Adif has already begun the electrification work of the Portuguese Plasencia-Badajoz-Frontera section of the high speed connection Madrid-Estremadura, which is a milestone, because it is the first railway section electrified in this autonomous community. These actions began in the Plasencia-Bifurcation Peñas Blancas section (about 15 kilometers north of Mérida) with the work of raising poles for the catenary in the surroundings of Carmonita (Badajoz), between Mérida and Cáceres, according to sources of the railway manager.
The works, which were awarded for an amount of 30.1 million euros, contemplate the execution of the construction project for the installation of the catenary along the 125 kilometers of said route. In this sense, approximately 4,000 catenary posts will be hoisted between Plasencia and the Peñas Blancas fork, both in the platform area without a still mounted track, and in the area that already has an installed track.
In addition, as regards the lines of the conventional network that complement the high-speed network, the Monfragüe-Plasencia line (between the Plasencia link and the Plasencia station), Madrid-Valencia de Alcántara (between the link with the section of the high-speed line and the Cáceres station) and the Aljucén-Cáceres line (link with the high-speed platform of the Cáceres-Aldea del Cano section and the Cáceres station), as well as the southern branch of Cáceres. This project also includes the electrification of Plasencia and Cáceres stations and outposts and parking and train parking in Terzuelo and Aldea del Cano.
The contract of the traction electrical substations and associated autotransformation centers of the Plasencia-Badajoz section, awarded for 22 million euros, is also under execution. On the other hand, Adif has already started the process to be able to tender the section that remains to be electrified, the one between Mérida (Peñas Blancas) and Badajoz, which requires environmental processing.
The works on the Madrid-Extremadura high-speed line, approximately 450 kilometers long, of which around 205 run through the autonomous region of Extremadura, have an estimated cost of execution of 3,448 million euros and have been divided into three differentiated sectors: Madrid – Oropesa (200 kilometers), Talayuela – Plasencia (68.6 kilometers) and Plasencia – Badajoz (164.6 kilometers). The latter will be the first to enter service.
The platform works of the Plasencia-Badajoz section are moving towards completion this year, according to the scheduled deadlines. All the works necessary for the commissioning of the section are executed, with the exception of the southern access section to Cáceres and the connection branches in Plasencia, which are in their final phase.
As for the assembly of the track, which is carried out in Iberian width with multi-purpose sleepers to allow the change of width to international in the future, it is practically completed on the Cáceres-Badajoz route and around 50% between Plasencia and Cáceres. In addition, the duplication works of the Cáceres-Mérida highway and the assembly of the access section to the south of Cáceres will begin. The civil protection and safety installations in the tunnels of the line are also practically completed, as well as the execution of the acoustic protection screens.
Once the construction of the track and control, command and signaling facilities is completed, Adif will initiate the corresponding tests on the infrastructure to request authorization for commissioning to the State Railway Safety Agency (AESF). When this phase of Adif testing is finished, Renfe’s driver training will begin and, after both phases, the AESF will communicate its authorization so that the trains can begin to circulate through the new infrastructure.
The commissioning of the Plasencia-Badajoz route will allow the use of the new platform, which in this first phase of operation will be connected to the current conventional Madrid-Extremadura line at Plasencia. In this way, the trains that travel between Madrid and Extremadura will obtain improvements in travel times as a result of being able to already circulate on a platform designed and built according to the requirements of high speed, in which, so far, they have been invested more than 1,200 million euros, with the total investment planned therein being about 1,400 million.
This route has four stations – Plasencia, Cáceres, Mérida and Badajoz – that will be remodeled to implement the features and services necessary to house high-speed services.
In parallel, Adif continues to make progress in the Oropesa-Talayuela-Plasencia section of the high-speed line, whose conclusion does not affect the commissioning of the Plasencia-Badajoz section. This route already has 19.1 kilometers of platform completed in two of its seven sections (Talayuela-Arroyo from Santa María and Navalmoral de la Mata-Casatejada), in which, in addition, the track assembly has recently been awarded (19.9 kilometers).
For its part, the Oropesa-Madrid section is in the drafting phase of the informative study, a contract that was awarded by the Ministry of Development in February 2018, with an estimated cost of 1,120 million euros.