The standard gauge tunnel that will link Atocha and Chamartín will be operational on July 1. This was announced by the Ministry of Transport this Wednesday, which explained that the State Agency for Railway Safety (AESF), will conclude the approval of this infrastructure next week. The infrastructure, carried out by Adif Alta Velocidad, has required an investment of 338 million euros.
The tunnel will allow a reordering of high-speed connections. To begin with, it will reduce traffic congestion in and out of Madrid and, more importantly, it will allow connecting the northern lines (which stop at Chamartín) with the southern ones (which stop at Atocha) without the need for transfers. The Government's plans happen because it is possible, for example, to carry out a Valencia-Santiago shortly without having to stop in Madrid.
Adif has taken advantage of the tunnel approval process to begin work on the future Chamartín exterior plaza. Likewise, with the aim of increasing railway capacity and allowing the circulation of a greater number of trains, Adif will also put into service the duplication of track in the 28 km section between Puerta de Atocha and Torrejón de Velasco, with an investment of 734 millions.
Now that these roads have been duplicated and the tunnel is operational, the accesses to the capital of these two corridors will be separated. The route to Seville will continue to be equipped with the LZB, but the connection to Valencia will not. In other words, if the French from Ouigo want to start operating on the Levante route, they will be able to do so as of July.
The French operator, however, has already announced that it will delay its entry into this corridor until after the summer, citing the delays experienced by the tunnel. Sources close to Ouigo assure that once it is put into operation, an approximate time of three weeks is necessary to train the drivers in this section, in addition to homologating the trains in the tunnel. As a result, although it is available from July 1, the French trains could not be put into operation until the end of that month, with the summer season already started.
The French operator plans to put the Madrid-Valencia tickets on sale on June 30 and it will be that day when it announces when it will enter this route.