Renfe locomotive model 251 in Spain. Photo credit: Jean-Pierre Vergez-Larrouy

Spanish Constru Rail adds maintenance work to portfolio

The Spanish logistics company Constru Rail, a joint venture of Renfe and Continental Rail, will enter the train maintenance industry. It will use the workshops of infrastructure manager Renfe for its activities.

Constru Rail wants to extend its business activities following the recommendation of the European Commission towards the liberalisation of the European rail industry. In addition, the Spanish market has been ciritised by the anti-trust authority CNMC for the strong market share of Renfe Mercancias, Renfeā€™s freight subsidiary.

Own license

Most Spanish political parties support the liberalisation strategy, except for the trade unions and far-left party Podemos. However, the rail freight industry has not yet suffered large strikes so far.

Constru Rail will obtain a license to operate as an independent rail freight operator, as is requested from maintenance companies by the Spanish authorities. The joint venture previously operated with the license of Continental Rail. Constru Rail will have workshops for trains with European and Spanish gauge.

Background

Constru Rail started operating in 2007, transporting bulk goods between Madrid and Valencia. Renfe provided the wagons and maintenance workshops, while the ACS-owned Continental Rail provided the locomotives. The joint venture reached a peak running four trains per week. However, activities declined gradually due to little business activity between these two logistics hubs.

Continental Rail started in 2000, being a pioneer as a private rail operator in the Spanish rail industry. The company developed several important freight and passenger services, especially in high-speed projects. However, Continental Rail has only an 8 per cent market share. It is trying to increase its stake in the rail freight industry in the long term.

Author: Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez is RailFreight's correspondent in Spain.

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