EUROPE: Tracklaying is well advanced on the 44·4 km standard -gauge cross-border line linking Perpignan in France with Figueres in Spain. Intended to link the French and Spanish high speed networks, the line includes an 8·2 km twin-bore tunnel under the Pyrenees at Le Perthus.

The line is being developed by the private sector under a 50-year concession awarded to the TP Ferro consortium in 2004. The funding package agreed the following year saw public authorities at European and national levels commit €540m towards the €1bn project, with the remainder being raised by the concessionaire. The two main shareholders Eiffage and ACS are each providing €50m from their own resources, and a further €532m is coming from a consortium of banks in the form of syndicated senior debt with a 35-year term (RG 4.05 p182).

Engineering services for the concession are being provided by Sener Ingenería y Sistemas SA, ranging from traffic forecasts to aerodynamic studies and the supervision of construction work. Sener is also assisting the concessionaire with certification of the line to meet European TSIs during the design, construction and testing phases.