Full Speed Ahead

LAST UPDATED: 2 Nov, 2009 @ 19:09
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Full Speed Ahead

EXPLORATORY work has begun on a planned tunnel for the AVE fast track railway near Ronda.

The Olive Press can reveal that an engineering company has been undertaking preliminary geological studies north of Ronda.

The company Gondor SL is digging down to 160 metres to investigate the rock formation at two sites in the hills above Arriate.

The moves confirm that it is apparently full speed ahead to bring the network south from Antequera to Algeciras, as the Olive Press revealed earlier this year.

It has also just been announced that the line between Bobadilla and Algeciras is to be shut down for up to six months from the end of October.

An alternative bus service is to be put on to all the towns, including Ronda, Gaucin and Cortes, for the duration.

Renfe has confirmed that the works are not just for crucial maintainance, but according to Europe Press, to prepare the line for high speed trains.

It was announced last year that hundreds of properties bordering the existing railway line from Ronda down into the Genal Valley are to lose land.

“At the moment there seem to be two options, one to build a tunnel from above Setenil coming out south of Arriate and another going up through the Sierra de las Salinas.”

For the last six months, workers have been upgrading the existing line, adding new tracks and electrifying them.

An engineer working at the Puerto del Monte site above Arriate revealed last night: “We have gone down to around 130 metres so far and the geology looks good.

“At the moment there seem to be two options, one to build a tunnel from above Setenil coming out south of Arriate and another going up through the Sierra de las Salinas.”

The company, which has worked on other AVE lines near Barcelona and more recently Zamora, has so far spent a month in the area.

The workers, who are renting a house in Setenil, started in Almargen last month and will then move onto further exploratory work above Cuevas delBecerro.

The Line should be finished by 2014.

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