High-Speed Lines

Madrid - Extremadura - Portuguese Border Line


A way of making Europe.

To be co-financed in the period 2007-2013:

  • By the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), through the Operational Programme ERDF Cohesion Fund and Extremadura Operational Programme, track-bed works on the Talayuela – Cáceres – Mérida stretch, with estimated funding of 240.5 and 201.4 million euros respectively.
  • By TEN-T (Trans-European Transport Network) Funds: studies and projects for the Talayuela – Portuguese Border section, as well as track-bed works on the Mérida – Badajoz – Caia stretch, with funding of 62.7 million euros.

(Information valid at 31 December 2012)

Extremadura will have a quality railway in horizon 2015

High-speed track-bed next to the current conventional line

The high-speed track-bed works between Plasencia and Mérida, and the improvements to the conventional line between Madrid and Navalmoral de la Mata, as well as between Aljucén and Mérida, will improve citizens' quality of life significantly when travelling by train through the Autonomous Region of Extremadura.

Journey times will be reduced significantly thanks to the unlocking of the value of the high-speed infrastructure that has already been built and of investments in conventional network.

High-speed sections that are put into service will be connected with the conventional line and diesel trains will run on them at speeds of up to 200 km/h.

Not only passenger traffic will benefit from the new line. Its mixed traffic characteristics will allow freight trains to travel on the same line, making use of excess capacity. Consequently, a more balanced distribution of transport modes will be achieved, which will reduce, above all, the share of road transport.

The high investment effort required contributes to the creation of employment and to economic, technological and regional development.

Description of the line

Map of the Madrid-Extremadura-Portuguese Border high-speed line

Plasencia - Cáceres - Badajoz - Portuguese Border section.

The part of the project to be constructed by Adif starts at the border between the Autonomous Regions of Castile-La Mancha and Extremadura.

From Plasencia, the line heads south towards Cáceres and Mérida, keeping mainly parallel with the A-66 “Plata” motorway and the course of the current Madrid-Valencia de Alcántara railway line.

Aerial view of the viaduct under construction over the Tajo River, in Alcántara reservoir (Cáceres), May 2013

Two of the most important new structures on the whole line are being built before it reaches Cáceres: the viaducts crossing the Tajo and Almonte rivers, at the Alcántara reservoir. The width of the obstacles to be bridged, the impossibility of using piles in the riverbeds and the requirement to respect the environmental impact statement have led to both having a “concrete arch” design, with main spans of 324 and 384 metres, respectively.

The 384 metres without supports of the central span of the viaduct over the Almonte River make it the widest span arched railway bridge in the world. The construction process chosen for erecting both bridges is similar to that used successfully for the Contreras Viaduct, on the Levante line.

Meeting the challenge of constructing this type of viaduct confirms the high level of Spanish infrastructure engineering.

Graphic representation of the Almonte River Viaduct

In order to optimise the corridor’s functionality, the solution in Mérida is to use a direct line to Badajoz and a by-pass around the current station, similar to the design of the Madrid-Zaragoza-Barcelona-French Border high-speed line as it passes the cities of Zaragoza and Barcelona.

The Badajoz-Portuguese Border section awaits the Informative Study prepared by the Spain-Portugal High-Speed - European Economic Interest Group (AVEP-EEIG).

Track-bed of the Cáceres - Badajoz section


Respect for the environment is one the values that defines Adif as a company, standing as one of its central action strategies.

The objectives of the Environmental Policy include maximum respect for protected natural spaces when designing, building and operating the railway infrastructure.

The measures indicated in the Environmental Impact Statement, aimed at maintaining maximum respect for surroundings and the environment, including corrective measures to recover the environment and scenery in areas through which the line passes, and to allow fauna to cross the infrastructure, have been designed from the Project phase. Thus, in the phases prior to drawing up the Projects, Fauna and Flora Studies were made of the whole corridor, to serve as the basis for preparing each Project’s Environmental Integration Appendices. A Complementary Environmental Measures Project is also being drawn up, in response to actions required by the Environmental Impact Statement for a wider geographical scope than a specific section of track-bed.


Line routes are chosen to respect the environment to the maximum, as in the case of the line at km 42, built to save the “Monfragüe y Dehesas Del Entorno ASPB” protected space, part of the Natura 2000 Network. The following Areas of Special Protection for Birds (ASPBs) and LIC Sites of Community Interest have also been respected: Torrijos, Castrejón Reservoir, Rosarito, Navalcán and Valdecañas, as well as the plains of Oropesa, Lagartera y Calera and Chozas. The LIC Sites of Sierra de San Vicente and Barrancas de Talavera have also been protected.

The rate of carrying out works is adapted to bird nesting periods. Work is also done to protect fauna, flora and hydrological systems, and to recover the environment and scenery.

All of these actions are being coordinated with the Government of Extremadura in the framework of the Mixed Commission on Environmental Monitoring and Control of Works and of High-Speed Projects in Extremadura.

Graphic representation of the new side protection screens of the Almonte River Viaduct

The designs for the Tajo and Almonte viaducts have incorporated new bird protection screens as an innovative solution for areas of great importance for fauna. The prototype consists of a barrier made of vertical steel tube sections. This kind of screen reduces the wind load on the structure, compared to other systems, permitting a financial saving in the design of some of its components. It also improves the viaduct’s aesthetics and environmental integration.

Information Point and Customer Service Desk (PIAC) in Mérida

PIAC image on the Network

The PIAC in the Network is a space for communication and permanent service to the citizen that offers information on the construction of new high-speed lines.

It also offers personalised information to all the enquiries received through the e-mail addresses provided, whether they are related to construction processes under way and mobility, or to other aspects that affect railway integration in the urban setting, in connection with the construction of railway accesses in the cities.

More information