After the Madrid-Cuenca-Valencia/Albacete connections were put into service in December 2010, the construction work on the Levante high-speed corridor has continued in order to reach its second Mediterranean destination – the city of Alicante.
Adif has carried out three kinds of work in the provinces of Albacete and Alicante:
- Construction of a new Iberian gauge platform between Albacete and Almansa.
- High-speed adaptation of the route and existing facilities between Albacete and Almansa, over 65 km.
- Construction of a new high-speed track-bed for around 100 km between Almansa and Alicante.
Assembly of signalling systems, fixed telecommunications, centralised traffic control and GSM-R mobile telephony has been assigned to a group of Spanish companies by means of a public-private partnership tender. The contract includes the construction and comprehensive maintenance of these facilities for 20 years.
The construction of the first section of the new high-speed line between Albacete and Alicante, up to the vicinity of Almansa (72 km), was one of the most complex routes and construction phases so far in Spain.
Between 2003 and 2006, different diversions were constructed that improved the Iberian gauge route.
High speed trains were channelled onto these sections, with the added construction of several sections and the recovery of the old tracks being necessary, so that the conventional road was completely segregated and independent.
A new high-speed track-bed was built between Almansa and La Encina junction.
La Encina junction is situated where the provinces of Valencia, Albacete and Alicante converge. It is the place where the trains that connect Madrid/Albacete, Valencia and Alicante/Murcia branch and converge.
The newly-built section goes from La Encina new line to Monforte del Cid, where the track-bed branches towards Alicante on one hand, and towards Elche, Orihuela and Murcia Region on the other.
17 viaducts totalling 8.4 km have been built here. The viaducts include Cordel de Sax (1,498 m), Salitre-Vinalopó (1,481 m), the viaduct over the Rey irrigation channel (1,394 m) and the viaduct over La Encina-Alicante railway (1,260 m).
Amongst other notable infrastructures, there are four tunnels which are 5.4 km long in total. The longest is Las Barrancadas (2.8 km).
The new high-speed train station in Villena favours high-speed access to the inland regions of the province of Alicante and the Murcia plateau.
The station is situated 6 km south of Villena and 2.5 km west of the A-31 motorway. It has two platforms and a surface area of 4,526 m2.
Integral sustainability criteria will be used in the design, construction and management.
- Service information
Villena High-Speed Station
- Villena High-Speed station location
GPS coordinates: 38.634631-0.900879
The end of the section is made up of accesses to Alicante, which is the only construction work in an urban area along the entire Albacete-Alicante line.
The high-speed line has notably transformed the entire Alicante Railway Network, as Iberian gauge facilities and services have also been improved.
The trains enter the city of Alicante underground for 2 km approximately, with three tracks, two in international gauge and the other one in mixed gauge.Then the tracks come to the surface in a new area in the northern part of the station, with six tracks and three platforms (four in UIC international gauge and two in Iberian gauge).
The remodelling of the Alicante Railway Network was decided by means of an agreement, signed on 7 May, 2003, by the Ministry of Development, the Generalitat Valenciana, Alicante City Council, and the public bodies, then called RENFE and GIF.
The works to adapt Alicante station to high-speed rail are financed by Sociedad Alta Velocidad Alicante Nodo de Transportes (Avant), made up by the Ministry of Development, through Adif and Renfe Operadora, the Generalitat Valenciana and Alicante City Council.
As part of the environmental policy of the public company, a new high-speed bypass of about four kilometres has been built to safeguard the Salobralejo Lagoon (classified as a SCI), in the area of El Villar de Chinchilla.
In addition, ecological counterweights have been installed on the overhead lines for the first time on a high-speed route. The counterweights are made of compacted iron and steel waste, as opposed to conventional metal. Some of the advantages, as well as lower manufacturing costs, include an eco-friendly composition and manufacturing process, as they do not emit greenhouse gases, they resist environmental degradation and do not generate waste on the Earth's surface.