Madrid - Extremadura - Portuguese Border Line

Updating of the infrastructures

Title

The high-speed platform works between Plasencia and Mérida and the improvements to the conventional track between Madrid and Navalmoral de la Mata, as well as between Aljucén and Mérida, will result in a significant improvement in quality for citizens when travelling by rail throughout the Autonomous Community of Extremadura.

Journey times will be significantly reduced thanks to the enhancement of the high-speed infrastructures already in place and the investments in the conventional network.

The high-speed sections coming into service will be connected to the conventional line and diesel trains will run on them at speeds of up to 200 km/h.

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.

European Funding

Adif AV has received aid and financing for this line from the various European Union (EU) funds and programmes.

"A way to make Europe"

Description of the line

Quality service

High-speed sections that are put into service will be connected with the conventional line and diesel trains will run on them at speeds of up to 200 km/h.

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.

Plasencia - Cáceres section. Badajoz - Portuguese Border

The part of the project to be constructed by Adif starts at the border between the Autonomous Regions of Castile-La Mancha and Extremadura.

From Plasencia, the line heads south towards Cáceres and Mérida, keeping mainly parallel with the A-66 “Plata” motorway and the course of the current Madrid-Valencia de Alcántara railway line.

Quality service

Two of the most important new structures on the whole line are before it reaches Cáceres: the viaducts crossing the Tajo and Almonte rivers, at the Alcántara reservoir. The width of the obstacles to be bridged, the impossibility of using piles in the riverbeds and the requirement to respect the environmental impact statement, have led to both having a “concrete arch” design, with main spans of 324 and 384 metres, respectively.

The 384-metre central span of the viaduct over the Almonte River, with no intermediate supports, make it the widest span arched concrete railway bridge in the world. The construction process chosen for erecting both bridges is similar to that used successfully for the Contreras Viaduct, on the Levante line.

Meeting the challenge of constructing this type of viaduct confirms the high level of Spanish infrastructure engineering.

Quality service

In order to optimise the corridor’s functionality, the solution in Mérida is to use a direct line to Badajoz and a by-pass around the current station, similar to the design of the Madrid-Zaragoza-Barcelona-French Border high-speed line as it passes the cities of Zaragoza and Barcelona.

The Badajoz-Portuguese Border section awaits the Informative Study prepared by the Spain-Portugal High-Speed - European Economic Interest Group (AVEP-EEIG).

Environment

Title

Respect for the environment is one the values that defines us as a company, standing as one of the central action strategies.

The objectives of the 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 surroundings and the environment, including corrective measures to recover the environment and scenery in areas through which the line passes, 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 made of the whole 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 section of platform.

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 Ambiente", 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.

Quality service

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, permitting a financial saving in the design of some of its components. It also improves the viaduct’s aesthetics and environmental integration.

Infrastructure characteristics
437
Km
in length
2
Viaducts
records: Almonte and Tajo
384
m
Almonte central arch
324
m
Tajo River Central Arch