Spain allocates 468 millions for the Algeciras-Zaragoza rolling highway 21/03/24

< Back to list


Author: Marco Raimondi



Spain allocates 468 millions for the Algeciras-Zaragoza rolling highway


Spain is allocating 468 million euros to carry out necessary upgrades along the future rolling highway between Spain’s largest port in Algeciras and Zaragoza. In total, 43 tunnels and 131 overpasses will be expanded to accommodate combined transport traffic and the tracks will be extended in 13 stations to handle longer freight trains.


The first two contracts concerning the initiative put out by Spanish infrastructure manager Adif amount to 110 million euros, which will be used to adapt 26 tunnels and 40 overpasses between Zaragoza and Madrid. The actions include expanding the tunnels, lowering platforms, replacing sleepers, rails and ballast as well as electrification and drainage works, Adif specified.

The rest of the funds will be deployed for the upgrade of the route between Madrid and Algeciras. Other than the 13 stations and the remaining overpasses and tunnels, the plan includes the renovation of the tracks on the Almargen slope, a rail section near Malaga often subject to landslide. Moreover, the money will also be used to finance the implementation of the Banalised Automatic Blocking, a system that guarantees the distance between trains through signals.


The Algeciras-Zaragoza rolling highway

The project for implementing an Iberian gauge rolling highway between the port of Algeciras and the Zaragoza Plaza Terminal was launched in 2022. Back then, Adif launched a feasibility study to assess the state of overpasses and tunnels along the railway. However, the opening of the Algeciras-Zaragoza, rolling highway was indefinitely postponed around the end of November last year. The main causes behind this are the lack of available rolling stock and pending works to adapt the infrastructure.

Adif expects that, by 2025, 1,600 trucks will reach Algeciras from Morocco every day. Once the rolling highway to Zaragoza will be activated, 360 of them (22.5 per cent) shall travel to Zaragoza by rail with three daily trips per direction. The plan is to turn Zaragoza into a rail freight hub that can receive volumes from various ports in southern Spain. Other than the connections to Algeciras, Zaragoza will also be connected to the port of Huelva with one daily roundtrip and to the port of Seville with four trains per day, as Adif specified.


Paso superior Horna. Image: © Adif

Rolling highways in Spain

According to Adif, Spain is working on implementing rolling highway services along seven itineraries:

  • Algeciras-Madrid-Zaragoza
  • Huelva-Madrid-Zaragoza
  • Seville-Madrid-Zaragoza
  • Madrid-Valencia
  • Valencia-Badajoz-Lisbon
  • Madrid-Badajoz-Oporto-Lisbon
  • Azuqueca-Zaragoza-Tarragona

Moreover, the Spanish IM is considering six more routes:

  • Tarragona-Barcelona
  • Madrid-Valladolid-Burgos-Vitoria
  • Murcia-Madrid
  • Cádiz-Madrid
  • Tamarite de Litera-Irún/Portbou
  • Zaragoza-Pamplona (Noain)-Vitoria (Júndiz)

Finally, Adif’s plan also entails the extension of the rolling highway between Algeciras and Zaragoza to Tarragona. For this, the Spanish IM plans to invest 60 million euros to adapt six tunnels and 16 overpasses. The tenders for this project should be put out in the next few months.