ON JULY 27 work was completed on a 4·5 km tunnel between Atocha and Nuevos Ministerios in Madrid.

The bore forms part of the new 7·5 km cross-city tunnel between Atocha and Chamartín that is being built at a cost of €320m to accommodate suburban services from 2007. A separate contract currently underway covers the Nuevos Ministerios - Chamartín section, including the new station at Nuevos Ministerios and tracklaying.

A third contract has been let for the construction of a station at Sol, which is due to open in 2008. Bids are to be invited to build the remaining intermediate station at Alonso Martínez once design work has been completed. A funding agreement was due to be signed shortly with the Madrid city council and regional government.

In 2006 the Ministry of Development expects to call tenders for signalling and electrification using rigid catenary. The double-track tunnel has an internal diameter of 8·43m, and slab track with embedded rail is being installed to permit road vehicle access in the event of an emergency.