SPANISH high speed construction authority GIF has awarded two contracts worth a total of Pts23·8bn to a consortium of Adtranz, Cobra, Semi, Emte and Elecnor, covering the installation of overhead electrification and traction power supply equipment on all but 20 km of the 450 km Madrid - Lleida route. The consortium will be installing catenary suitable for operation at an average speed of 350 km/h and a maximum of 385 km/h, developed in Spain by Semi in collaboration with Renfe and the Ministry of Industry & Energy.

GIF has deferred going out to tender for electrification of the final 20 km until the route of the Madrid - Valencia line, also running into Atocha, and connections have been finalised.

Civil works for 138 km of the Madrid - Lleida route have been completed, and it is hoped to begin tracklaying this spring for opening in 2002, when civil works should begin on the Lleida - Barcelona section, due to open in 2004. The Spanish cabinet has granted GIF approval to call tenders for civil works on four sections totalling 38·8 km between Lleida and Martorell, within a total budget of Pts29·6bn.

H GIF is to pay the Catalunya regional government Pts2·6bn for route studies of a high speed alignment between Barcelona and the French border, carried out in 1991 by Catalunya Railways. Although some revisions will be required to raise the design speed from 300 to 350 km/h, the deal is expected to bring the start of civil works forward by at least 18 months. n