AS JOINT PROMOTERS of the project to build a new 45 km line between Perpignan and Figueres, the governments of France and Spain have set a deadline of October 30 for the selection of a preferred bidder. Under a second competition launched earlier this year, four consortia have prequalified for the project, including a partnership of railway infrastructure authorities RFF of France and GIF of Spain (RG 8.03 p475).

The cross-border link will form the continuation of the high speed line from Madrid and Barcelona, where the Ministry of Development has begun consultation on its preferred alignment for the 10·5 km section between Sant Joan d’Espí and La Torrasa. The route will serve a new station at El Prat de Llobregat built and financed by the Catalunya regional government, to provide interchange with the metro, Renfe suburban services and a rail shuttle to Barcelona Airport. It will then follow the existing main line from Tarragona towards Sants station. Total cost is €326·5m, including new high speed infrastructure costing €180·6m.

Elsewhere, the Ministry of Development has formally approved the route chosen for a 175·6 km high speed line between Madrid and Cuenca. Expected to cost €1·38bn to build, it would join the Madrid - Sevilla line at a point 28 km from the capital and form part of the high speed corridor joining Madrid to Valencia, Alacant and Murcia. To the north, the preferred alignments for a 588·5 km Valladolid - Burgos high speed line and a 21·1 km branch from Venta de Baños to Palencia (expected to cost a total of €709·6m to build) have been passed to the Ministry of the Environment for approval.