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View of one of the sections of the Algeciras line with the upgraded track. SUR
Upgrade of major rail freight corridor linking south of Spain to rest of country is gaining momentum
Freight transport

Upgrade of major rail freight corridor linking south of Spain to rest of country is gaining momentum

The latest contract for track works is part of the overall project for the modernisation of the line between Bobadilla and Algeciras, which has a total investment of 472 million euros, 70% of which has already been set in motion

Chus Heredia

Malaga

Wednesday, 3 April 2024, 10:34

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Much like a forgotten toy left on the shelf for many years, now dusted off, wound up and taking off at speed. The transformation of the old railway line between Bobadilla, Ronda and Algeciras to adapt it to the logistical demands of rail freight is gaining momentum. This route will be integrated into the so-called 'Autopista Ferroviaria' (railway highway), which starts in Zaragoza and connects with Madrid before heading towards Andalucía where there are two important stops: the transport and logistics megahub outside Antequera and Algeciras port. According to data from the Regional Ministry of Public Works, only 0.5% of freight in Andalucía is transported by rail, the consequences being the impact on the environment and a lack of competitiveness within the sector.

Spain's central government has just awarded a 52.8 million euro contract for more work to go ahead on the upgrade of the Bobadilla-Algeciras line. The contract applies to the Bobadilla-Ronda section (43 km long), following approval of phase two of the San Pablo-Almoraima section and conclusion of work between Ronda-San Pablo and Almoraima-Algeciras.

This work is part of the overall plans for modernisation for this rail corridor, which has a total investment of 472 million euros, 70% of which has already been set in motion.

This latest work to have been approved is being carried out by Adif and involves replacing all track elements (ballast, sleepers and rails) on the section with tracks befitting of high-performance rail traffic. Likewise, the dimensions of overhead structures will be adapted to accommodate the uprights and other equipment required in readiness of the future electrification of the line. All the infrastructure points along the route and the drainage system will be strengthened. These aspects of the job have been awarded to construction company Tecsa, part of the Dragados group.

Other work

With this next stage of work now awarded, progress is being made on this comprehensive plan to upgrade the Bobadilla-Algeciras line, which also includes the fitting of a third rail (to enable different gauge trains to operate), electrification of the line and the extension of railway sidings.

While track renewal is under way, other areas will also be tackled, such as a revamp of rail control and monitoring systems. This will involve installing GSM-R (Global System for Mobile Communications - Railway, a secure, wireless communication platform to enable contact between train crews and control centres) and automatic block signalling (ABS - a system that ensures a minimum distance is maintained between trains). Installation will get underway on the Bobadilla-Ronda section once the same work has been completed between Ronda and Algeciras.

Work to update the signalling between Ronda and Algeciras involves implementing the ASFA digital system (Automatic Train Protection System), which has already been contracted. The electrification project for the Ronda-Algeciras stretch is currently being finalised.

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