November 05, 2012

Tests begin on Barcelona - Figueres high-speed line

Written by  Fernando Puente
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SPAIN's state-owned train operating company, Renfe, and the country's infrastructure manager, Adif, have started passenger service tests on the mixed traffic high-speed line between Barcelona and the French border.

Although 76km of the 130km Barcelona - Figueres corridor was opened for freight services in December 2010, passenger services will not commence until next spring. Construction is currently being concluded on several sections of the line, namely in the north of Barcelona and a complex set of tunnels under the city of Girona. Track and overhead line geometry surveying is being conducted by one of Adif's class 335 dual-gauge measurement dmus, while a Renfe class 103 high-speed train will be used for dynamic tests and ETCS operation surveys.

While Renfe and French National Railways (SNCF) have not yet specified which trains will be used on the line, the former is currently improving 10 of Spain's very first high-speed trains, Alstom's Renfe class 100, to be able to operate under 1.5kV dc electrification in France. SNCF is likely to use a fleet of 10 Duplex Dasye which have onboard ETCS Level 2 systems and are already serving the Figueres - Paris route.

The Barcelona - Figueres line is electrified at 25kV, and will permit a maximum speed of 300km/h. The line has several 750m-long sidings that will be used by long-distance freight trains. Total investment on this corridor amounts to €4.2bn, most of it coming from the Spanish central government, with additional support from European funds and the European Investment Bank.

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