High Speed Lines

Vitoria - Bilbao - San Sebastián Line


A way of making Europe.

The following has been co-funded in the 2000-2006 period:

  • By the TETN (Trans European Transport Networks) subsidies, the studies and projects, with subsidies amounting to 16 million Euros.

The following will be co-funded in the 2007 - 2013 period:

  • By the Cohesion Fund within the Cohesion Fund-ERDF Operational Programme, the railroad bed works of the Bilbao-Durango sections
  • By the TETN (Trans European Transport Networks) subsidies, the railroad bed works of the Arrazua/Ubarrundia-Durango section, with estimated subsidies of 31.2 million Euros and Astigarraga - Irún with subsidies of 16.9 million Euros.

(Information at 30 March 2010)

Citizen Information and Service Points (PIAC)

The PIAC offers citizens information on the state of the works in the new high speed Line. It specifically offers information on the Vitoria-Bilbao branch line and the junction (Mondragón-Elorrio-Bergara) which the Ministry of Public Works will perform through ADIF.

The PIAC also supplies leaflets containing information on the main characteristics
of the high speed Line, environmental actions, most noteworthy structures and main benefits.
Furthermore, the hostesses attending the Information Point are responsible for collecting all claims and requests that the citizens make in the PIAC.


Opening hours: The PIAC is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Address: Vitoria-Gasteiz train station



Opening hours: The PIAC is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Address: Abando station (Bilbao)


Opening hours: The PIAC is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Address: Estación del Norte station, San Sebastián/Donostia

Main benefits of the line

The new Vitoria-Bilbao-San Sebastián - French Border High Speed Line is included within the high performance network of the Strategic Infrastructures and Transport Plan (PEIT). On a European level it forms part of the Atlantic branch of the Priority Project no. 3, giving continuity in Spanish territory to the Madrid - Valladolid - Vitoria - French Border line.

This line will connect the three provincial capitals of the Basque Country by high speed and will bring it closer to the rest of the peninsula and France.

In addition to allowing interconnection of the three Basque capitals, the new railway infrastructure will have a connection with Pamplona, through the "Corredor Navarro".

When it comes into service railway trip times shall be drastically reduced for the three Basque capitals. Reduction in the trip time between Vitoria-Bilbao and Vitoria-San Sebastián principally stands out, at around 60% and 80% for Bilbao-San Sebastián.

The new line will have a total approximate length of 180.5 km (without counting access to the provincial capitals). It is formed by two differentiated branch lines; Vitoria - Bilbao, 90.8 km, and Bergara - San Sebastián - French border, 89.7 km.

Adif is responsible for drafting and executing the railroad bed projects between Vitoria-Gasteiz and Bilbao, and those corresponding to the integration of the railway in both cities. It will also draft and execute the railroad bed projects of the railroad beds corresponding to the Mondragón - Elorrio - Bergara junction.

In April 2006, the General State Administration, the Basque Government and Adif signed a collaboration agreement whereby the Basque Government undertakes, charged to the General State Budgets, the drafting of the projects and construction of the railroad bed in the Guipúzcoa branch line, from kilometre point 9.00 in Bergara to Irún. It includes the section that undertakes the integration of the railway in the city of San Sebastián.

The section corresponding to Irún, not included in the Basque 'Y' information study and which forms part of the international connection, shall be developed by the Ministry of Public Works.

Adif is also in charge of assembling the track, electrification, signaling, communication and other installations throughout the line.

Characteristics of the route and singular works

Line map

It has been designed with the technical parameters of a high speed line, in double UIC gauge track, with minimum radius curves of 3,100 m and maximum gradients of 15 thousandths per metre, and for mixed traffic, which will allow circulation of both passenger and cargo trains.

It shall be prepared so that the trains reach a maximum speed of 250 km/h.

To overcome the important orographic difficulties of the land to be crossed, a large quantity of singular structures must be built. Viaducts and tunnels compose 60% of the Vitoria-Bilbao section and this figure is around 80% in the Guipúzcoa branch line (including the Mondragón-Elorrio-Bergara junction which will be made by ADIF).

The average of singular structures throughout the line, whether tunnels or viaducts, is 70% of the route.

Some of the most noteworthy tunnels are:

  • Albertia tunnel: 4,786 m (dual-tube of 2,680 metros),
  • Udalaitz tunnel: 3,185 m
  • Zarátamo tunnel: 2,728 m
  • Induspe tunnel: 2,224 m
  • Galdakao tunnel: 1,827 m
  • Ganzelai tunnel (1,365 m)
  • Luko tunnels (970 metres)

Some of the most noteworthy viaducts are:


  • Viaduct over the A-2620 road: 1,401 m and supports of up to 90m high.
  • San Antonio-Malaespera viaduct: 837 m
  • Mañaria viaduct: 616 m
  • Viaduct over the A-3002 road, N-1 and River Zadorra: 505 m
  • Viaduct over the GI-3343 road: 471 m

Vitoria - Bilbao section. Built by Adif

90.8 Km
44 Viaducts
23 tunnels

The route built by Adif between Vitoria and Bilbao has a total of 44 viaducts and 23 tunnels. 20% and 40%, respectively, of the length of the whole section, runs through these structures.

Among the infrastructures of the branch line built by Adif stands out Albertia tunnel, which with 4.8 km is the longest in the project and the viaduct over the A-2620 road, of 1,400 metros in length and supports of up to 90 metres in height



One of Adif's main concerns is respect for the environment. For this reason, it allocates 6.7% of the high speed line construction budget to guaranteeing their environmental integration, making improvements in the environment voluntarily, and ensuring, in this case, compliance with the Environmental Impact Statement on the Informative Study of the "New Railway Network Project in the Basque Country".

The specific environmental treatments designed in the project are as follows:

  • Restriction of the clearance works in the months of April and June in most of the route.
  • Each river bed intercepted will have its own cross drainage.
  • Devices against contaminating dumping during the execution of the works.
  • Recovery of areas occupied under viaducts and improvement of the permeability to passage of fauna.
  • Morphological adaptation and replanting of the mouths of cross drainage works.
  • Anti-noise screens: The project includes an analysis of sensitive points where the noise levels accepted by the Environmental Impact Statement may be exceeded and definitive installation of anti-noise screens.
  • Programme of archeological surveys and monitoring during the execution of the works.

Related links

Screenshot from the Adif Video Portal