Basque Transport Ministry puts out to tender the Amara freight bypass worth €8.5 million

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Basque Transport Ministry puts out to tender the Amara freight bypass worth €8.5 million

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The Basque Government's Transport Ministry, through its public entity Euskal Trenbide Sarea, has approved the tender for the works of the Amara freight bypass in Donostia-San Sebastián, for the sum of €8.5 million and with an 18-month implementation timeline. 

The project is to build a new rail branch line to connect with the Lugaritz and Anoeta freight once the Lugaritz-Easo rail bypass comes into service. The aim is to make greater use of the Aiete tunnel, which is only used for freight. 

The development of the new planned line is to be completely in tunnel and false tunnel.  The proposed routing emerged as a solution to optimise the connection with the Donostia/San Sebastián-Hendaye line; it will ensure the required serviceability and leave untouched the protected building of the former gasworks.  The line is barely 450 metres long and connects the Aiete tunnel with the Morlans underground section; freight trains will thus be able to travel towards Pasaia. 

Accordingly, and in order to reinforce the rail network for freight traffic, the Basque Transport Ministry has recently put out to tender the works to access and enter the Port of Pasaia on metric rail gauge.  The initial budget for the works is €5.5 million (not including VAT) and the implementation timeline is 20 months. 

Improving a railway network for passengers and freight.

In recent years, the Basque Transport Ministry has implemented different measures to improve the Topo line, including widening the track, new stations (Intxaurrondo, Altza and Fanderia), modernising the Loiola station, and urban integration projects in Loiola, Herrera and Oiartzun. 

Work is currently underway on the new Anoeta vestibule and its integration in the rail and urban settings, the Altza-Galtzaraborda rail bypass, with a new station, and the Lugaritz-Easo rail bypass 

The rail bypass – which is 4.2 km long and has three new stations – is completely built in tunnel and runs through the centre of Donosti.  Its track has significant slopes that limit its use by the freight trains that current runs along the Bilbao-Donostia and Donostia-Hendaye lines. 

The switchback needed at the Amara station currently limits the serviceability and running of the freight services as the operations require entering the station, changing the direction of the engine and leaving by the other line.  The fright bypass, whose works could start in summer, will help to offset this shortcoming.