Spain sets new 2026 date for finishing Mediterranean coast train link

Transport minister of Spanish cabinet wants to complete delayed works with European funds that set time limits

Machinery working on tracks of the Mediterranean Corridor in the Camp de Tarragona area (image from Adif)
Machinery working on tracks of the Mediterranean Corridor in the Camp de Tarragona area (image from Adif) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

November 11, 2021 10:03 AM

Spain’s transport minister, Raquel Sánchez, has announced a new date for works on the Mediterranean Corridor, the high-speed rail link running all along the coast, to finish: 2026. 

The new plans include a €1.7 billion investment to connect Almería, in Andalusia, with France as part of the Mediterranean Corridor train line.

The project has been ongoing for many years and has been marked by setback after setback, pushing the end date back on numerous occasions.  

The planned spending is included in the 2022 Spanish budget and accounts for over 10% of the transport ministry’s total disbursement. 

Of this €1.7 billion, €540 million would be for infrastructure in Catalonia, €377 million for Valencia, €233 million for Murcia, and more than €558 million for Andalusia.

Part of the funding for the project comes from European funds, something that, according to Sánchez, sets out temporary milestones in the development calendar that must be achieved. 

As such, the minister takes it for granted that the works will be completed between 2025-2026.

Sánchez unveiled the plans in Madrid at an event organized by the Valencian Association of Entrepreneurs, where she also pointed out that since June 2018, the Spanish government has lengthened this train line by 233 kilometres, with investments worth €3 billion.

The Spanish executive calculates a return of investment to the GDP of €3.50 for every €1 put into the Mediterranean Corridor.

Sanchez also added that it will be "the most efficient and environmentally-friendly land connection with the rest of Europe."

The Socialist politician also explained that another project connecting Murcia with Madrid, Albacete, Cuenca and all of northern Spain is expected to be completed by 2023, as well as connecting the port of Tarragona and the entire industrial cluster that surrounds it with the rest of Europe. 

The former mayor of Gavà also believes that for the same year the works on implementing mixed gauge tracks between Castellbisbal and Vila-seca would be complete, and that the high-speed services between Valencia and Castellón would stop interfering in the commuter services.

Mediterranean Corridor high-speed rail link

The Mediterranean Corridor is the decades-unfinished railway line that stretches all along Andalusia in the south of Spain, northward through Murcia and Valencia, all along Catalonia, past the French border, and beyond.

Years ago, plans for a high-speed rail line were drawn up which would connect this whole stretch of land, but setback after setback has led to many delays.

Camp de Tarragona train station, in southern Catalonia, is where the high-speed train link needs to be connected with the existing line. Once that happens, the south of France will be connected with the south of Spain via the high-speed train along the Mediterranean coast, but until then, everything still needs to go through Madrid.

If you want to travel between Barcelona and Valencia, the two biggest ports in Spain, via high-speed train, you have to go through Madrid to do so. This turns a roughly 350km journey into a near-950km journey.

There’s widespread agreement from the populations that the route would serve that the line is urgently needed. The 1300km of coast that this train line will serve is home to 40% of Spain’s total population, accounts for 40% of its GDP, and for 65% of its maritime traffic.

High-speed rail access to these hugely important ports will have huge benefits. Not only will people be able to travel much quicker and easier, but the completed train line will allow goods to be transported between Spain and the rest of Europe with more ease and efficiency. The project is also backed with European funding.