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The endless war of the Toledo station that postpones the AVE to Extremadura

Date: June 10, 2023 Time: 14:36:39

For the high-speed train to reach Extremadura, it must inevitably pass through Castilla-La Mancha. And to this day it is not clear that it can do so if it is not possible to overcome an obstacle more difficult to overcome than the Tagus River itself: political confrontation. The Ministry of Transport and the Toledo City Council are in an important dispute over where the new station in the imperial city is located, which, a priori, will form part of the high-speed line to the Portuguese border.

Because the fact that the AVE from Extremadura passes through Toledo is not a project that accumulates years of previous studies, quite the contrary. The first project, from 2008, contemplated segregating the tracks from the current high-speed line in Andalusia at the height of Pantoja (Toledo) and tracing its route directly to Talavera de la Reina. On the other hand, it has been arriving in the Castilian-La Mancha capital since 2015 via another branch located a few kilometers further south than the one mentioned, in the La Sagra region.

But the Government allowed the Informative Study that was carried out for that first project and that validated that trace to expire, and changed a new one to try to take advantage of the line that today reaches Toledo. The idea was to save a few kilometers, fill the trains more, connect the two large cities of the province and make the line more attractive to the competition, taking advantage of the tourist potential offered by both regions.

Toledo refused to allow the AVE to cross the Tagus via a viaduct

In his study, Transportes thought that taking the train from Pantoja was the worst alternative, and once they reached Toledo, he would cross the Tagus with a viaduct. The city council did not like this idea, which, after rejecting the four proposed alternatives, suggested a new layout that surrounds the city to the north and involves moving the current (and historic) station to the Santa María de Benquerencia industrial estate, located 6 kilometers from the center.

The demand from the local government did not stop there, but also proposed to install a new freight terminal next to the new station. Merchants do not reach the city precisely because the conventional line was converted into a high-speed line, so it would be necessary to connect it or build a new route that connects with the old line. This still survives cut another five kilometers, in Algodor.

The mayoress of Toledo, Milagros Tolón, assured last year that her planes were going through having two stations: the current one for the AVE to Madrid and a new one, further away, for Extremadura and Lisbon. The Government agreed to the complaints and has recently acknowledged that they are drafting a complementary informative study with new options.

Toledo. In any case, it is taken for granted that the deadlines will be extended again by at least another two years, since any informative study requires going through the public information process again.

Electrify the old line until an agreement is reached

After the high-performance line between Badajoz and Plasencia was inaugurated in July 2022, a route that conforms to the first completed phase of the high-speed line, the next pending milestone is the electrification of this line. Raquel Sánchez happen because the catenaries of the recently opened section are activated before June of this year.

But given that the new layout of the high-speed line is delayed sine die, the Ministry has chosen to electrify the conventional line between Madrid and Plasencia. To this day, the trains -which in this section circulate at a maximum of 150 kilometers per hour- continue to use diesel fuel. Specifically, the section to be electrified starts from the Humanes station in Madrid -as far as the Madrid suburbs arrive- and passes through Navalmoral de la Mata (Cáceres), where the installation of a large battery factory of the Chinese company Envision is planned. .

3,700 million to halve the journey

As of today, the State has invested 1,700 million euros of the 3,700 projected for the Extremadura LAV, which is reflected in the reduction in journey times between Badajoz and Madrid. Once the line is built, it will go from the 5 hours and 28 minutes it took in 2016 to around 2 hours and 15 minutes, provided high-speed trains are used. Today, the fastest journey takes 4 hours and 17 minutes, a decrease that has already increased travelers by 20%.

The challenge does not remain in Badajoz, since the plans of the different Spanish governments have always included connecting this line with Portugal to reach its capital, Lisbon. Up to there it has been three years since a train of Spanish origin has arrived. The last to do so was the train hotel Lusitania, whose disappearance has left the airlines free to expand their market.

The Portuguese have always prioritized the Atlantic axis to connect Lisbon with Porto and Vigo, and thus structure their country instead of looking towards the capital of Spain. The sample is in the decade of delay accumulated by the connection between Lisbon and the Portuguese border, where only the 80-kilometre section between Évora and Elvas has been built and will be launched this year. Therefore, there are many years left before we see a fast and competitive train between the two Iberian capitals.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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