SPAIN: The Ministry of Development has approved the environmental impact statement for a third rail tunnel between Atocha and Chamartín stations in Madrid, for use by 1 435 mm gauge high speed trains operating at speeds of up to 120 km/h. Running at an average depth of 40 m below the surface, the 7 km tunnel will be over 10 m in diameter, connecting routes to Valladolid, Barcelona, Málaga and Sevilla.
At a cost of €31·9m, ADIF has completed the construction of a branch from the Madrid - Valladolid high speed line to Medina del Campo, where a gauge-changing installation will enable 45 min to be cut from journey times to Madrid from Zamora and Galicia in northwestern Spain.
With the Ministry of Development authorised to invite bids for civil works on the 6·8 km Pontevedra - Cerponzons portion within a budget of €74·2m, all sections of the 155·6 km route between Vigo and A Coruña in Galicia are now in service (50·1 km), under construction (70 km) or out to tender (33·2 km), except for the initial 2·3 km out of Vigo. The existing route is being double-tracked, with new alignments in some locations. Provision has been made for future electrification, and the track has been laid on gauge-convertible sleepers.