EU funding for Spanish high-speed section Murcia-Almería approved
The Murcia-Almería high-speed railway line will be supported with 411 million euros in funding from the European union. The European Commission approved the allocation of the grant from the European Regional Development Fund, which will support the construction of the Nonduermas-Vera and Los Arejos-El Puche sections of the high-speed line.
Like the other high-speed lines in Spain, the tracks will be in European standard gauge (1,435 mm), next to the Spanish network in Iberian broad gauge (1,669 mm). This will ensure interoperability and eliminate bottlenecks caused by the need to transfer freight between trains at the Spanish – French border. The new line will be around 149 kilometres long and will further improve the connection of the Mediterranean Corridor of the Trans-European Transport Network.
Important for Spain, and Europe
There is currently no railway directly connecting Murcia and Almería, and passengers and goods travelling between Almería and other large cities in eastern Spain must go via Madrid. The project thus fills a gap in the rail network in south-eastern Spain, and the EU considers the development of the line a priority, therefore co-financing the project.
The Mediterranean Corridor will connect the Spanish regions of Andalusia, the Region of Murcia, the Valencian Community and Catalonia with Europe in standard gauge. On a European scale, the Corridor connects all the way to Hungary, running along the Mediterranean coast of Spain and through France, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia, ending at the Hungarian-Ukrainian border. The line will also allow for the establishment of a new connection between Almería and the centre of the Iberian Peninsula, which will shorten journey times on that route.
The whole line will be electrified and equipped with a European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) level 2 signalling system. The railway is designed to accommodate passenger trains of up to 400 metres and freight trains of up to 750 metres in length. Passenger trains will be able to travel at over 250 km/h and freight trains up to 100 km/h. Further works on the tracks, the electrification and the signalling system are planned to be co-financed in the 2021-2027 period. In December 2022, Spanish rail infrastructure manager Adif finished the last high-speed line section connecting Murcia to Madrid, taking the Spanish high-speed network to over 4000 kilometres in length, the largest in Europe.
“This key transport infrastructure will have a positive impact on the entire region, and beyond”, said European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira. “It will make life easier, safer and increase opportunity for passengers and businesses alike. By reducing emissions, it will help the EU reach its goal of a greener, more sustainable future for all.”