On 29 September Adif, the Spanish rail infrastructure manager, commissioned a new section of the high speed line to the North of Spain, between the cities of Valladolid and Leon, thus expanding Spain’s High Speed network by 166 new kilometres. Following this new extension, Adif now manages 3 150 km of high speed lines, both standard (UIC) and Iberian broad gauge, confirming Spain’s leading position in high speed design, construction and management.
The new section will improve rail connections from Madrid to both Leon and Palencia, shortening journey times by up to 30%: the trip between Madrid and Leon (346 km) now takes two hours, 44 minutes less than before, when HS services were running at high speed only to Valladolid. The journey time will be further reduced to one hour 45 minutes within a few months, when the ERTMS system is completely deployed, (currently only on the Madrid-Valladolid section, commissioned in December 2007) .
The line has been designed for speeds up to 350 km/h, with double standard gauge track and 25 kV 50 HZ electrification. Adif had to build up to 48 viaducts to complete the new section.
Other northern regions and cities such as Asturias, Cantabria, Burgos and the Basque Country will also benefit from this new section through the Spanish state-of-the-art changeover system that allows for variable gauge trains to switch from the high speed line to the conventional sections, after passing through these facilities. The new section includes up to three changeover facilities to allow for shorter connections to Oviedo (30 minutes less) or Santander (22 minutes less).
Adif has invested more than 1 600 million euros to develop this 166 km of new infrastructure that will be extended to the French border and Asturias in the coming years. This work was co-financed by the European Union.
The new infrastructure represents a major technical achievement, performed under the supervision of Adif’s specialists, who have been working in the enhancement process of the Spanish rail network over the last 25 years.