railway

Direct Barcelona-Paris train to reach 1 million passengers in its first year

December 16, 2013 07:45 PM | ACN

1 million passengers are expected to use the new direct High-Speed Train between Barcelona and Paris within a year. The Spanish Transport Minister Ana Pastor, her French counterpart Fréderic Cuvillier and the Catalan Minister for Planning and Sustainability Santi Vila, have described the High-Speed connection as a “milestone” that will further develop the bond between states and develop their economy. The very first direct train from Barcelona to Paris circulated last Sunday, connecting seventeen cities between the two states. Both Catalan and French ministers have stated they had taken measures to accelerate the construction of the Perpignan-Montpellier section, where trains are still circulating at a regular speed, making journeys significantly longer.

The first direct TGV connecting Barcelona and Paris on the 15th of December

November 20, 2013 10:01 PM | ACN

The Spanish Government has finally set a date for the first direct High Speed Train between Barcelona and Paris. Passengers will no longer have to switch trains near the French border and a direct TGV will link Paris and Barcelona from the 15th of December. The journey will last 6 hours and 20 minutes, since there is no high-speed railway in the 200-kilometre stretch between Perpignan and Nîmes and trains circulate at a regular speed. The High-Speed railway between Nîmes and Montpellier should be operative by 2017, but the French Government announced last June that the construction of the 150 km between Montpellier and Perpignan would be delayed beyond 2030. The Catalan Executive as well as French and Catalan Euro MPs have requested the French Government to reconsider its decision after the EU has included the Mediterranean Railway Corridor among its 9 main transport priorities until 2020.

European Parliament’s final approval of the Mediterranean Railway Corridor

November 19, 2013 07:17 PM | ACN

After years of debate, the new European Union’s Transport Priorities have finally been approved. The European Parliament has approved the Commission’s plan to build 9 major transport corridors connecting the continent from West to East, North to South and in diagonal. The Mediterranean Corridor for freight and passengers is one of these 9 priorities and will link Barcelona and Tarragona to the Gibraltar Straight and Central Europe, connecting major production centres, import/export infrastructures and tourist destinations. The final plan ignores the Spanish Government’s request to include the Centre Pyrenees Corridor as well, a project that was bypassing Catalonia and therefore Barcelona, despite being Spain’s main industrial, export and tourist centre and being geographically attached to France.

Barcelona, the world capital of electric vehicles in November

November 13, 2013 07:42 PM | ACN

Barcelona will host the 27th International Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition (EVS27) and the Expoelèctric trade fair in mid November. Organising these two fairs is part of the city’s economic strategy to boost the electric vehicle sector, which has been declared a priority for the entire Greater Barcelona area and Catalonia. The latest technologies, notably batteries and charging systems will be on display in the Catalan capital, while the organisers also hope to introduce electric vehicles to a very wide audience. These fairs will coincide in Barcelona with two other events dedicated to sustainable development: the Smart City Expo and BCNRail, both taking place between 19-21 November.

The Port of Barcelona increased its container export levels by 12% during the first half of 2013 setting a new record

August 2, 2013 09:46 PM | ACN

Container exports from the Port of Barcelona reached 276,566 TEU’s for the first half of this year, an increase of 12% on the same period of 2012. North Africa and the Far East have significantly grown as the destinations of exports from the Catalan harbour. Furthermore, among the highest exports are motor vehicles and bulk solid cargo such as cement. The Catalan Minister of Planning and Sustainability, Santi Vila, stressed the importance of the Port as an economic engine and the fact that it has changed itself from being an importer to an exporter of goods in recent years.

Barcelona's new High-Speed Train station has its budget reduced from €800 to €650 million

July 11, 2013 02:41 PM | CNA

The Spanish Transport Ministry and Barcelona’s City Council signed an agreement to unblock the construction work of La Sagrera train station, which was on hold due to the current financial crisis. This project is the main urban planning initiative Barcelona has been trying to develop since the Olympics. It involves building a huge inter-modal station, combining high-speed trains, short- and medium-distance trains, underground trains and buses. In addition, many retail, office and housing buildings would be built on top of the station and nearby. On top of this, a 4.5 kilometre-long park would be created, covering the rail yard and connecting several neighbourhoods that are now separated by the tracks. In early 2013, the project was at risk since the Spanish Government had not guaranteed its funds, despite the fact that construction work started years ago.

The French Government delays the construction of the High-Speed Train between Montpellier and Barcelona

June 28, 2013 01:12 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

France will not allow High-Speed Trains from Barcelona to Central and Northern Europe to run at their maximum velocity since it refuses to build the 156 kilometre high-speed railway stretch between Perpignan and Montpellier. This infrastructure has been declared to be one of the European Union’s strategic transport priorities, since it connects the Iberian Peninsula with the rest of the continent via the Mediterranean Railway Corridor. Many years ago, the French Government promised to build this stretch before 2020, an engagement reconfirmed by Sarkozy’s executive. However, the current Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has paused work on the project and delayed it until after 2030.

Barcelona Port’s new hydrocarbon terminal is unveiled

April 18, 2013 09:47 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Tradebe’s new terminal for petrochemical products has 29 tanks for storing bulk liquids, with a total capacity of 450,000 cubic metres. The new facility represented a €65 million investment, occupying 60,000 square metres and creating 27 direct jobs. Tradebe is one of the leading companies in industrial waste management in Spain, with a significant presence in the United States and the United Kingdom as well as having subsidiary companies in France and Turkey. The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, and the Spanish Minister for Public Works, Ana Pastor, participated in the unveiling ceremony. Mas asked Pastor to prioritise “productive” investments, such as Barcelona Port’s railway connections.

High-level conference in Brussels to push for the Mediterranean Railway Corridor

March 6, 2013 10:42 PM | CNA

Multinational companies, railway operators, port authorities and government representatives met in the European Parliament to demand a boost of goods transportation by rail in Europe. They are pushing for the use of longer and heavier trains, able to transport more goods at a lower cost, with the consequent increase in competitiveness. These trains would circulate along specific corridors, such as the Mediterranean Railway Corridor, which will link the Gibraltar area with Central and Northern Europe passing through Spain’s Mediterranean ports and main industrial centres. The lobby organising the event, FERRMED, complained about the absence of representatives from the Spanish Government’s train operators.

Tarragona’s chemical hub unveils its first intermodal station with international-standard width railway

February 9, 2013 05:41 PM | CNA / Anna Fortuny / Núria Torres

Tarragona’s intermodal freight station is located within the Bayer factory and it will serve all the companies located in the southern half of the chemical centre. Tarragona is host to Spain’s largest chemical hub, which will be connected by international-standard width railway to Central and Northern Europe once the Spanish Government has built the stretch between this economic centre and Greater Barcelona. This stretch is part of the strategic Mediterranean Railway Corridor, which the Spanish Government has been delaying for years. This main infrastructure will combine a high-speed passenger railway with goods transportation. Once completed, it will connect Gibraltar with Northern Europe via Spain’s Mediterranean ports and industrial centres, including València, Tarragona and Barcelona.

Container exportation from Barcelona Port grew by 8.7% in 2012

January 24, 2013 11:10 PM | CNA

The Port of Barcelona, one of southern Europe’s main transport infrastructures, continues to bring positive results. Over the last year the Catalan harbour unveiled two new container terminals, an investment to consolidate the trend of attracting greater container traffic, as the 8.7% increase shows. In addition, the number of cars transported increased by 9.8%. These figures are to be added to the 12% increase in container exports and 25% growth of car exports through Barcelona’s harbour in 2011. Besides, the port in the capital of Catalonia continues to lead the cruise ship sector in Europe, transporting 2.4 million passengers and almost reaching last year’s record high of 2.6 million cruisers.

The last High Speed railway stretch between Barcelona and France has finally been unveiled after years of delays

January 8, 2013 11:17 PM | CNA

The Spanish Government has finally finished the construction work and circulation tests on the last 131-kilometre stretch of railroad to France. Barcelona, Girona and Figueres are now linked by High Speed Train, although a direct connection between the Catalan capital and France will have to wait until next April. Now, passengers can travel from Barcelona to Girona in only 37 minutes and to Figueres in a total of 53 minutes. If they want to continue to France, they will have to switch trains until April, when the Spanish trains will be standardised to be able to run in France. However, from now on, the Spanish and the French High Speed railway networks will finally be connected, twenty years after the Madrid-Seville line was unveiled. The Catalan President has emphasised that Catalonia is the Autonomous Community with the smallest amount of public infrastructures in Spain.

The high-speed train linking Barcelona and Girona to France to finally start running in April 2013

October 19, 2012 01:32 AM | CNA / Marina López / Xavier Pi

The Spanish public company in charge of building and maintaining railway infrastructures, Adif, has confirmed the awaited date. Adif will have all the work finished by the end of this year, including the overhead line set in the tunnels crossing Barcelona and Girona. This will enable the train service linking Barcelona and Girona to the French city of Perpignan to be operational by April 2013. This work, funded and managed by the Spanish Government, has accumulated many years of inexplicable delays before connecting Spain’s high-speed network to Europe.

Tarragona’s chemical hub represents 25% of Spanish total

October 17, 2012 01:07 AM | CNA / Núria Torres

The chemical industries based in Tarragona, such as BASF, Dow Chemical and Repsol, expect their turnover to increase by 4% in 2012 compared to a year ago. In 2011, they exported 60% of their production, while in 2000 they were only exporting 30% of it. Furthermore, they have requested transport infrastructures to be improved and criticised the increase in energy taxes. About Catalonia’s hypothetical independence, they stated they “will respect what will be decided and will adapt to it”. These companies represent around 7% of Catalonia’s GDP.

Once again the Spanish Government will not honour investment obligations in Catalonia next year

October 4, 2012 01:47 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

As in the past, Catalonia will not receive the investment percentage it is legally entitled to by the current legislation. Instead of getting 19% of the foreseen investment in infrastructures made throughout Spain, in the Spanish Government’s budget for 2013 Catalonia will only receive 11.9%. Furthermore, essential infrastructures for Catalonia’s economy and Spain’s and Europe’s competitiveness are under-budgeted while the Spanish Government finds the money to build non-priority infrastructures, such as high-speed railways in Galicia. On top of this, only 35% of the public work initially foreseen in Catalonia by the Spanish budget for 2011 was executed, while in Madrid the work executed came to 111%. Besides, the Spanish Government has reduced its funds to Catalan cultural centres and festivals by 70% over two years.