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Atlantic Corridor: More capacity, higher performance, better information

Posted: 31 January 2017 | Eduardo Borges Pires, Director of Infraestruturas de Portugal’s Mobility and Clients Department | No comments yet

The aim of Regulation (EU) No. 913/2010 of 22 September 2010 is to improve the efficiency of rail freight transportation relative to other modes of transport through the creation of nine European rail freight corridors. Here Eduardo Borges Pires, Director of Infraestruturas de Portugal’s Mobility and Clients Department, provides an overview of the current status of the Atlantic Corridor that connects Portugal, Spain, France and Germany.

More capacity, higher performance, better information

With regard to the Atlantic coast, the European Commission has selected the ‘Atlantic’ Rail Freight Corridor (formerly named Rail Freight Corridor No. 4) connecting Portugal, Spain, France and Germany at the following points: Sines-Lisbon/Leixões, Sines-Elvas/Algeciras, Madrid-Medina del Campo / Bilbao / Zaragoza / San Sebastian – Irun/Hendaye – Bordeaux – La Rochelle / Nantes St Nazaire – Paris / Le Havre / Metz – Strasbourg / Mannheim, which will constitute the hubs of the corridor.

With a total of approximately 6,200km of existing lines, it includes mixed characteristics of rail infrastructure, including the following:

  • Standard 1,435mm gauge track in France and Germany and Iberian 1,668mm gauge tracks in Spain and Portugal
  • Double-track routes between Le Havre, Mannheim, Strasbourg, Metz, Paris and the south of Madrid (Santa Cruz de Mudela), the connection to Zaragoza and between Lisbon and Oporto
  • Single-track routes between the south of Madrid (Santa Cruz de Mudela) and Algeciras on the two branches connecting Spain to Portugal (Medina del Campo-Pampilhosa and Manzanares-Entroncamento)
  • Electrified routes by tri-tension (25000V~, 3000VCC, 1500VCC) between Le Havre, Metz, La Rochelle, Paris, Strasbourg Port du Rhin and the south of Cordoba (Bobadilla), 15000V~ from the French border to Mannheim and in Portugal between Sines, Lisbon, Leixões, Abrantes and Vilar Formoso (25000V~)
  • Partially electrified routes (25000V~) on the two branches connecting Spain to Portugal (Medina del Campo-Pampilhosa and Manzanares-Entroncamento)
  • Non electrified routes between the south of Cordoba (Antequera) and the port of Algeciras
  • Different signalling systems between Germany, France, Spain and Portugal
  • Very variable maximum gross load charges according to geographical areas connected to the topography of the existing network, with a load of 22.5 tonnes by axle on the totality of the route.

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