FCC, twenty years with the High-Speed Train

FCC, twenty years with the High-Speed Train

FCC, twenty years with the High-Speed Train, 1992-2012

The Spanish high-speed railway system celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2012. The first high-speed line was put into operation on the 20th of April 1992, which involved the modernisation and a revolution of the railway system that rescued the train in the twenty-first century. The new train arrived with force and provided a fast, comfortable transport mode that was also safe and efficient.

Over these twenty years, FCC has constructed more than 200 kilometres of high speed line in Spain.

Two decades later, according to ADIF data, Spain is the number one European country in kilometres of high-speed line and the second in the world, only behind China, with more than 3,300 kilometres and almost 23 million users. Thus, the AVE (Spanish high-speed railway system) now directly connects 27 cities and 19 provinces, so that four out every ten people haven an AVE station within fifty kilometres.

The AVE train service, which is provided by the state operator, RENFE, is also the leader in speed, since it is the fastest in the world, with an average commercial operating speed of 222 kilometres per hour, higher than that of Japan (218 kmph) and France (216 kmph) and is also set apart by its punctuality of almost 99% and is one of the aspects most valued by its users.

The ultimate goal is that, after the next decade, in 2020, the network will reach 10,000 kilometres and that nine out every ten people haven an AVE station within fifty kilometres.

The first line

The first high-speed line in Spain connected the cities of Madrid and Seville and was one of the greatest challenges in civil works.

FCC Construction contributed to this corridor with four sections. Execution of the Alcodea-Alamuz and Guadajoz-Majarique works commenced in 1987, followed by Ciudad Real-Puertollano and Almodóvar-Lora del Río in 1989.

Other corridors

Because of the success attained by this line, the Ministry of Development decided to launch an ambitious plan to develop a world-leading high-speed railway network. This plan to execute a radial system of high-speed lines that world connect the various Spanish cities together, with Madrid and the centre of this radial map.

As is to be expected, one of the companies responsible for executing sections within this plan is FCC Construcción. The awarded works include some of the most significant ones because of their technical complexity and geological difficulties.

FCC possesses wide experience in the construction of high-speed railway infrastructures, which began in the middle of the 80s with the construction of four sections of the Madrid-Seville and the stations of Puerta de Atocha (Madrid) and Santa Justa (Seville).

It subsequently constructed ten sections of the Madrid-Barcelona line, with a total of over ninety kilometres and the Zaragoza-Delicias station. It has also executed several sections along other lines in service (Córdoba-Málaga, Madrid-Valladolid and Zaragoza-Huesca), together with some of the other significant high-speed lines works, such as the Guadarrama and Pajares Tunnels.

Exporting know-how to other countries

Thanks to its accumulated experience, FCC possesses great ability in the design of railway lines, their execution and during the operational lifetime.

St. Gotthard Tunnel: link to detail


Remarkable aspects

  • 1964: The first high-speed line came into service between Tokyo and Osaka, in Japan.
  • 1981: The first TGV line in France commenced between Paris and Lyon.
  • 1991. The first high-speed lines in Germany.
  • 1992. The first Spanish high-speed line connecting Madrid and Seville.
  • 1994: The railway tunnel under the English Channel was opened.
  • 2008: China has a service covering more than 8,300 kilometres.
  • 2012: Spain is the third country in the world in high-speed kilometres, with over 2,200 kilometres.

Start date: 1992

End date: 2012