ON JUNE 17 the Spanish Ministry of Development began public consultation on its proposal to alter the alignment of the cross-city tunnel in Gijón, where work began in April 2003. This is one of a number of major changes to the project announced by Development Minister Magdalena Álvarez on June 9.
As planned (RG 1.03 p9), the project comprised a 3·5 km double-track tunnel for Renfe suburban services, running from the existing terminus at El Humedal to Viesques via intermediate stations at Begoña and El Bibio. The new proposals would extend the route to almost 7 km, running beyond Viesques to Cabueñes via an intermediate station serving the university campus. Begoña will be replaced by a station at Plaza de Europa, which is felt to be in a better location for serving the city centre and construction should be less disruptive.
The ministry now also intends the tunnel to be equipped to accommodate the trains of metre-gauge operator Feve as well as broad-gauge Renfe services. El Humedal would be replaced by a new underground station for long-distance services above the cross-city tunnel, freeing up for redevelopment railway land close to the city centre. n