Madrid - Barcelona - French Border line

Lleida - Camp de Tarragona section

Entry in service

18 December 2006

The entry in service of this section enables direct traffic between Madrid and Tarragona.

Lleida and Tarragona have been the first two Catalan cities linked by high speed.

Thus, the new trip time between Madrid and Tarragona became slightly less than three hours, which is an approximate reduction of 1 hour 15 minutes compared to previously.

The Madrid-Barcelona-French Border high speed line, in this phase, has 572 kilometres in operation, including by-passes and complementary tracks, from a total of 804 kilometres which will complete it until Figueres

The Roda de Barà gauge changer and the new Camp de Tarragona station become a connection junction of two high performance lines: Madrid-Barcelona-French border and the Mediterranean Corridor

  • Characteristics of the section
  • Infrastructure
  • Superstructure
  • Singular infrastructures
  • The Roda de Barà gauge changer


 Section length: 82.5 kilometres located between the gauge changers of Roda de Barà and Puigverd. 91 km from the Lleida-Pirineus station to Roda de Barà

This section shares the entirety of the Madrid - Barcelona - French Border line, (804 kilometres to Figueres), the strictest parameters defined Europe-wide.



 It has a total of 20 bridges and viaducts which add up to a length of 6,178 metres, among which that of Vinaixa, with 1,044 metres, stands out. Of its seven tunnels, with a total length is 8,040 metres, Lilla, which is over two kilometres, and that of La Riba, which has a length of 1,971 metres, are noteworthy.


View of one of the viaducts

 To execute it, it has been necessary to build 42 underpasses and 37 overpasses. There are also two two-way working posts in Les Borges Blanques and Alcocer, and a siding located in L'Espluga de Francolí.

A future switch point towards the Mediterranean corridor will allow trains to travel directly from Lleida to Valencia. Those performing the route from Barcelona to Valencia will diverge in Camp de Tarragona station



  • 60 kg/m UIC type rail.
  • Concrete sleepers, type AI-99.
  • Track apparatus (diversion, single cross-overs, expansion apparatuses, etc.).


  • 2x25 kV, 50 Hz overhead power cables.
  • Electrical substations in L'Espluga de Francolí and La Gornal.
  • Autotransformation centres located every 10-15 km.

Safety and communication systems:

  • ERTMS and ASFA.
  • Electronic interlocking in Les Borges Blanques, L'Espluga de Francolí, Alcover, Perafort and La Pobla de Montornès.
  • Fixed telecommunications.
  • GSM-R mobile telecommunications.
  • Energy remote control.
  • Detection and security: falling objects, hot boxes, fire, meteorological, etc.
  • Integration of all systems in the Zaragoza regulation and control centre.


Vinaixa viaduct

  It has a length of 1,044 metres and 22 spans. Its main singularity lies in the construction of two 41x24 metre arc supports which permit the passage of the Iberian gauge railway line.


Montblanc tunnels

MontBlanc tunnels

The tunnels of Camp Magre, Lilla and Puig Cabrer are located in the towns of Montblanc and La Riba (Tarragona), in a section 3,046 metres long.

Having detecting alterations due to composition of the land, a reinforcement process was carried out after consulting geotechnics experts, by constructing circular inverted arches and vault cladding
The budget for these works to increase section safety was 70.6 million Euros

Santa Oliva viaduct

Located in the municipal district of the same name, it has a length of 1,063 m and 31 spans of between 29 and 40 m. It is the longest viaduct of the section and overcomes various roads and Riera de La Bisbal.


It is an installation which facilitates transition between the international track gauge (1,435 mm) and the Iberian track gauge (1,668 mm), which enables giving continuity to the trains equipped with variable gauge systems. 

The Roda de Barà gauge changer and the new Camp de Tarragona station become a connection junction of two high performance lines: The Madrid -Barcelona - French border high speed line and the Mediterranean Corridor.



Roda Bará changer

It allows giving continuity to trains equipped with variable gauge systems from and to Barcelona. It is adapted to equally enable gauge change of trains with Talgo technology and S-120 trains, equipped with Brava shafts.