Adif advances Extremadura-Madrid high-speed line with tunneling
Adif AV has started construction of one of the largest tunnels on the second section of the new high-speed line from Madrid to the Extremadura region in western Spain.
Adif Alta Velocidad is currently advancing the construction of the second section of the high-speed line, which will link Talayuela and Plasencia with 68 kilometres of new infrastructure, extending the line towards Madrid in central Spain. Adif has now started the excavation work of the Dehesa del Terzuelo tunnel, with 1.5 kilometres one of the longest on the route.
The first phase of the Extremadura high-speed corridor is already in service since July 2022 with the connection between Badajoz near the Portuguese border to Plasencia via Mérica and Cáceres stations. This consists of 150 kilometres of new infrastructure and fully renovated and adapted stations. The fast train that was launched last July runs from Badajoz to Monfragüe/Plasencia on the new track and from there on old track until it reaches Madrid.
Austrian tunnelling method
The Dehesa del Terzuelo tunnel is part of the 10.4 kilometres Malpartida de Plasencia – Plasencia/Fuentidueña Station (Cáceres) subsection, currently under construction with an investment of around 70 million euros. The tunnel will be a monotube, built using an Austrian technique for railway tunneling. With a section of 90 m2, it will channel a double-track line and will have evacuation sidewalks and an emergency exit. The tunnel dives under the conventional railway line, and reduces impact on the environment and fauna.
Other structures on this subsection include the construction two viaducts over highways, as well as three multifunctional overpasses.
Progress of the line
The Madrid-Extremadura high-speed line will be 437 kilometres in total and is part of the Atlantic Corridor. Its construction will involve an estimated investment of more than 3,700 million euros. The high-speed sections that come into service will connect with the conventional line and trains will circulate on them at speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour. The finished first section Badajoz – Plasencia has come into service with Iberian gauge tracks with multipurpose sleepers, which allows the future change to standard European gauge. The section is not yet fully electrified however, but the electrification is well advanced, and should be finished in the first semester of 2023, Minister of Transport Raquel Sánchez announced last year. With the inauguration of the first section, travel time between Badajoz and Madrid was cut by up to 51 minutes, and Renfe added two daily long-distance trains (Alvia and Intercity) in each direction.
Regarding the 200 kilometres Madrid-Oropesa section, the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda is working on its informative study. To connect the line from Badajoz all the way to the Portuguese border, an informative study is carried out by the European Economic Interest Grouping – Spain – Portugal High-Speed (AEIE – AVEP). The Madrid-Extremadura line will be mixed traffic, so not only passengers will benefit from it, also the share of goods transport via rail can be increased.