High-Speed Lines

Madrid-Galicia line


A way of making Europe.

Financing for 2007-2013:

  • It will be co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the 2007-2013 Galicia Operational Programme, with estimated funding of 201.2 million Euros.

(Information at 31 December 2012)


Single track tunnel on the conventional network for access to Galicia

The routing of Galician railways has always been influenced by the rugged relief that has hindered railway communications with the centre of Spain. In fact, the first direct line between Madrid and Galicia, via Zamora and Ourense, was not created until 1958.

The Madrid – Galicia high-speed line, located in the North/Northwest Corridor, currently being built by the Ministry of Public Works through Adif, will put Galicia on the Spanish high-speed map.

Two new historical events will take place for the railway in Galicia. The first one was at the end of 2011, when the section between Ourense, Santiago and A Coruña, under construction since 2004, entered into service. The second will take place when the connection with the centre of Spain is to become effective.

On 10 December 2011, after completion of all infrastructure works between Ourense and Santiago and of works for the electrification and comprehensive improvement of the line between Santiago and A Coruña, the 150 km-long Ourense-Santiago-A Coruña line went into service. 3,300 million Euros have been invested in its construction.

This new connection is a clear commitment to the railroad as a means of transport that promotes social cohesion and stimulates the economy.


Construction of Ulla River viaduct alongside Iberian gauge viaduct

The new railway connection will permit significant improvements in speed, reliability, comfort and journey times.

The new line is built with double electrified track, with high-speed parameters, and is designed for maximum speeds of 350 km/h. The arrival of high-speed also involves works to adapt and modernise facilities in stations on the route, as well as city planning improvements.

This new infrastructure, along with the Atlantic Corridor between A Coruña and Vigo, will revolutionise the conditions and times of rail travel for people in Galicia.

The journey time between Ourense and A Coruña is reduced by 1 hour and 7 minutes, from 2 hours and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 8 minutes. Between Ourense and Santiago, the journey time is reduced by almost an hour, from 1 hour and 34 minutes to just 38 minutes. Finally, the journey time between A Coruña and Santiago is reduced from 35 to 28 minutes. Journey times between Madrid and Galicia are reduced by about an hour. When Alvia Hybrid trains come into service, in the second quarter of 2012, a further 30 minutes will be cut from the journey time on this route.

Journey times will improve progressively until, towards the end of 2015, travelling between Santiago and Madrid will take around 3 hours.


Map of the Madrid-Galicia line from Medina del Campo

The new access to Galicia starts at the junction of the Madrid-Valladolid Line in Olmedo and ends in Santiago de Compostela, where it links with the Galician Atlantic Rail Corridor. It is a new 434.86 km long route, to be installed with ERTMS and ASFA signalling. The line is designed to handle a maximum speed of 350 km/h.

Olmedo – Zamora section. 106.9 km

The first section starts at the Madrid-Valladolid High-Speed Line in Olmedo (Valladolid Province), running parallel to the Adif test section until it reaches Medina del Campo, where a new railway station is to be built in the south of the town. The connection with the future Medina del Campo – Salamanca line will be made here.

From Medina it continues through the south of the provinces of Valladolid and Zamora to the city of Zamora. This is a new route. It runs for the most part separately from the conventional line through flat terrain that does not require major engineering works: in all, 26 viaducts have been planned. In the access to Zamora, once the Duero River has been crossed, the new line runs along the existing corridor to the station, which will conserve its 1902 building.

View of the Duero River passing through Zamora

Zamora - Lubián section. 139.1 km

The following section of Zamora – Lubián is the longest on the line. It runs from the centre to the far northwest corner of the province of Zamora on a route that is to the east and independent of the conventional Zamora-A Coruña line. After crossing the Ricobayo reservoir, it runs through plains by the Culebra Mountains. The terrain becomes abrupt again around Puebla de Sanabria. Here, since the route runs at mid-slope of the hillsides, small tunnels will have to be built up to the Portilla Padornelo pass, which leads to the Lubián Valley bordering with Galicia.

Lubián – Ourense section. 101.7 km

This section is where the line enters Galicia. It cuts across the province of Ourense, from the boundary with Zamora in the southeast, on a route that passes through the town of A Gudiña and runs to the north of the A-52 motorway to the provincial capital.

In orographic and geotechnical terms, it is the most complex section of the entire line. For this reason, instead of double track for the whole section, it was initially planned to use the current single-track Padornelo tunnel. Subsequently, the Ministry of Public Works amended the initial projects with the building of a new Padornelo tunnel, which runs on the right towards Galicia, leaving the current tunnel for the other track.

The difficult terrain in the area, and the requirement to comply with high-speed parameters, forces much of the route to run in tunnels to the final destination of the Ourense-Empalme station. This station will be required to serve as a strategic high-speed junction, since it will be the starting and finishing point not only of the section to Santiago, but also of the sections to Lugo and to Pontevedra and Vigo, which are two essential elements for extending high-speed services in Galicia.

Ourense-Santiago section. 87.1 km

The fourth section  was the first to be put into service, on 10 December 2011. The track-bed construction work was begun in 2004 under Adif’s management, passes through the provinces of Ourense, Pontevedra and La Coruña, running northwest along the A-53 motorway corridor, to link up with the Atlantic Corridor near Santiago de Compostela.

Together with the previous section, it is the most complicated part of the whole route. In order to cross the area’s difficult terrain and to reduce environmental impact, it has been necessary to build a total of 38 viaducts and 31 tunnels, representing over 57% of the total length of the section.

It shortens the current distance of the conventional line between Santiago and Ourense by 38.9 km.

A very important aspect of this section is respect for the environmentally valuable areas through which it passes. Measures have been adopted to protect and recover heritage, in some areas accounting for over 33% of the budget for works.

Rego das Lamas Viaduct

Santiago- A Coruña Section, 65.1 km

This section belongs to the Atlantic Corridor, which runs 238 km from north to south on the Atlantic coast, between Ferrol and Portugal.

The previously existing line has been subject to comprehensive improvements, with the doubling of tracks, new routing of sections of line and electrification of the route between the two cities. 37.4% of the section is made up of special structures, specifically 17 tunnels (20.2 km) and 10 viaducts (2.8 km).

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