Information published on 24 March 2009 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 135.

Spain: Interoperable freight traffic between Spain and Portugal

Adif and Refer (Portuguese National Railway Network) have planned the first direct and interoperable railway freight transport service, without changing locomotive at the frontier. This traffic has been carried out jointly by Comsa Rail Transport and the Portuguese company Takargo Rail.

The train left Espartal Station (Zaragoza) and is due to arrive at Alverca Station (Lisbon) today afternoon. Its load capacity has been established in 1,150 tons and its traction is carried out by a Euro 4000 locomotive, equipped with Asfa and Portuguese-Convel, manufactured by Vossloh and owned by Comsa Rail Transport.

This Spanish-Portugese railway traffic runs under one international train number of origin and destination. It is scheduled to cover the 1,191 kilometer train path on the Zaragoza-Guadalajara-Medina del Campo-Salamanca-Fuentes de Oñoro-Portuguese Frontier-Lisbon route, twice a week.

With this railway service, the first interoperable freight traffic between both countries is made possible since the liberalization of the sector, increasing international railway transport competitiveness.

This path, planned by Adif and Refer, connects Zaragoza and Lisbon in order to meet the joint demand of Comsa Rail Transport and Takargo Rail, railway companies that have an alliance to cover freight transport between Spain and Portugal.

Furthermore, Adif is working on the opening into service of a path between Madrid Abroñigal and Lisbon Port that will enable to extend the scope of this project.

Up to now, direct freight traffic between Spain and Portugal was not possible in spite of having the same gauge. From this project on, the first traffic with standardized locomotive in both countries will be in service. Railway Interoperability seeks benefits in infrastructure, rolling stock and the operating rules that enable the continuous rail traffic at the borders between countries in the European network.