King Opens New High Speed Madrid-Asturias Train Line

What train line was inaugurated in Spain in 1884 by King Alfonso XII was finally opened by his great-grandson, Felipe VI, 139 years later?

The answer is the new high speed train line that connects Madrid with Oviedo, which was opened yesterday, at a ceremony at Madrid´s Charmatin Station.

The original line was abandoned over a century ago and new work started in 2004 to complete the ambitious connection, made more challenging by having to cut through the Cantabrian Mountains.

19 years and 4 billion Euros later the line is completed and includes one of the world´s longest rail tunnels that runs through the Cantabrian Mountains.

The new line cut through the mountain range with the Pajares Bypass, a 50-kilometre-long section, which runs through 12 tunnels, one of which is 25 kilometres long, making it the seventh longest in the world.

The depth at which this tunnel runs, which is longer than the island of Manhattan, reaches 1 kilometre, which is equivalent to the height of the Four Towers Hotel in Madrid!

The king and prime minister made the inaugural journey that opened to the public today, Thursday 30th November.

Spanish rail operator Renfe is presently offering three daily services, a fourth from Monday to Saturday and an additional one on Fridays in the Madrid-Gijón direction.

The high-speed train will run from Madrid to Pola de Lena (Asturias), with stops in Segovia, Valladolid, Palencia and León. Beyond Pola de Lena it will stop in Mieres, Oviedo and finally in Gijón, although at that point it will no longer be high speed, but will share the track with the Cercanías commuter trains.

The first phase, from Madrid to Oviedo it will take between 3 hours 39 minutes and 3 hours 58 minutes, depending on the number of stops. However, when Renfe finally receives the new Avril trains from Talgo, it will be cut to 2 hours 43 minutes, compared to the 4 hours 28 minutes that this route currently takes.

The country’s main construction companies have participated in the construction of this work, such as Acciona, ACS, FCC, Ferrovial, Sacyr & San José.



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