High-Speed Lines

Vitoria - Bilbao - San Sebastián - French Border Line


A way of making Europe.

During the period 2000-2006 co-financing was provided as follows:

  • By RTE-T (Trans-European Transport Networks), funding of 16 million Euros for studies and projects.

During the period 2007-2013 co-financing will be provided as follows:

  • From TEN-T (Trans-European Transport Network) funds for track-bed works on the Arrazua/Ubarrundia-Elorrio and Astigarraga-Irún section, with funding of 84,1million Euros.
  • By RTE-T (Trans-European Transport Networks) the final construction projects for the Elorrio-Bergara and Bergara-Arrasate/Mondragón subsections, and the design of railway electricity supply equipment for the line, with funding of 2.4 million Euros.

(Informatio at 31 December 2011)

Route map

Main benefits of the line

The new Vitoria – Bilbao-San Sebastián - French Border High Speed Line is included at European level in the Atlantic branch of Priority Project no. 3, providing continuity in Spain to the Madrid - Valladolid - Vitoria - French Border line.  

This line will provide a high-speed link between the three provincial capitals of the Basque Country and will bring the Basque Country closer to the rest of the Spain and France.

As well as interconnecting the three Basque capitals, the new rail infrastructure will connect to Pamplona through the "Navarre Corridor".

When in service, rail journey times between the three Basque capitals will be reduced drastically. Most notably, Vitoria-Bilbao and Vitoria-San Sebastián journey times will be reduced by around 60 percent, and the Bilbao-San Sebastian journey time by 80 percent. 

Construction of viaduct

The new line will be approximately 180.5 km long (not including accesses to the capital cities). It is formed by two branches: Vitoria - Bilbao (90.8 km), and Bergara - San Sebastián – French Border (89.7 km).

Adif is responsible for drafting and implementing the track-bed projects between Vitoria-Gasteiz and Bilbao, and for integration of the railway in both cities. It will also draft and implement the track-bed projects for the sections of the Mondragón - Elorrio - Bergara railway junction.

In April 2006, the Spanish Government, the Basque Government and Adif signed a collaboration agreement whereby the Basque Government undertakes, under the National Budget, to draft the projects and construct the track-bed for the Gipuzkoa branch, from kilometre 9.00 in Bergen to Irún. This includes the section that integrates the railway in the city of San Sebastián.

The section corresponding to Irun, not included in the informative study on the Basque "Y", and that forms part of the international connection, will be undertaken by the Ministry of Public Works.

Adif is also responsible for track installation, electrification, signalling, communications and other facilities on the whole of the line.

Characteristics of the route and works of special interest

It has been designed using the technical parameters for high-speed, double UIC gauge tracks, with minimum curve radius of 3,100 m and maximum gradients of 15 thousandths per metre, for mixed traffic, permitting passenger and freight trains to run.

It will be prepared for trains to run at a top speed of 250 km/h.

In order to overcome major difficulties in crossing mountainous terrain, a great number of special structures have to be built. Viaducts and tunnels represent 60% of the Vitoria-Bilbao section, while in the case of the Gipuzkoa branch (including the Mondragón-Elorrio-Bergara rail junction to be undertaken by Adif) this proportion rises to around 80%.

The average proportion of special structures on the whole line, whether tunnels or viaducts, is 70% of the route.

Some of the most outstanding tunnels are:

  • Albertia Tunnel: 4,786 m (double tube of 2,680 metres),
  • Udalaitz Tunnel: 3,185 m
  • Zarátamo Tunnel: 2,728 m
  • Induspe Tunnel: 2,224 m
  • Galdakao Tunnel: 1,827 m
  • Ganzelai Tunnel (1,365 m)
  • Luko Tunnels (970 metres)

 Some of the most outstanding viaducts are:


  • Viaduct over the A-2620 road: 1,401 m with piers up to 90 m high.
  • San Antonio–Malaespera Viaduct: 837 m
  • Mañaria Viaduct: 616 m
  • Viaduct over the A-3002 and N-1 roads and the Zadorra River: 505 m
  • Viaduct over the GI-3343 road: 471 m
A2620 viaduct



Vitoria – Bilbao Section. Built by Adif

90.8 km
44 Viaducts
23 tunnels

The section built by Adif between Vitoria and Bilbao has 44 viaducts and 23 tunnels. 20% and 40%, respectively, of the length of the whole section runs via these structures.

Among the branch's infrastructures built by Adif, highlights are the Albertia tunnel, which at 4.8 km is the longest in the project, and the viaduct over the A-2620 road, which is 1,400 metres long with piers up to 90 metres high



Mountain landscape

 One of Adif's main concerns is respect for the environment. This is why it allocates 6.7% of the budget for constructing high-speed lines to ensuring environmental integration, making improvements in the environment on a voluntary basis, and ensuring, in this case, compliance with the Environmental Impact Statement in the Informative Study of the "New Basque Country Railway Network Project".

The specific environmental actions designed into the Project are as follows:

  • Restricted vegetation clearance work in the months of April and June on most of the route.
  • Each water course intercepted will have its own cross drainage.
  • Devices against polluting spillage during execution of works.
  • Restoration of occupied areas under viaducts and improved permeability for crossing fauna.
  • Morphological adaptation and revegetation of cross drainage works openings.
  • Anti-noise screens: The project includes an analysis of sensitive points where the noise levels accepted by the Environmental Impact Statement may be exceeded and actual installation of anti-noise screens.
  • Programme of surveys and archaeological monitoring during execution of works.

Information Points and Customer Services Desks (PIAC)

Imagen Piac en la Red

El PIAC en la Red es un espacio de comunicación y atención permanente al ciudadano, que ofrece información sobre la construcción de las nuevas líneas de alta velocidad.

También ofrece atención personalizada a todas aquellas consultas recibidas a través de los correos electrónicos que se facilitan, ya sean relativas a los procesos constructivos en marcha, a la movilidad, u otros aspectos que afectan a la integración ferroviaria en el entorno urbano, con motivo de la construcción de los accesos ferroviarios a las respectivas ciudades.

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