Pajares Tunnels

Location:Cantabrian Mountains, Spain
Year:2005-2008
Project Type:
Railway Tunnels
Customer:Lot 1: FCC/NECSO
Lot 3: FERROVIAL/SACYR/CAVOSA
Products:2x TBM’s

Machine Type:Hard-Rock
Diameter: 9.89m
Excavation Length: 10.4 km + 10.3 km
Geology: sandy shale, limestone,clay, pockets of methane

The section of the new high speed line between León and Gijón in the north of Spain will link the capital Madrid to the Costa Verde, thereby opening up Asturias. The existing line, for goods only, has become obsolete. Trains on it were restricted to 70 km/h, with the average speed never exceeding 50 km/h.

Structure of the Project

The new route passes through the Cantabrian Mountains. Given the demanding the environmental requirements, this section must be built underground. Two parallel tunnels will be built over a length of 24.6 km using conventional methods in addition to the tunnel-boring machine (TBM). The project is divided up into 4 lots which have been entrusted to Spanish companies. MÜHLHÄUSER (former NFM) has supplied 2 hard-rock machines for lots 1 and 3. Lot 1 consists of one 10.4-km twin-tube tunnel at the south end of the project in the direction of León. One of the 2 north tunnels, in the direction of Oviedo, accounts for lot 3, with a length of 10.3 km.