Friday, July 1

A high speed still unfinished in Galicia

The high-speed trains already communicate Galicia with Madrid since Tuesday, but the map of high performance rail still remains unfinished in the community. 10,060 million euros have been invested, including the Atlantic Axis between Vigo and A Coruña, and yet there is still another important package to be executed for an amount that is currently unknown. Yesterday was a big day and so they celebrated both the president of the Xunta, Alberto Núñez, as the mayor of Vigo, Abel Caballero, or the national spokesperson of the BNG, Ana Pontón, but the three took the opportunity to put black on white the pending issues of the railway in Galicia.

Exterior variant of Ourense

Some actions are more urgent than others and some are in a much more advanced stage of development than others. The most immediate, and the only one that is budgeted although half tendered, is the exterior variant of Ourense. They are almost 18 kilometers divided into five contracts. Two of them, totaling eight kilometers, have just been awarded for 112 million. A third will go out to tender shortly and the last two are still in the project drafting phase.

As long as this variant is not built, which will take at least three years, trains use the current line between Taboadela and Ourense, to which a catenary and a third rail have been installed so that the compositions in Iberian and international gauge can circulate. This temporary “fix” is what allows pure AVE trains to reach Ourense and the Alvia, to the rest of the cities.

The pure AVE –only two connections a day in each direction– arrive in Ourense directly in international gauge from Madrid, but the Alvia –eight per direction a day– pass through the Taboadela changer to extend its shafts and adjust to the Iberian width, which is installed inside the community, and thus can provide service in all cities without the need to transfer any.

A minor pending work, although already in progress, is adapt the old Padornelo tunnel to the high-speed characteristics.

Connection by Cerdedo

But the largest project, which at the moment is only in an incipient stage, is the direct connection by Cerdedo from Vigo to Ourense. The current design requires that all trains with origin or destination in the city of Olives have to pass through Santiago necessarily, with or without transshipment.

The design of the corridor depends on the result of the hydrogeological study that is being carried out, which is also the one that was going to determine the political decision to build it or not … until last Saturday, when the Secretary of State for Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda , Isabel Pardo de Vera, guaranteed Abel knight in Vigo that this section is also going to be executed.

“My thanks to the fact that between Vigo and Madrid there will be an hour less travel from now, but the high-speed line between Vigo and Ourense is still not done because it was stopped by the PP”, censured Caballero, who in any case celebrated that Pardo de Vera and the Government of Pedro Sánchez will assure him that this old demand is finally going to be put into practice. “We have all the guarantees,” he insisted.

“It is essential that high-speed trains reach the rest of the Galician cities, although it seems that in Vigo the shadows are clearing,” said Feijóo during his speech in Ourense at the official inauguration of the AVE with Pedro Sánchez and to the king.

AVE Vigo-Porto

But in Vigo there are more pending projects. In fact, it is the city with the most priority rail plans that are undeveloped. And none of them are minor.

One is the connection with Portugal at high speed, as Feijóo also remembered yesterday. Spain and the Portuguese Government undertook to promote the line of AVE between Porto and Vigo and the EU has marked the year 2040 as the deadline for its commissioning. But there is little more than that.

The Spanish Executive has to design the route between Vigo and Tui to continue towards Portugal and Portugal had planned to start the works from the year 2025, without further precision.

South exit

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And this performance wouldn’t make much sense without the south exit from Vigo –In a period of study of alternatives–, since this branch will allow Galician trains to circulate towards Portugal without having to return to Redondela to continue their journey, since the Vigo station is a terminal. In addition, this branch would serve to connect the port with the Atlantic freight corridor.

Outside of Pontevedra, the improvement of the connection between Ourense and Lugo and, by extension, with Ferrol and A Coruña. The improvement of internal communication in the community and the implementation of a proximity service is the demand that the BNG put on the table yesterday.

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