Construction of El Sinaloense Tunnel

El Sinaloense Tunnel

"El Sinaloense" tunnel is located in the state of Sinaloa and is the most important due to its size and the complexity of the Durango Mazatlán highway; it is the second longest in the country stretching 2,794 metres.

This type of tunnel has an equipment level similar to that used in Europe, which kick-started a new generation of tunnels with equipment such as:

  • Lighting system.
  • Communication system (emergency telephone, megaphones, CCT cameras).
  • Ventilation system (reversible fans, gas detectors, temperature sensor cable).
  • Fire-protection system (hydrants, extinguishers, pumping systems).
  • Signalling system (electronic board, traffic lights, emergency exit, reflective road studs).
  • Fibre optic systems control.

"El Sinaloense" covers: 1.16% of section III total and 44.16% of tunnel length.



Guadarrama Tunnel

The Guadarrama Tunnel forms part of the Madrid-Segovia-Valladolid high-speed railway line, crossing the Central System and thus facilitating communication between the Meseta and the north of the peninsula, by means of a double 28.2 kilometre long, 8.50 metre diameter tunnel that was excavated from both ends This is a new north-south railway connection that will facilitate communication between the Meseta and the north of the peninsula, crossing the Guadarrama mountain chain.

The project consists of the construction of batches 3 and 4 of this tunnel via the execution of two parallel tunnels from the two north mouths on the route, with lengths of 13.3 kilometres for batch 3 and 15.8 kilometres for batch 4. 

Execution is via an 8.50 metre inside diameter, double-shield TBM that allows simultaneous excavation stages and the installation of the final lining of 32-cm thick prefabricated reinforced-concrete voussoirs. The total excavated diameter is 9.46 metres on the east side and 9.50 metres on the west side.

A total of 58 connection galleries are constructed between the tunnels every 250 metres of excavation, using mechanical means, together with seven transformer substations every 2,250 metres. 

The tunnel is designed for an operational speed of 350 kph considering aerodynamic and comfort criteria. 

The contract includes the installation of ballastless single track and the ventilation, lighting, telephony, signalling, public address, fire detection and extinction and electrification systems, together with all safety measures during operation.

Special mention must be made of voussoir manufacture at the worksite with two joint installations, including concrete plant, mould room with vibratory benches, steam curing tunnel and high-capacity outside storage.


Remarkable aspects

  • Key works for the new railway access to the north and northeast of Spain.
  • The fourth longest railway tunnel in Europe and the fifth in the world.
  • The extracted rubble is transported to an old quarry, thus reducing the environmental impact.

Client: Ministry of Development

Start date: February 2002

End date: July 2008


High-speed line Atocha-Chamartín Tunnel

High-speed line Atocha-Chamartín Tunnel

The works consist of the execution of the platform and a railway tunnel to connect the Atocha and Chamartín stations, both of which are in Madrid and for exclusive High-Speed AVE train transit.

The tunnel allows the coordination of the railway connection with destination or origin in the southern and eastern half of Spain with the lines in the north.

This section of the new route was constructed with double international width track and is 7.3 kilometres long, of which 6.9 kilometres are underground, which facilitates its urban integration as it crosses densely urbanised areas. It passes over Madrid Metro Line 9, under another eight Metro lines and under the Iberian width Atocha-Recoletos-Chamartín and Atocha-Sol-Chamartín tunnels that are used by local service and long-distance trains, at an average depth of 45 metres.

Most of the tunnel was excavated with a TBM, except one 110-metre section near Chamartín Station, which was executed on the surface. The tunnel was lined with 1.8 x 0.36 voussoirs that were assembled by the TBM and it also has eight emergency exits.

It also includes the remodelling of the marshalling yard at the south head of Chamartín Station in order to enable the arrival of the high-speed here through the tunnel that will connect with the future expansion of Puerta de Atocha Station.

This railway connection between Atocha and Chamartín stations forms an essential infrastructure for the development of a vertebral network of international width in Spain.


Remarkable aspects

  • A tunnel that allows the coordination of the railway connection between the southern and eastern half of Spain and the north.
  • It increases safety, with the adoption of cutting-edge technologies in automatic train driving systems.
  • 6.9 kilometres run underground, which facilitates its urban integration.

Client: ADIF. Ministry of Development

Start date: January 2009

End date: December 2011


High-speed Line, Madrid - Levante

High-speed Line, Madrid - Levante

Drilling of the first tube for the Siete Aguas-Bunyol section

The La Cabrera Tunnel is located on the railway access section of the Madrid - Cuenca - Valencia, Siete Aguas - Buñol High-speed Line. It joins the Utiel - Requena Plain and the Hoya de Buñol, crossing a significant difference in level and one of the major obstacles along the line on its arrival at Valencia, the Sierra de La Cabrera. The route has been designed for a project speed of 350 kilometres per hour.

The 11.2 kilometres of the section cross mountainous terrain with numerous ravines that strongly conditions the route and makes two viaducts and three tunnels necessary. The project is designed for a double, international width railway line and a maximum project speed of 350 kilometres per hour.

Two viaducts are executed. The Hondo de Massegar Viaduct is 224 metres long, has six spans of 32 + 4 x 40 + 32 metres, and made up of a 14-metre wide, 2.70 metre edge depth post-stressed deck and the Rambla del Gallo Viaduct, 50 metres long, with two 25-metre spans, consisting of a post-stressed concrete deck, 18 metres upper width and 10.90 metres lower width, two 2.95-metre cantilevers with a constant two-metre edge depth, supported on a 10.9-metre high central pier. 

Main tunnel characteristics are:

The Buñol Tunnel It consists of two sections differentiated by their construction methods. The conventional method was employed in the construction of the 1,916-metre long gallery sections. The cut and cover method was used for the final section of the route consisting of the entrance and exit mouths, with lengths of 14 and 453 metres. 

The 424-metre long Siete Aguas cut and cover tunnel.

The La Cabrera Tunnel, 7,250 metres long, is the longest along the Madrid- Valencia - Murcia High-speed line. It consists of a tunnel made up of two circular tubes, with a 9.85-metre excavation diameter. Various execution methods were employed: the New Austrian Method on the Madrid side and a TBM on the Valencia side according to the geological characteristics and external conditioning factors. The Herrenknecht AG S-373 UNAX double-shield TBM was employed in the excavation and this greatly facilitated correct works development.


Remarkable aspects

  • Very mountainous orography with abundant ravines.
  • La Cabrera Tunnel. Seven times daily advance world record in excavated metres, with a maximum of 92.8 metres and 58 installed rings.
  • Numerous measures were adopted to cause the least possible environmental impact.
  • Reuse of the material extracted from the tunnels at own plants to produce concrete and voussoirs.

Client: Ministry of Development

Start date: December 2005

End date: July 2010


Pajares Tunnel

The Pajares Tunnel forms part of the project for the new León - Asturias high-speed line. These tunnels make up the most technically complex operation on the High-Speed line, which forms the connection between Madrid and the principal cities in Castilla y León and those of Asturias. Its construction is intended to cross the Puerto de Pajares massif and it reduces the current journey distance by rail between the two slopes of the massif by 34 kilometres 

FCC was the successful bidder for Batch 1, which consists of the works required to establish the international width double-track platform for a speed equal to or greater than 300 kilometres per hour, together with the replacement of affected rights of way and services, environmental integration and complementary works.

The main part of the project is the execution of the tunnels between La Pola de Gordón and Pedanía de Folledo from the southern mouth, with a 10,192-metre long right track and 11,369-metre long left track. The finished circular tunnel section is 8.50 metres in diameter.  

The two double telescopic-shield TBMs start at the southern mouth and execute two substantially parallel galleries, separated by some fifty metres, with simultaneous tunnel lining with prefabricated reinforced concrete voussoirs, with characteristic strengths of 40, 50 and 60 MPa, 50-cm thickness and concretes of characteristic strength 

In order to ensure compliance with the established deadlines, a two-kilometre long access gallery to the section is being executed using conventional methods that commences at Folledo (León) and, with a 13% slope, it meets up with the main tubes at their kilometre point 7.7. Execution of this gallery commenced a little after the works were initiated so that, while the TBMs were being manufactured, it was advancing towards the meeting point with the main tubes. A cavern was executed at the gallery meeting point with the main tubes to make it possible to dismantle the two TBMs that would reach this point from the southern mouth at La Pola de Gordón.

The remaining 2.5 kilometres are being excavated and supported using the new Austrian method, with pumped concrete lining, from an intermediate point that is accessed by the Folledo inclined gallery.


Remarkable aspects

  • Improvement of communications between north and central Spain.
  • Very complex works because it runs underneath a gas pipeline and because of water pockets.
  • Despite the orographic difficulties, the mean performance was sixteen metres per day in each tunnel.

Client: Ministry of Development

Start date: April 2004

End date: March 2011