Page 8 - Vía Libre Special - 25 Years of Spanish High Speed Rail
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              years of Spanish high speed rail

               from any existing line in Spain and in line with the
               trend seen in other countries with more advanced
               railway networks, such as Japan, France and
                     It also meant building the entire
               infrastructure all the way from Madrid to Seville,
               and not just the middle section, together with
               the  introduction  of  new,  much  more  ambitious
               design parameters, capable of allowing speeds
               of up to 270 km/h. Entry into operation was set
               to coincide with the inauguration of the Seville
               Expo, scheduled for April 1992, just four years

                    The project of the century

                     overall, the construction of the Madrid-
               Seville high speed line was the greatest railway
               engineering project ever undertaken in Spain, and
               the most important public work in the 20th century.
               New building procedures and control systems          Inside of the cab of an AVE train running on the
               never  before  seen  in  Spain  were  implemented,     Madrid-Seville high speed line (in the 1990s).
               including environmental protection measures in
               the areas of high ecological value through which
               the line passes.                                       Trains
                     The overall investment required for the
               project amounted to 350,000 million pesetas of         To operate the line a number of Series 100
               the time (2,100 million euros), including not only   high speed trains were ordered from GEC-Alsthom
               the work per se, but also the associated costs    (now Alstom). The first train arrived in Spain in
               of expropriations,  studies, designs and technical   November 1991 after an intensive trial period in the
               support, and environmental impact remediation     French factory at Belfort, while another train was
               measures. The unit cost of the line was less than   tested on the LGV Sud Europe Atlantique line.
               740 million pesetas per kilometre (4.5 million euros).  Since its arrival the AVE train has become
                                                                 a symbol of Spanish high speed. The line was the
                    A few figures                                first in the world to incorporate the two most
                                                                 advanced European railway technologies of the
                     The line is characterized by having a first   day; French technology for the train and German
               part, Madrid-Brazatortas, where the terrain is    expertise for signalling and electrification.
               very favourable, a second part, crossing the Sierra    The trains that began running on the
               Morena mountain range and the subsequent          Madrid-Seville line, and which continue to run
               descent into the Guadalquivir valley, of a much   both on that line and others belonging to Spain’s
               more rugged nature, and a third part, running     high speed network, were capable of reaching a
               parallel to the river between Cordoba and Seville,   maximum speed of 300 km/h. They delivered 8,800
               in which the terrain is once again favourable.    kW of power and could run off both alternating
                     In total the 471 kilometres of the line     current at 25,000 volts (needed to reach high
               required the excavation of nearly 38 million cubic   speeds) and direct current at 3,000 volts (to
               metres of earth and the construction of over 35   enter the stations of Madrid and Seville, which
               million cubic metres of embankment. In addition   initially retained the electrification system used
               it was necessary to build 31 viaducts with a total   by  the  Spanish  conventional  network  to  avoid
               length of 9,845 metres, four flying junctions, and 17   electromagnetic interferences).
               tunnels totalling 15,819 metres in length.             Traction was provided by three-phase
                     Laying the track required the use of 2.84   synchronous motors driving four motor bogies,
               million cubic metres of ballast, 1.6 million sleepers,   each with two 1,100 kW motors. Braking was by
               and 113,010 metric tons rail, supplied in 288 metre   discs  with  an anti-locking system and  the  trains
               lengths.                                          were fitted with pneumatic suspension.

               8  Vía Libre • Special 25th Anniversary of the AVE Edition
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