astigarraga and Irún, the Ministry of Development announced on April 1. Together with earlier contracts for upgrading the signalling and overhead line, this will complete a 1 435 mm gauge corridor between the French border and the high speed line connecting Vitoria, Bilbao and San Sebastián which is currently under construction.

The contract covers modifications to the bridges, tunnels and stations as well as the laying of additional rail for mixed 1 435 mm/1 668 mm gauge operation. The work has been split into three sections. One covers remodelling of the track layout at Hernani, just west of Astigarraga, where new refuge loops will be laid to accommodate freight trains of ‘interoperable standard length’. The others cover the 5 km between the junction with the high speed line at Astigarraga and the approaches to San Sebastián, and the 17 km from there to Irún.

ADIF has already started various projects that will facilitate the future standard gauge connection. A €40m programme to renovate the infrastructure between San Sebastián and Irún included the laying of gauge-convertible sleepers with provision for the addition of the extra rails.

Last December ADIF tendered further enabling works totalling €46m, covering the renewal of the overhead line equipment at Irún, and upgrading of signalling and telecommunications between Hernani and Irún. A €10m contract for modifying overhead line on this section of the route went out to tender in February.