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File image of high speed trains in Spain. Salvador Salas
Adif announces three big contracts to keep high-speed rail lines in Andalucía operational and deal with problem rabbits
Rail travel

Adif announces three big contracts to keep high-speed rail lines in Andalucía operational and deal with problem rabbits

Totalling 138 million euros, the four-year railway infrastructure maintenance contracts are vital to avoid the increasingly frequent delays and breakdowns on the region's fast tracks

Chus Heredia

Wednesday, 8 November 2023, 17:53

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Maintaining the infrastructure on which hundreds of high speed ​​trains circulate on a daily basis in Spain and which, usually, are in the middle of the countryside is not cheap. The routes enabled for maximum speeds of 330km/h require exhaustive maintenance.

State rail infrastructure company Adif has this week awarded three mega contracts to help keep the AVE lines in the Andalucía region operational, with the vital work being necessary to avoid the increasingly frequent delays and breakdowns.

Totalling 138 million euros, the four-year contracts, agreed on Tuesday, are in relation to the Cordoba-Malaga line, the Madrid-Seville line, and the Antequera-Granada rail line.

The contracts are divided into three lots. The first, for 58 million euros to maintain 169 kilometres on the Madrid-Seville line, has been awarded to a group comprising of Acciona, Tecsa, Comsa and Vías y Construcciones. The second, to maintain 154 kilometres of the Cordoba-Málaga, is awarded to Contratas y Ventas, Guinovart-Hispania, Azvi and Ferrovial, for 57 million euros. The third, to maintain 124 kilometres of the Antequera-Granada line, for 23.7 million euros, was awarded to Ferrovial, Guinovart-Hispania, Avzi and Rover Rail.

The contracts include the detailed analysis of any delay of more than 15 minutes that is attributable to the poor state of the infrastructure. Such incident, as SUR has been regularly reporting, have been multiplying in recent months, due to the increase in the number of trains, frequency of services and the appearance of private train operators on the lines. Inevitable wear and tear also needs to be taken into account.

Rabbits

Rather bizarrely, rabbits also pose a significant threat to the railway network infrastructure as they find the sloped sides of loose material of the embankments an ideal spot to dig their burrows with the consequent risk of collapse. This is a particular problem in Malaga province's Antequera region. A few years ago, Adif had to invest three million euros following damage by rabbits there.

Back in 2013, the Spanish government was sentenced to pay 15,000 euros following the death of hundreds of rabbits trapped in their burrows that were closed in Fuente de Piedra, Humilladero and La Roda. In Tarancón (Cuenca), two farmers won legal battles, in 2018 and 2019, for damage to their crops from rabbits that were burrowed in the railway embankments.

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