Closed tunnel on Spain-France route poses problems for rail freight

Image: Esteyco

Rail traffic along the Madrid-Irún line, which connects the Spanish capital to France and is part of the TEN-T Atlantic Corridor, has been halted since 8 May due to a damaged tunnel. The line was supposed to reopen on Monday 20 May, but new information says this will not happen before Saturday 25 May.

This closure is having a significant impact on rail freight. German operator Kombiverkehr, for example, said it moves 120 containers per direction every week and had to stop all services from Germany to Irún and Madrid. The damaged infrastructure is the Gaintxurizketa tunnel, which runs for roughly 560 metres between Irún and Astigarraga. During a routine inspection on 8 May, cracks were detected at the entrance of the tunnel on the Irún side, which caused its closure and consequently halted traffic to Madrid.

The Gaintxurizketa tunnel

The tunnel is currently undergoing an upgrade project to adapt its profile and accommodate bigger trains. The tunnel enlargement phase, a project led by Spanish engineering firm Esteyco, was concluded in March. Moreover, the whole Irún-Astigarraga line is getting a third track which will be dedicated to the traffic of high-speed trains. This is not the first time that similar problems have occurred. Last year, enlargement operations had to be halted after 222 metres of the tunnel were adapted “due to reasons beyond Adif’s control”, Esteyco pointed out.

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Author: Marco Raimondi

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

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Closed tunnel on Spain-France route poses problems for rail freight | RailFreight.com

Closed tunnel on Spain-France route poses problems for rail freight

Image: Esteyco

Rail traffic along the Madrid-Irún line, which connects the Spanish capital to France and is part of the TEN-T Atlantic Corridor, has been halted since 8 May due to a damaged tunnel. The line was supposed to reopen on Monday 20 May, but new information says this will not happen before Saturday 25 May.

This closure is having a significant impact on rail freight. German operator Kombiverkehr, for example, said it moves 120 containers per direction every week and had to stop all services from Germany to Irún and Madrid. The damaged infrastructure is the Gaintxurizketa tunnel, which runs for roughly 560 metres between Irún and Astigarraga. During a routine inspection on 8 May, cracks were detected at the entrance of the tunnel on the Irún side, which caused its closure and consequently halted traffic to Madrid.

The Gaintxurizketa tunnel

The tunnel is currently undergoing an upgrade project to adapt its profile and accommodate bigger trains. The tunnel enlargement phase, a project led by Spanish engineering firm Esteyco, was concluded in March. Moreover, the whole Irún-Astigarraga line is getting a third track which will be dedicated to the traffic of high-speed trains. This is not the first time that similar problems have occurred. Last year, enlargement operations had to be halted after 222 metres of the tunnel were adapted “due to reasons beyond Adif’s control”, Esteyco pointed out.

Also read:

You just read one of our premium articles free of charge

Want full access? Take advantage of our exclusive offer

See the offer

Author: Marco Raimondi

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

Add your comment

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