Border Spain and France on the map

France’s plan for Spanish rail border crossing upgrade is ‘worrying’

On the border between Spain and France, much can be improved for rail Eric Gaba / WikiMedia

The future of the upgrade of the rail border crossing between France and Spain on the TEN-T Atlantic Corridor is still unclear and concerns are increasing. Carlo Sacchi, Community Executive responsible for the Corridor, presented his concerns in front of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee.

France might postpone the project for the upgrade of the section connecting Dax to the so-called Basque Y until 2042, but Sacchi and the European Commission think it would be feasible and beneficial to complete it by 2030. As was mentioned by Spanish news agency EuropaPress, Sacchi is quite critical of the French plan to focus on the rail section in Toulouse instead.

Will the French government follow its advisory body?

The suggestion to focus on projects of national importance rather than on a more European scale was brought forward by the Infrastructure Orientation Council (COI). COI is a French advisory body under the Ministry of Transport, which published a document listing what it considers the most relevant investments for the country’s rail infrastructure. A definitive decision will be taken by the French government in June.

The border crossing on the Atlantic Corridor is not the only international project that, according to the COI, should be put aside for now. The French section of the railway connecting Pau with Saragozza should also not be prioritised, according to the COI report. The document sparked controversies also concerning the access routes to the Lyon-Turin tunnel. According to the Council, the Dijon-Modane line should be prioritised over the access routes in Lyon.

This article first appeared on sister publication

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Author: Marco Raimondi

Marco Raimondi is an editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

4 comments op “France’s plan for Spanish rail border crossing upgrade is ‘worrying’”

Sam Critchley|30.05.23|15:19

Disappointing for pan-European rail travel if the upgrade to from Bordeaux to Hendaye and San Sébastian is put on hold – that route, in combination with the high-speed line from San Sébastian to Madrid, offers the possibility of Paris-Madrid travel in ~7 hours and also makes tourist travel between Amsterdam, Cologne, Frankfurt and any cities between there and the South of Spain possible in 1 day.

The Canfranc tunnel I can understand, although it’s a potentially excellent freight route.

Francisco Javier Bernal|01.06.23|06:00

Either Zaragoza or Saragossa but not Saragozza, please

Frank E Mattimoe|01.06.23|11:14

And the fact that the French are still refusing to finish the TGV standard upgrade on the line between the Mediterranean border tunnel and (from memory) Béziers if not Montpellier?

Within the EU, la belle France continues to show haughty contempt for all other nations

Except the German paymasters


John Jefkins|16.01.24|10:20

Paris – Madrid could be done in little more than 5 hrs on this route, as Paris-Bordeaux and Madrid-Burgos both take 2hrs.
With the 250km/hr route from Burgos to.San Sebastian and the Spanish border now finally well underway and set for completion by around 2027 isn’t it time for the French to get their line also built as 320km/hr ro Drax and 250km/hr to the border by 2030?

That really would bring Paris – Madrid down to not much over 5 hrs.

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