The line was opened in 1928, but closed following the derailment of a freight service in 1970. Work to reopen the 7.871km tunnel, which includes a 4.714km section in Spain and a 3.157km section in France, is being undertaken through the European Union’s Connecting Europe Mechanism (CEF).

The agreement, signed by Spain’s secretary of state for transport, mobility and urban agenda, Mr Pedro Saura, and the president of the Council of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region, Mr Alain Rousset, will establish a joint mechanism to publish a single tender for the study.

The studies will cover an environmental report, an overview of the civil works in the tunnel and surrounding infrastructure, the governance of the tunnel and the work required to reopen it.