IN SPAIN, just 5% of goods are moved by freight train, compared to the European average of 20%. But that is set to change from the first quarter of next year, as a rail superhighway between Algeciras and Zaragoza is put into action. 

The public-private project will see a 1,074-kilometre route operating between the city in Cadiz province, which is home to the country’s main port, and the capital of Aragon, which is set to become a national reference point for logistics. 

The infrastructure, according to Spanish daily El Confidencial, will allow for the transport of most of the goods that arrive in the port of Cadiz. 

The plan will see some 48,000 fewer lorries on the Spanish roads, something that is expected to dramatically decrease pollution: the forecast is a reduction of 9,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

The plan is for three services to run daily in each direction. Each train will have capacity for 30 wagons, which will be loaded up with shipping containers. 

The plan has been backed from the start by the central government as well as regional administrations, all of which are keen to boost the volume of rail transport in Spain. 

On December 27, the Spanish Cabinet authorised contracts for €45.5 million to refurbish signage on two new routes of the conventional rail network, to prepare them for this new train highway, according to El Confidencial

The lines between Ariza and Calatayud, and Guadalajara and Ariza, will be the first to get a spruce up. 

The total investment for the project is expected to run to €85 million. 

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