The Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sanchez, attended the test trip for the high-speed train between Madrid and Ourense on Monday, where she announced that from this Tuesday it will be possible to buy tickets for the Madrid-Galicia HSL, which will begin operating with passengers on December 21, 2021, fulfilling the commitment made.
Raquel Sanchez has been accompanied by the president of Galicia, Alberto Nunez Feijoo; the president of Castilla y Leon, Alfonso Fernandez Manueco; by the Government delegate in Galicia, Jose Minones; and by the main people in charge of Mitma, the Secretary of State, Isabel Pardo de Vera; the Secretary General for Infrastructure, Sergio Vazquez; the president of Adif, Maria Luisa Dominguez; and by the president of Renfe, Isaias Taboas.
The section tested between Pedralba de la Praderia (province of Zamora) and Ourense, 119.4 km long, has involved an investment of approximately 2,965 million euros and continues the section put into service just over a year ago between Zamora and Pedralba de la Praderia.
In this way, the connection between Madrid and Galicia in which the State has invested more than 9,000 million euros in the last 16 years is completed.
Raquel Sanchez, in her speech, emphasized that the start of commercial traffic and a new range of services will substantially improve the connection between Madrid and all the Galician provinces.
Cut in travel times
The minister, regarding the cut in travel times between Galicia and Madrid, has reported that the greatest time savings will occur in the trunk of the line and, therefore, from Ourense it will be reduced by 1 hour and 28 minutes.
From the capital of Ourense, and thanks to the commissioning of this new section, the trains will improve their travel times to the rest of the Galician towns compared to Madrid, so that: the trains from Vigo and Pontevedra will cut their current times by 54 minutes ; those of Santiago, 1 hour and 4 minutes; those of A Coruna, 1 hour and 3 minutes; and the trains to Lugo will shorten your journey time by 57 minutes.
In this way, the new travel times from the main Galician cities to Madrid will be as follows:
Ourense-Madrid: 2:15 a.m.
Vigo-Madrid: 4:16 a.m.
Pontevedra-Madrid: 4:00 a.m.
Santiago-Madrid: 3:20 a.m.
A Coruna-Madrid: 3:51 a.m.
Lugo-Madrid: 4:46 a.m.
These improvements in times will not stop here, as the minister has underlined, given that in a second phase they will be reduced by another 20 minutes with the arrival of Talgo’s 106 series trains, known as Avril , which will allow speeds of 330 km/h. These are the most modern trains of the company and will have a variable gauge, which will allow them to reach all the Galician capitals.
New offer of services in the Galicia-Madrid connection
Raquel Sanchez has highlighted that the improvements in the connection between Galicia and the center of the peninsula will also affect the new offer of connections, with a very significant increase in the number of services, which will allow greater connectivity with the peninsular center.
In this way, it has detailed that the daily services per direction to each of the main towns will be as follows:
· Ourense, Santiago and A Coruna will see their offer increased from 6 to 10.
· Vigo will double its current offer and its daily services per direction will go from 4 to 8.
· Services to Pontevedra will go from 5 to 7.
· Lugo gains a new daily service per direction, going from 3 to 4.
Mitma’s 2022 budgets for Galicia
The head of the Ministry has also made a balance of what the budgets planned by Mitma for 2022 in Galicia will entail, where the increase in investment of 33.7% compared to last year stood out, exceeding 890 million euros.
The minister has stated that almost half of this investment will go to the railway, so that with the almost 420 million euros it will be possible to continue materializing the railway modernization of Galicia with actions such as:
-The Ourense variant, where Mitma has put out to tender two sections from Taboadela for more than 127 million euros.
-Renovation of the Ourense-Lugo, Cudillero-Ferrol lines and the connection with Leon.
-The intermodal stations of Vigo, Ourense, A Coruna and Santiago, in which the work of the new passenger building has just been awarded for more than 30 million euros.
In addition, the PGE-2022 also contemplate endowment to continue the studies of:
-The southern exit of Vigo, which gives continuity to the Atlantic Axis towards Portugal and improves its connection with Porto.
-The Betanzos bypass on the Coruna-Ferrol line.
-The new Ourense-Vigo line through Cerdedo, in Pontevedra.
The minister has made a separate chapter with the Atlantic Merchandise Corridor; where Mitma has achieved the inclusion of the Galician railway network in the latest revision of the Regulation that regulates the financing of the European Corridors with which, since July this year, the A Coruna-Vigo-Ourense-Leon axis belongs by right to the Atlantic Corridor.
This means that it will be possible to opt for community aid to carry out actions in this Corridor, which in the PGE 2022 has an endowment of more than 1,400 million euros. Raquel Sanchez, in this way, has ratified that both the Atlantic Corridor and the Mediterranean Corridor respond to a country strategy to improve our rail connection with the rest of Europe, in a balanced way throughout the Iberian Peninsula.
Mitma’s commitment to mobility in Galicia
Finally, the minister has shown the Ministry’s clear commitment to mobility in Galicia, and has mentioned the allocation of 53 million euros for the financing of rail services declared OSP in Galicia.
Additionally, the head of the Department has also referred to the transfer that Mitma is going to make to the Xunta this 2021, of almost 67 million euros to decarbonise and digitize Galician metropolitan mobility and promote the energy transition of professional road transport in Galicia. .
Pedralba de la Praderia (Zamora) – Ourense section
The Madrid-Galicia HSL ends with the connection of four sections totaling nearly 320 km: the sections in service Olmedo-Zamora (95 km) and Zamora-Pedralba de la Praderia (110 .4 km) will continue with the new sections Pedralba de la Praderia-Taboadela (103.4 km) and Taboadela-Ourense (16 km = 2 km connection branch + 14 km Taboadela-Ourense station).
The Pedralba de la Praderia-Ourense section, 119.4 km long, has involved an approximate investment of €2,965 million (VAT included) and will represent a significant reduction in travel times in the railway connections between Galicia, the Meseta and Madrid, between 50 and 90 minutes depending on the case, contributing to the social and economic structure of the territories it crosses. The section can be divided into two differentiated segments: Pedralba-Taboadela and Taboadela-Ourense.
Pedralba de la Praderia-Taboadela
section This newly built 103.4 km section marks the entry of high speed into Galicia, crossing the province of Ourense transversally from the border with Zamora, in the southeast, with a route that runs north from the A-52 motorway to the provincial capital.
It is the most complex section of the entire line from the orographic and geotechnical point of view. This circumstance and the premise of achieving its own high-speed parameters force a large part of the route to run between tunnels and large viaducts until its final destination, Ourense station. The section crosses the mountains of the Ourense central massif thanks to the construction of 32 viaducts and 31 tunnels, many of them twin-tube, that is, with a tube for each track. Of the 103.4 km of the Pedralba-Taboadela section, three quarters have been built on two independent parallel platforms, one for each road.
More than 60% of this route, underground or by viaduct, has required a unique work: in total, the section adds 126 kilometers of tunnels, (62.50 km on the right track, plus 55.89 km on the left track and 7.88 km of double track tunnels), the longest being the O Corno tunnel (8.6 km) and almost 11 km of viaducts, of which the longest is the Requejo viaduct for double track (1 ,72 km) and the most emblematic, the Teixeiras double viaduct, 508 m long, with a maximum height of more than 100 m and a central span composed of an arch with a span of 132 m, which saves the effects on the SCI (Place of Common Interest) of the river Tamega.
This new layout will allow speeds of more than 300 km/h for commercial trains, with double standard gauge track (1435 mm), 2×25 kV 50 Hz alternating current electrification, ERTMS N2 and ASFA traffic control systems, and GSM-R mobile communications. In a first phase of operation, the service will be provided on a single track in a section of approximately 30 km between Pedralba and the PAET (Train Overtaking and Parking Post) of Vilavella, while the adaptation to high speed of the historic tunnel is carried out. de Padornelo of the conventional network, which will form part of the west track of the section. The route includes the PAET of Vilavella and Meaman and the new station of Porta de Galicia, in A Gudina.
This 16 km section has been conditioned to allow the arrival of high-speed traffic to the capital of Ourense while the city’s Outer Bypass is being designed and built. In this sense, a series of operations have been carried out, such as the installation of a third rail, so that trains running on standard gauge can access Ourense. The circulation of these trains will be carried out in accordance with the same operating scheme as in the rest of the route, which includes the ERTMS system.
On the other hand, passing services, that is, those that continue their route to other destinations, will be carried out by means of sliding trains that, after passing through the Taboadela gauge changer and up to Ourense, will circulate in conventional gauge.
The route includes a 2 km long branch to connect the new high-speed platform and the existing line in the area of Taboadela. Next to this station is the gauge changer that will allow the continuity of long-distance trains from Ourense to the rest of the Galician cities in conventional gauge.
The Ourense station is called to be a strategic high-speed hub in Galicia, since it is the origin and destination not only of the section to Santiago and A Coruna, but also of those that will go to Lugo, on the one hand, and Pontevedra and Vigo, on the other.
Main adaptation actions of the Taboadela-Ourense
section • Electrification of the section.
• Installation of a third rail to provide the road with a mixed gauge configuration, suitable for standard gauge (1,435 mm) and conventional gauge (1,668 mm).
• Adaptation of security installations and communications of the section.
• Conditioning of the viaduct over the river Mino (422 m).
• Conditioning of 4 tunnels: Aspera (153.9 m), Corruxeiras (125.4 m), La Marquesa (248 m) and San Francisco (911.8 m).
Tickets, services and schedules in both directions
Renfe puts on sale as of this Tuesday, November 23, the tickets for the new trains that will operate on the Madrid-Galicia HSL from next December 21. It will do so with a promotion in which it will put 250,000 tickets on sale on this line at a price of 15 euros, regardless of origin and destination and on AVE and Alvia trains.
The campaign will start on November 23 and will last for two weeks. These tickets can be purchased for travel between December 21, 2021 and September 12, 2022.
New services on board
In addition to the increase in frequencies, reduction in travel times and promotional prices, the addition of services on board that For now, they will be available only for AVE trains.
The on-board restaurant service is enabled, which the traveler can purchase at the time of ticket purchase. Premium tickets are also activated for these trains, which offer a trip with all the extras included. And the service for unaccompanied minors is extended so that children between 6 and 13 years of age can make the trip alone, under the supervision of Renfe staff on board the train.