Will the Spanish northwest be included in the Atlantic Corridor?
The Spanish northwestern regions of Galicia, Asturias, and Castilla y Leon are still waiting to be officially included in the TEN-T Atlantic Corridor. The three regions are lamenting their exclusion from the Single Window System of the corridor, which facilitates rail freight operations along the four countries it crosses (Portugal, Spain, France, and Germany).
Moreover, the President of the Galicia Region, Alfonso Rueda, took to Twitter to point out the lack of investments to this end from the Spanish national government. Rueda claimed that the three regions are not going to get anything out of the 250 million euros that the country will receive from the EU to develop rail freight along the Atlantic Corridor.
It needs to be mentioned that freight trains can still run on the railways that are part of or connect to the Atlantic Corridor even if they are not included in the Single Window system. However, being part of the system would significantly facilitate rail freight operations, especially when it comes to international services. This is because it makes the corridor function as a one-stop shop, managing the infrastructure that crosses four countries as one unique route. In other words, if the regions are not included in this system, operators would have to find agreements with the infrastructure managers of each country.
Uncertainty reigns supreme
Already in February, the three regions prepared an investment plan amounting to 7,9 billion euros, to present to the government to be used as a basis for the Master Plan for the development of the Corridor. Initially, the Spanish government seemed quite keen on finding a solution since it appointed a State Executive Commissioner for the Atlantic Corridor. However, the current apparent lack of commitment from the national government raises some questions. The Atlantic Corridor was extended to the Spanish northwestern regions, on paper, already in 2019. However, if they are not included in the Single Window System, they will not be able to concretely benefit from the European model promoted by the TEN-T network.