Madrid - Extremadura - Portuguese Border Line
Puesta en servico la primera fase, tramo Plasencia - Cáceres - Mérida - Badajoz
The Madrid-Extremadura High-Speed Line (HSL) (437 km) is part of the Atlantic Corridor and its construction will involve an estimated investment of more than 3,700 million euros.
This new infrastructure is divided into several sections:
- Plasencia-Cáceres-Badajoz (almost 150 km + 18 km of the Mérida Bypass under construction) is completed and awaiting commissioning.
- The Talayuela-Plasencia section (68.8 km) is in progress. Work on the Talayuela-Arroyo de Santa María and Navalmoral de la Mata-Casatejada subsection has been completed. The Arroyo de Santa María-Navalmoral de la Mata subsection — which includes the railway integration as it passes through the town of Navalmoral — has already been awarded for more than 70 million euros.
- The Madrid-Oropesa (200 km) informative study by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility, and Urban Agenda is currently in the public information phase.
- The Badajoz-Portuguese Border section awaits the Informative Study prepared by the Spain-Portugal High-Speed European Economic Interest Group (AVEP-EEIG in Spanish).
Not only passenger traffic will benefit from the new line. Its mixed traffic characteristics will allow freight trains to travel on the same line, making use of excess capacity. Consequently, a more balanced distribution of transport modes will be achieved, which will reduce, above all, the share of road transport.
The high investment effort required contributes to the creation of employment and to economic, technological and regional development.
Description of the line
Quienes han trabajado para poner en servicio este nuevo tramo cuentan los principales retos a los que se han enfrentado, las caraceterísticas técnicas y su implicación para lograr que unas instalaciones modernas, sostenibles y accesibles, eliminando todas las barreras arquitectónicas en las estaciones.
En apenas cinco munitos puedes acertarte a esta nueva infraestructura y a sus protagonistas.
Description of the line
El 18 de julio de 2022 tuvo lugar la puesta en servicio del tramo Plasencia-Mérida-Cáceres-Badajoz de esta nueva línea.
Presentamos otra forma de verlo, más subjetiva... con otros ojos, los de quienes estuvieron en el primero de los muchos viajes que vendrán por esa nueva infraestructura.
"A way to make Europe"
Description of the line
High-speed sections that are put into service will be connected with the conventional line and trains will run on them at speeds of up to 200 km/h.
The first phase of the Madrid-Extremadura High-Speed Line connects Plasencia with Badajoz, with intermediate stops in Mérida and Cáceres, and has a double-track platform length of 150 km in most of its sections. It required an investment of €1.7 billion.
Its route includes unique structures, such as the Santa Marina (3.4 km) and Puerto Viejo (1 km) tunnels, as well as 28 viaducts, including the Almonte (996 m), Tajo River (1.5 km) and Valdetravieso (1.6 km) viaducts. The first two viaducts have been developed under the 'concrete arch' system, with main spans of 384 m in the case of Almonte — making it one of the concrete bridges with the longest span railway arch in the world — and 324 m, in the case of the Río Tajo viaduct.
This first phase will be put into service with Iberian-gauge tracks equipped with multi-purpose sleepers, which will allow the future change to standard gauge, along with ASFA DIGITAL signaling (Announcement of Signals and Automatic Braking, ASFA in Spanish). The increase in the average speed along the route, which will allow maximum speeds of 200 km/h, together with the new signaling and traffic control facilities, will improve both travel times and traffic reliability.
In addition to the construction of the railway infrastructure, Adif has carried out important works in the stations of Plasencia, Cáceres, Mérida, and Badajoz, worth more than 15 million euros, in order to provide them with the characteristics, services, and features required to accommodate the high-speed railway. The works included a comprehensive renovation of the passenger buildings and their accesses, as well as actions aimed at accessibility and integration into the urban fabric.
Work on the Extremadura HSL continues, aimed at commissioning new facilities and sections without conditioning the start-up of this first phase. Thus, Adif AV (Adif High Speed) works on two other actions:
Electrification work is well advanced on the Plasencia-Badajoz section, specifically on the first 125 km between Plasencia and Peñas Blancas. After laying the overhead catenary, the actions are focused on providing electrification to the tracks of the Plasencia station and, soon, to that of Cáceres. Electrification work also includes the Peñas Blancas-Mérida-Badajoz-Portuguese Border section (110 km), specifically the Peñas Blancas-Aljucén section and the Bifurcación Isla-Bifurcación San Nicolás section in Montijo.
- Mérida Bypass (18 km). Executed in two sections worth 55 million: San Rafael-Cuarto de la Jara and Cuarto de la Jara-Arroyo de la Albuera and the Connection Branch to the North of Mérida. In addition, the contract for the track assembly of this infrastructure is currently being awarded.
Respect for the environment is one of our core values as a company and one of our strategic lines of action.
The objectives of our Environmental Policy include maximum respect for protected natural spaces when designing, building and operating the railway infrastructure.
The measures indicated in the Environmental Impact Statement, aimed at maintaining maximum respect for the surroundings and the environment, including corrective measures to recover the environment and scenery in areas crossed by the railway line, and to allow fauna to cross the infrastructure, have been designed from the project phase.
Thus, in the phases prior to drawing up the projects, fauna and flora studies were carried out along the entire corridor, to serve as the basis for preparing each project’s Environmental Integration Appendices. Similarly, a Complementary Environmental Measures Project is being drawn up to respond to the actions requested by the Environmental Impact Statement for a wider geographical area than a specific platform section.
The paths chosen are those that respect the environment the most, as is the case with the 42 km variant to be built to save the protected area of "SPA Monfragüe and Dehesas del entorno", which is part of the Natura 2000 Network. The Special Protection Areas for Birds (SPAs) and the Sites of Community Importance (SCI) in Torrijos, the Castrejón reservoir, Rosarito, Navalcán and Valdecañas, as well as the plains of Oropesa, Lagartera and Calera and Chozas have also been respected. The SCI Sites of Sierra de San Vicente and Barrancas de Talavera have also been protected.
The work schedule has been adapted to bird nesting periods. Work is also being done to protect the fauna, flora and hydrological systems, and to recover the environment and scenery.
All of these actions are being coordinated with the Government of Extremadura in the framework of the Mixed Commission on Environmental Monitoring and Control of Works and of High-Speed Projects in Extremadura.
The designs for the Tajo and Almonte viaducts have incorporated new bird protection screens as an innovative solution for areas of great importance for fauna. The prototype consists of a barrier made of vertical steel tube sections. This kind of screen reduces the wind load on the structure, compared to other systems, thus allowing savings in the design of some of its components. It also improves the viaduct’s aesthetics and environmental integration.