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Railway access to Barcelona’s port to be completed by 2018

After more than 10 years of negotiations between the Catalan government and the Spanish Ministry for Transport and many changes on the route, the railway connection to Barcelona’s port will be a reality in two years’ time. The final project will cost €104 million and will be 50% funded by Port de Barcelona and the Spanish Ministry for Transport. The railway connection to Barcelona’s Port has been long-awaited by the Catalan government, as 13% of the containers and 30% of the cars that pass through the port are transported by train. The acceleration of this connection emphasises the need to start the construction of the Mediterranean corridor, one of the government’s main goals in terms of infrastructure, which is set to transport freight and passengers non-stop from Gibraltar to Central Europe.

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30 March 2016 06:29 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- Barcelona’s port will be accessible by train by the end of 2018. After more than 10 years of negotiations between the Catalan government and the Spanish Ministry for Transport and many changes in the route, both bodies have agreed to launch this key infrastructure. Although the final project is the cheapest of the options proposed, the infrastructure will cost €104 million and will be 50% funded by Port de Barcelona and the Spanish Ministry for Transport. The acceleration of this connection will not only relieve road access to the port but also emphasise the need to start the construction of the Mediterranean corridor, one of the government’s main goals in terms of infrastructure, which is set to transport freight and passengers non-stop from Gibraltar to Central Europe.


The Catalan government will finally cede tracks used by the Catalan railway service (FGC) to the Spanish public company in charge of building and maintaining the railway infrastructure, Adif, so that they can adapt them to the appropriate track gauge. However this was not the first proposal, as the Spanish Ministry for Transport aimed to charge the FGC for using these tracks once they had been adapted. A condition which, according to the Catalan Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Josep Rull, “was nonsense”. The final agreement has made the project “much cheaper”, stated Rull.  

“This is great news” stated Rull. “We are accelerating the railway connection to Barcelona’s Port and now it is time to accelerate the terms for road access” he added. “If we are able to do all this and finally activate the Mediterranean Corridor, we will be in perfect condition to ensure our country’s competitiveness, generate jobs and create prosperity”, which according to Rull “are the main goals of this government”

Catalonia’s deficit in terms of infrastructure

The railway connection to Barcelona’s Port, one of the most important in the South of Europe, has been a long-awaited piece of infrastructure, as 13% of the containers and 30% of the cars that pass through the port are transported by train. The negotiations with the Spanish Ministry for Public Transport started in 2002 and have passed through different governments both in Spain and in Catalonia.

The acceleration of this connection will not only relieve road access to the port but also emphasise the need to start the construction of the Mediterranean corridor, one of the government’s main goals in terms of infrastructure. This piece of infrastructure, which is set to transport freight and passengers non-stop from Gibraltar to Central Europe, is essential for the Spanish economy, as well as for the entire European economy. It would connect the Spanish Mediterranean ports, which are a gateway to North Africa and account for 50% of the Spanish population and wealth. It would employ international-width standard tracks to link Central and Northern Europe with Barcelona, Tarragona, Valencia, Alacant, Murcia and Cartagena, where it would terminate.

This railway corridor would transport freight from Lyon, Hamburg and Stockholm to Spain’s Mediterranean ports that trade with North Africa and Asia. The corridor would also include a high-speed train service, which would link tourist and business centres such as Barcelona, the Tarragona coast and Valencia with France’s network and the rest of Europe.

It is not only the Governments of Catalonia, the Valencian Community, the Balearic Islands and Murcia (those Autonomous Communities located on Spain’s Mediterranean coast) that have been lobbying intensively to accelerate its construction, the European Commission is also to include the Mediterranean Railway Corridor among the next European transport priorities. The Spanish Government would be responsible for its construction, which is estimated at 50 billion euros over 10 years. However the EU would pay for 25% of the costs.

According to the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, the Spanish State “is failing to fulfil” its promises regarding the construction of the Mediterranean corridor and “Europe as a whole” will have to “pay the price for it”. Thus, to promote the construction of this long-awaited railway corridor and report the Spanish government’s attitude on this matter, the Catalan government will constitute a strategic board with Autonomic governments, chambers of commerce, trade unions and businesspersons associations.

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  • Train transporting goods in the south of Barcelona (by ACN)