High-Speed Lines

Madrid-Galicia line

European Union Claim. A way of making Europe.

During the period 2007-2013 this line will be co-financed:

  • By the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Galicia Operational Programme with a subsidy of 197.9 million Euros and the Operational Programme Cohesion Fund-ERDF with an estimated subsidy of 178.1 million Euros, track-bed works, consultancy and technical assistance for the Lubian – Ourense section.

(Information valid at 31 December 2017)

During the period 2014-2020 the following will be co-financed:

  • By the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the O.P. for Spain, Thematic Objective 7: Sustainable transport, actions between Lubian-Taboadela-Ourense with an estimated subsidy of 128.2 million Euros.

(Information valid at 31 December 2018)


Single track tunnel on the conventional network for access to Galicia

The routing of Galician railways has always been influenced by the rugged relief that has hindered railway communications with the centre of Spain. In fact, the first direct line between Madrid and Galicia, via Zamora and Ourense, was not created until 1958.

The Madrid – Galicia high-speed line, located in the North/Northwest Corridor, currently being built by the Ministry of Public Works through Adif High Speed, will put Galicia on the Spanish high-speed map.

Two new historical events will take place for the railway in Galicia. The first will be at the end of 2011, when the section between Ourense, Santiago and A Coruña, under construction since June 2005, enters into service. The second will take place when the connection with the centre of Spain becomes effective.

On 10 December 2011, after completion of all infrastructure works between Ourense and Santiago and of works for the electrification and comprehensive improvement of the line between Santiago and A Coruña, the 150 km-long Ourense-Santiago-A Coruña line went into service. 3,300 million Euros were invested in its construction.

This new connection will generate an opportunity for social and economic development without precedent in Galicia, strengthening the regional cohesion of our country.




Dusk on the Ulla River viaduct alongside the Iberian gauge viaduct

The new railway connection will permit significant improvements in speed, reliability, comfort and journey times.

The new Madrid - Galicia line is built with double electrified track, with high-speed parameters, and is designed for maximum speeds of 350 km/h. The arrival of high-speed also involves works to adapt and modernise facilities in stations along the route, as well as city planning improvements.

Journey times will improve progressively until the journey time between Santiago and Madrid will be around 3 hours.

This is a clear commitment to the railway as a means of transport that promotes social cohesion and stimulates the economy.


Map of the Madrid-Galicia line from Medina del Campo

The new access to Galicia starts at the junction of the Madrid-Valladolid Line in Olmedo and ends in Santiago de Compostela, where it links with the Galician Atlantic Rail Corridor. It is a new 434.86 km section on which ERTMS and ASFA signalling will be installed. The line is designed to handle a maximum speed of 350 km/h.

Olmedo – Zamora section. 99 km

This high-speed section, part of the Madrid-Galicia High-Speed Line, leaves the Madrid-Segovia-Valladolid High-Speed Line at Olmedo. It is 99 km long, standard or UIC gauge (1,435 mm) and designed for speeds up to 350 km/hr. The electrification is 2x25 kV 50 Hz alternating current, with ERTMS and Asfa traffic control systems and a GSM-R mobile communications system.

The Olmedo-Zamora section is further divided into five sub-sections which pass through Pozal de Gallinas, Villaverde de Medina and Villafranca de Duero, in the province of Valladolid, and Coreses, in the province of Zamora.

The route includes 15 viaducts, two pergolas, and the siding stations (PAET) in Medina and Toro (Zamora), a new station in Medina del Campo and the adaptation of the existing station in Zamora.

The exceptional points along the route include the viaducts over the Trabancos River (874 m), the Pitanza Stream (820 m) and the Duero River (620 m).

View of the Duero River passing through Zamora

Adaptation of the station in Zamora:

The works undertaken by Adif High Speed on the station in Zamora included works on the bed for 2,880m of double track in the area of the station itself, and a complete reorganisation of the line layout, with the high-speed tracks side by side with those corresponding to standard gauge on the Medina-Zamora-A Coruña line.

Three platforms were built with underground crossings and canopy roofs, a maintenance shed and a new conventional network electronic signal box, as well as the installation of lifts, information systems and lighting.

The incorporation of the city of Zamora into the high-speed network, also includes works corresponding to the adaptation and remodelling of the station building

Façade of the Zamora station

Zamora - Lubián section. 139.1 km

The following section of Zamora – Lubián is the longest on the line. It runs from the centre to the far north west corner of the province of Zamora on a route that is to the east and independent of the conventional Zamora-A Coruña line. After crossing the Ricobayo reservoir, it runs through plains alongside the Culebra Mountains. The terrain becomes abrupt again around Puebla de Sanabria. Here, since the route runs halfway up the hillsides, small tunnels will have to be built as far as the Portilla Padornelo pass, which leads to the Lubián Valley bordering with Galicia.

Lubián – Ourense section. 101.7 km

This section is where the line enters Galicia. It cuts across the province of Ourense, from the boundary with Zamora in the south east, on a route that passes through the town of A Gudiña and runs to the north of the A-52 motorway to the provincial capital.

In orographic and geotechnical terms, it is the most complex section of the entire line. For this reason, instead of double track for the whole section, it was initially planned to use the current single-track Padornelo tunnel. Subsequently, the Ministry of Public Works amended the initial projects with the building of a new Padornelo tunnel, which runs to the right towards Galicia, leaving the current tunnel for the other track.

The difficult terrain in the area, and the requirement to comply with high-speed parameters, forces much of the route to run through tunnels to the final destination of the Ourense-Empalme station. This station will be required to serve as a strategic high-speed junction, since it will be the starting and finishing point not only of the section to Santiago, but also of the sections to Lugo and to Pontevedra and Vigo, which are two essential elements for extending high-speed services in Galicia.

Ourense-Santiago section. 87.1 km

The fourth section of the line was the first to be put into service, on 10 December 2011, and the service was subsequently extended to A Coruña, after Adif had completed the electrification of the Santiago - A Coruña section. 

Track-bed construction work was begun in 2004, the route passes through the provinces of Ourense, Pontevedra and A Coruña, running north west following the A-53 motorway corridor, to link up with the Atlantic Corridor near Santiago de Compostela.

Together with the previous section, this is the most complicated part of the whole route. In order to cross the area’s difficult terrain and to reduce environmental impact, it has been necessary to build a total of 38 viaducts and 31 tunnels, representing over 57% of the total length of the section.

It shortens the current distance of the conventional line between Santiago and Ourense by 38.9 km.

A very important aspect of this section is respect for the environmentally valuable areas through which it passes. Measures have been taken to protect and recover heritage, in some areas accounting for over 33% of the budget for the works.

Rego das Lamas Viaduct

Santiago- A Coruña Section, 65.1 km

This section belongs to the Atlantic Corridor, which runs 238 km from north to south along the Atlantic coast, between Ferrol and Portugal.

The previously existing line has been subject to comprehensive improvements, with the doubling of tracks, new routing of sections of line and electrification of the route between the two cities. 37.4% of the section is made up of exceptional structures, specifically 17 tunnels (20.2 km) and 10 viaducts (2.8 km).

The new connection between Ourense, Santiago and A Coruña was opened on 10 December 2011.