Technical Areas

Infrastructure

The railway infrastructure is the base that supports what is known as the “rail road”. It is the base for both the tracks and the signaling, electrification and telecommunications installations that make possible the circulation of trains both on the high service lines and the conventional network.

Currently, the railway network is made up of 17,694 km. of track, 1,274 tunnels with a total length of 667 km. and 6,618 bridges of 158 km., as well as a large number of cuttings and embankments, due to the complicated Spanish topography.

Infrastructure maintenance includes the inspection of 250 bridges and 25 to 30 annual load tests. By means of these tests we can determine the actions needed, from the application of paint and small repairs to replacements of elements whose load capacity is weakened, in order to ensure appropriate levels of quality, safety and reliability.

The experience and technology developed with contributions from our Geotechnical area and its Geological Infrastructure Risk Studies (ERGI in Spanish) allow us to qualify and quantify the infrastructure’s geologic risk for its further detailed study. Thus, in case of necessity, we can execute corrective projects to resolve the anomalies detected.

Action is taken on 30 or 35 tunnels annually, repairing areas that need it. Artificial tunnels are built to protect the infrastructure from the aggressive environment and thus ensure the safety of train circulation.

Maintenance of the embankments and cuttings along the railway route is fundamental since, depending on the area, there may be shifts in the earth, landslides, etc. that could cause interruptions in train traffic if they are not appropriately contained, drained and reforested. In some cases this maintenance requires the repositioning of embankments.