On 22 January Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy inaugurated a new section of high-speed railway between Valencia and Castellón on Europe’s Mediterranean Corridor which will extend the high-speed line from Castellón to Madrid. Mr Rajoy was joined by the Minister of Development, Íñigo de la Serna, and the President of the Valencian Government Ximo Puig.
The start of commercial services of the high-speed section between Valencia and Castellón is a fresh boost to the Mediterranean Corridor, improves the system of inter-regional transport between the province of Castellón and Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha and boosts the socio-economic development and corporate competitiveness.
Infrastructure manager Adif has invested €178m in the first phase of the project which will see a total investment of €355m. The work involved installation of 160km of new track, the replacement of more 160,000 sleepers and the installation of 72 switches and crossings, as well as modification to electrification and signalling equipment to upgrade the existing 1668mm-gauge line to dual-gauge to allow standard-gauge high-speed trains to reach Castellón. The work has been co-financed by the European Union’s Connect Europe fund.
Completion of the first phase will allow Renfe to reduce the Madrid-Castellón journey time by 37 minutes to two hours 32 minutes. Renfe will operate four new daily AVE services (two each way) and two inter-city services (one each way) between the two cities in addition to the daily Alvia service from Castellón to Madrid and Gijón.