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Old July 9th, 2015, 01:10 PM   #3261
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Originally Posted by 437.001 View Post
It will, don't you worry, another section of Lorca-Almeria is under planning, soon will start works.
Right now, chances are that next year, neo-communist party Podemos will govern Spain, with them in power, we can forget any major investment in railways and this line would be placed in the freezer indefinitely. And even the guys running PSOE are against investing in railways, so I can't see how this line has any chance unless PP somehow magically manage to turn around the boat and gain back the 15% of voters the have lost.

My bet is the new government in 2016 will scrap this line and re-route the Mediterranean freight axis over Alcázar de San Juan which would be much cheaper. To build what is left to finnish of this line would cost well in excess of a billion euros, that money will be spent on other lines.
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Old July 9th, 2015, 02:15 PM   #3262
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Originally Posted by gincan View Post
Right now, chances are that next year, neo-communist party Podemos will govern Spain, with them in power, we can forget any major investment in railways and this line would be placed in the freezer indefinitely. And even the guys running PSOE are against investing in railways, so I can't see how this line has any chance unless PP somehow magically manage to turn around the boat and gain back the 15% of voters the have lost.

My bet is the new government in 2016 will scrap this line and re-route the Mediterranean freight axis over Alcázar de San Juan which would be much cheaper. To build what is left to finnish of this line would cost well in excess of a billion euros, that money will be spent on other lines.
To be fair, Spain has overinvested in HSR. The lines from Madrid to Seville/Malaga, Valencia/Alicante, Barcelona and the common segment for the NW to Valladolid are all sound investments, but lines to demographic sinkholes like Asturias or Galicia are IMHO completely over the top...

Investments should IMO cover improvements in conventional lines to allow faster speeds in Alvia trains that switch gauges and better regional and cercanias services, plus the completion of existing works (e.g. a proper train station in Valencia). And of course, I presume even a socialist government would finish most of the works that have already started, it would be even more insane economically not to...
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Old July 9th, 2015, 05:08 PM   #3263
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Originally Posted by Robi_damian View Post
To be fair, Spain has overinvested in HSR. The lines from Madrid to Seville/Malaga, Valencia/Alicante, Barcelona and the common segment for the NW to Valladolid are all sound investments, but lines to demographic sinkholes like Asturias or Galicia are IMHO completely over the top...

Investments should IMO cover improvements in conventional lines to allow faster speeds in Alvia trains that switch gauges and better regional and cercanias services, plus the completion of existing works (e.g. a proper train station in Valencia). And of course, I presume even a socialist government would finish most of the works that have already started, it would be even more insane economically not to...
The problem is that regionalism is choking all common sense when it comes to sound government planning, infrastructure to nowhere is a Spanish national sport. Unfortunately this means that investments don't go where they make the biggest impact on a financial sense but instead on an emotional sense.

The HSR to Almeria is a totally ridiculous investment from a financial sense and is completely driven by emotional sense. Almeria has no large middle class to fuel passenger transport and the upper class is non-existent, most of the population is very poor or below the poverty line, they will never use the train because it is to expensive even with a subsidized tariff.

The region has no large industrial sector that can benefit from goods transports on the new railway other than tomatoes and cucumbers, the agricultural-industry in Almeria simply does not generate enough revenue for the state to justify spending billions of euros on a railway. Almeria has no large port that can benefit from a rail connection to improve throughput of goods. Almeria has no large tourist industry that can benefit from a rail connection to international airports in other parts of Spain or connections to France and beyond.

The last straw argument is that the new railway somehow magically will make the region more attractive to establish new industries which will generate new jobs, this is a completely ridiculous argument promoted by local politicians living in Alice wonderland.
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Old July 9th, 2015, 06:35 PM   #3264
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The decision to build dedicated HSR to almost every Spanish province is, of course, a political one. Nevertheless, it should be said that upgrading old lines can sometimes be as expensive as building new ones from scratch.

There have been mistakes in planning for sure. For instance, construction of the soon to be opened HSL between Valladolid and León cannot be justified (except for the initial section between Valladolid and Venta de Baños junction, shared with the HSL Valladolid - Burgos, that in the future will be extended to the Basque Country) when an upgrade of the classic line (already double-tracked) was not difficult given the flat terrain of the region.

In contrast, construction of HSR between León and Asturias (Pajares base tunnel) makes sense as sooner or later that line would have had to be built from scratch in order to have a decent railway line between Asturias and the rest of Spain. And I can imagine the difference of building the long base tunnel and its connecting lines as classic railway instead of as HSR wouldn't have been less expensive -hardly anything from the current classic line can be upgraded.

The same can be said with regards to the HSL to Galicia, where an upgrade of the classic line would have also entailed building long sections from scratch. However, let's not forget that in several corridors the upgrade has indeed been chosen instead of building a completely new line. That's the case of Tarragona - Valencia, Sevilla - Cádiz or A Coruña - Vigo. Common sense says that in the future the same decision will be followed in other lines, such as Zaragoza - Logroño / Pamplona, Sevilla - Huelva or Palencia - Santander.

One of the main problems, in my opinion, is that some important corridors were given less priority and now there are no funds to construct them. I'm thinking of Burgos - Vitoria (part of Madrid - Bilbao and Madrid - Hendaye corridors) and Valencia - Castellón (including both the new through station and the new urban tunnel in Valencia), where a dedicated HSL is far more necessary than in other parts of the country where upgrading the old line was feasible (namely Venta de Baños junction - León).
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Old July 9th, 2015, 11:51 PM   #3265
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gincan View Post
Right now, chances are that next year, neo-communist party Podemos will govern Spain, with them in power, we can forget any major investment in railways and this line would be placed in the freezer indefinitely. And even the guys running PSOE are against investing in railways, so I can't see how this line has any chance unless PP somehow magically manage to turn around the boat and gain back the 15% of voters the have lost.
Other threads might be better suited to foreseeing the future without a crystal ball if politics were to be mixed into the recipe.

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Originally Posted by gincan View Post
My bet is the new government in 2016 will scrap this line and re-route the Mediterranean freight axis over Alcázar de San Juan which would be much cheaper. To build what is left to finnish of this line would cost well in excess of a billion euros, that money will be spent on other lines.
As it happens, that already is the case.
Freight in standard gauge to/from all of Andalusia but Almeria will be routed through Alcazar de San Juan, like always.

Pulpi-Almeria will be just for passengers and freight to/from Almeria, no one but the (usually misinformed) press is into that idea of routing freight via Granada-Guadix-Almeria, since that would be rather complicated as the line between Almeria and Granada is quite mountainous with lots of steep gradients, although it has to be said that it saw freight years ago.

Anyway, there are still years and not unlikely even more than a decade to go before seeing that Pulpi-Almeria line opening. But il will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gincan View Post
The problem is that regionalism is choking all common sense when it comes to sound government planning, infrastructure to nowhere is a Spanish national sport. Unfortunately this means that investments don't go where they make the biggest impact on a financial sense but instead on an emotional sense.
Investments sometimes don't have any other choice but being allocated to some places where it apparently doesn't make sense at all to invest, in order to improve communications between neighbouring regions to these unpopulated areas which are not as much sinkholes as one would believe, but which have historically suffered from very bad rail communications.

In other words, when it's needed to improve travel from A to B and to do so you must run through the shortest way, that might mean running through places like Nowhere-on-Earth or Rockbottomworldsend, so then you must invest there, and that counts as an investment in said places, which wouldn't receive such investments at all, were it not for their location in between A and B.
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Old July 10th, 2015, 01:01 AM   #3266
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Originally Posted by Robi_damian View Post
To be fair, Spain has overinvested in HSR. The lines from Madrid to Seville/Malaga, Valencia/Alicante, Barcelona and the common segment for the NW to Valladolid are all sound investments, but lines to demographic sinkholes like Asturias or Galicia are IMHO completely over the top...
We'll see.

arctic_carlos answers quite accurately to this statement, although not entirely, methinks, so I'll comment on that further down the post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robi_damian View Post
Investments should IMO cover improvements in conventional lines to allow faster speeds in Alvia trains that switch gauges and better regional and cercanias services, plus the completion of existing works (e.g. a proper train station in Valencia).
If you ask me, investments once we get rid of this burden of HSL's under construction should focus on gauge change, commuter rail and freight.

With a slight accent on reopening a few old, long-closed lines (or massively upgrading some narrow gauge line in service) whose rebirth is now entirely justified, or building new lines to some populated areas which never had a railway. I hope you guess which ones I mean, none of them are pure HSR but could get to see Alvia services if the railway company saw fit.

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Originally Posted by Robi_damian View Post
And of course, I presume even a socialist government would finish most of the works that have already started, it would be even more insane economically not to...
You have a point here.

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Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
The decision to build dedicated HSR to almost every Spanish province is, of course, a political one.
All infrastructure comes from a political decision in the end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
Nevertheless, it should be said that upgrading old lines can sometimes be as expensive as building new ones from scratch.
True in certain cases, not all of them.

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Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
There have been mistakes in planning for sure.
Right you are.

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Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
For instance, construction of the soon to be opened HSL between Valladolid and León cannot be justified (except for the initial section between Valladolid and Venta de Baños junction, shared with the HSL Valladolid - Burgos, that in the future will be extended to the Basque Country) when an upgrade of the classic line (already double-tracked) was not difficult given the flat terrain of the region.
I would have built Valladolid-Venta de Baños and Burgos-Bilbao/Hendaye and progressively upgraded Venta de Baños-Burgos and Venta de Baños-Leon.

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Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
In contrast, construction of HSR between León and Asturias (Pajares base tunnel) makes sense as sooner or later that line would have had to be built from scratch in order to have a decent railway line between Asturias and the rest of Spain. And I can imagine the difference of building the long base tunnel and its connecting lines as classic railway instead of as HSR wouldn't have been less expensive -hardly anything from the current classic line can be upgraded.
True, although the classic line will probably survive just in case.

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The same can be said with regards to the HSL to Galicia, where an upgrade of the classic line would have also entailed building long sections from scratch.
In which section? Have you ever travelled on that line?
I'm afraid I can't agree on this part.

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Originally Posted by arctic_carlos View Post
However, let's not forget that in several corridors the upgrade has indeed been chosen instead of building a completely new line. That's the case of Tarragona - Valencia, Sevilla - Cádiz or A Coruña - Vigo.
Correct.

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Common sense says that in the future the same decision will be followed in other lines, such as Zaragoza - Logroño / Pamplona, Sevilla - Huelva or Palencia - Santander.
I agree with Saragossa-Logroño/Pamplona-Vitoria.

Disagree with the other two. I don't think any massive upgrade is needed on the Huelva and Santander lines, other than maintenance.

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One of the main problem, in my opinion, is that some important corridors were given less priority and now there are no funds to construct them. I'm thinking of Burgos - Vitoria (part of Madrid - Bilbao and Madrid - Hendaye corridors) and Valencia - Castellón (including both the new through station and the new urban tunnel in Valencia), where a dedicated HSL is far more necessary than in other parts of the country where upgrading the old line was feasible (namely Venta de Baños junction - León).
True.
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Old July 15th, 2015, 09:01 PM   #3267
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In which section? Have you ever travelled on that line?
I'm afraid I can't agree on this part.
I've never used it, so maybe I'm wrong.

What is exactly your opinion? That the old line between Medina del Campo and Ourense (or even Santiago) could have been upgraded?

Basing my assumptions merely on aerial images, it seems that the decision to construct of a completely new line between Olmedo junction and Zamora was the right choice. But I imagine there are intermediate options of upgrade that could have been considered.

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Disagree with the other two. I don't think any massive upgrade is needed on the Huelva and Santander lines, other than maintenance.
Well, at least they have almost completely abandoned old plans to build full HSR there. There has been a recent upgrade on the Palencia - Santander line, so I imagine nothing is going to change there in the short or medium term.

However, nothing has been done on Seville - Huelva line (besides creating commuter services on the section close to Sevilla), so I guess sooner or later some kind of investment will be done. Let's not forget that an hypothetic reopening of Huelva -Ayamonte would have an impact on patronage we cannot imagine right now, especially with regards to tourism. And if an international rail bridge is ever built, there could be direct Seville - Faro services. But let's go back to reality.
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Old July 16th, 2015, 12:35 AM   #3268
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I've never used it, so maybe I'm wrong.

What is exactly your opinion? That the old line between Medina del Campo and Ourense (or even Santiago) could have been upgraded?
Not a lot, to be honest. Maybe between Medina and... let's be optimistic, let's say Abejera. The rest of the line on from Abejera is far too bendy and it is in good state anyway.

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Basing my assumptions merely on aerial images, it seems that the decision to construct of a completely new line between Olmedo junction and Zamora was the right choice. But I imagine there are intermediate options of upgrade that could have been considered.
The main goal there is a good travel time between Corunna and Madrid.
Remember that Corunna is almost as far away from Madrid as Girona, but without any Barcelona or Saragossa in between, so travel time is vital.

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Well, at least they have almost completely abandoned old plans to build full HSR there. There has been a recent upgrade on the Palencia - Santander line, so I imagine nothing is going to change there in the short or medium term.
Certainly not in the case of Santander, but remember that the HSL that should have reached Santander would have got there from Bilbao, not Palencia.

That would have made sense since Bilbao-Santander would have been a massive improvement, and also travel times from Madrid would have improved quite a bit too, not to talk about travel times from places such as Pamplona, Vitoria, Saragossa or Barcelona.
Right now, travelling to Santander by rail from Bilbao or from down the Ebro valley doesn't make sense, it's not competitive at all.
Remember that the Electrotren Barcelona-Santander was removed many years ago, as it only had passengers between Barcelona and Palencia.

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However, nothing has been done on Seville - Huelva line (besides creating commuter services on the section close to Seville), so I guess sooner or later some kind of investment will be done.
I don't think that would be worthy. Just look at the number of trains on the route Madrid-Huelva per day, and the number of Seville-Huelva trains. Not worth it.

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Let's not forget that an hypothetic reopening of Huelva -Ayamonte would have an impact on patronage we cannot imagine right now, especially with regards to tourism. And if an international rail bridge is ever built, there could be direct Seville - Faro services. But let's go back to reality.
Seville-Faro is about as likely as me getting pregnant.
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Old July 16th, 2015, 09:33 PM   #3269
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I don't think that would be worthy. Just look at the number of trains on the route Madrid-Huelva per day, and the number of Seville-Huelva trains. Not worth it.
We had the discussion on exactly this line here not too long ago and kind of agreed that in principle there might be a market for far more train Seville-Huelva trains. Is that not so?

From my naive Swiss perspective about 25 per day per direction would be normal (hourly always, half an hourly in peak times).

Edit: I'm not saying a new line ought to be built there, just that more trains would be of use.

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Old July 17th, 2015, 12:40 AM   #3270
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I'm not saying a new line ought to be built there, just that more trains would be of use.
A, ein Basler? :-)
The difference between Latin vs. Nordic approaches in infrastructure politics seems to be:

"Let's build high speed lines, we don't really know how many trains will use that infrastructure. But once the fastest long distance infrastructure is there, trains will show up and it will be fine".
(Figueras - Perpignan, Torino - Milano, just to name two highly expensive lines that see maybe a handful of trains a day...)

vs.

"Current network is overloaded, so lets improve the infrastructure at this specific bottleneck, and also that other. Oh, traffic increases, we need a few dozen kilometers of high speed line here, and there too, and it will take us 30 years to build it at least. But once it is there, we'll squeeze those 200 trains or more a day onto that expensive fast rail, and optimize everything until obsession"
(Eg.: Mattstetten - Rothrist, Karlsruhe - Basel ...)


Of course, this is a limited stereotype classification, but roughly, it may have some truth in it...


From my personal infrastructure point of view, the super-extensive Latin approach is kind of something magic, and surreal when observed from faw away, from within the "Nordic" perspective. I love infrastructure :-)
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Old July 17th, 2015, 05:54 AM   #3271
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We had the discussion on exactly this line here not too long ago and kind of agreed that in principle there might be a market for far more train Seville-Huelva trains. Is that not so?
I was being theoretical. Now I'm practical.

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From my naive Swiss perspective about 25 per day per direction would be normal (hourly always, half an hourly in peak times).
I'm afraid that the answer to this is far too long to be put in just a few words and goes far beyond the simple content of the Spain HSR thread.

And now it's rather late and I want to go to bed, because tomorrow I have to work.

Besides, maybe I'd rather answer in French, which is a language I'm more at ease with than English. You speak French, I presume?

Are you ok if I answer through a private message?
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Old July 17th, 2015, 08:01 AM   #3272
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Besides, maybe I'd rather answer in French, which is a language I'm more at ease with than English. You speak French, I presume?

Are you ok if I answer through a private message?
I'm not a native Swiss and speak (to various levels of proficiency) Latvian, English, Russian and German. I wish I could at least read French and Spanish too, but I'm afraid my ability to learn new languages has limits.

I suspect English is the only overlapping one between me and you...
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Old July 24th, 2015, 10:13 PM   #3273
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Today's second anniversary of Santiago accident.

Investigations keep on
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Old August 1st, 2015, 10:18 PM   #3274
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Hey what's the progress of the Basque Y? Is it under construction, yet? If not, who is dragging their feet?
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Old August 2nd, 2015, 12:25 AM   #3275
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The Basque Y is under way. Where works have started, they are well advanced and working expediently.

There is a big problem however: There are some rather short sections where works have not yet started (or if they started it was just a few months ago).

Those really short sections involve tunnels and bridges, and can't be built quickly.

The stretch from Vittoria to Bilbao is more advanced than the leg to San Sebastian.

The current situation is more or less like this:
http://www.retrofutur.org/retrofutur...5%29&mt=hybrid

The missing links are:
* Connection to Vitoria (Provisionally - can be done quickly, flat land)
* Connection to Bilbao (Provisionally - some structures are needed, but not that much)
* The Triangle near Bergara where all 3 legs meet: There are tunnels to excavate and bridges to be built, that will take some years. They have started cutting trees and building access roads along the alignment only in Spring 2015:
http://www.retrofutur.org/retrofutur...6%29&mt=hybrid

(The Google aerial imagery here dates from October 2014, hence you can't see the initial works on the missing segments)

For the rest, everything is now going well, except another section where works have not started yet (which is wrongly marked as U/C in the linked map), which is this this segment of around 5,5km, also requiring an approx. 2km tunnel.
http://www.retrofutur.org/retrofutur...3%29&mt=hybrid


AFAIK, the opening date is now scheduled for 2018, but when looking at satellite imagery, I doubt they'll be able to make it. I guess it will become 2019 or so...

Basically, it like a huge puzzle nearly completed, but there are some very final pieces missing which will take some extra time...
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Old August 2nd, 2015, 04:23 AM   #3276
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SPAIN | High Speed Rail

Awesome, how about connecting San Sebastián to Bourdeaux any progress on that?
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Old August 2nd, 2015, 05:49 AM   #3277
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Awesome, how about connecting San Sebastián to Bourdeaux any progress on that?
Not in the short or mid term, the French Basque are strongly against that.
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Old August 2nd, 2015, 06:17 AM   #3278
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Not in the short or mid term, the French Basque are strongly against that.
Like how the Piedmontese are against the Turino-Lyon TAV?
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 01:18 AM   #3279
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 437.001 View Post
Not in the short or mid term, the French Basque are strongly against that.
Why??
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Old August 3rd, 2015, 03:22 AM   #3280
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tower Dude View Post
Like how the Piedmontese are against the Turino-Lyon TAV?
Not exactly the same way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly_Walks View Post
Why??
The campaign against the HSL actually started on the Spanish side of the Basque Country, and it was led mostly by the supporters of ETA.
There were even bomb attacks by ETA against the works (I don't remember well, but I seem to remember that it even involved someone being murdered).
So it spread to the French side, led as well by this political tendency.

But as time went by and the political situation on the Spanish side started to change, opposition faded, while on the French side other political parties joined the radical Basque nationalists, and nimby-ism appeared.

The French and Spanish sides of the Basque Country differ greatly economically and demographically.

While the Spanish side is strongly industrialized and heavily populated, the French side isn't.
Instead, the French side is much more touristy than the Spanish side (Biarritz, but not only).
Environmentalists are also stronger on the French side, which is better preserved.

On the other hand, the French side is somewhat less complicated geographically, and the line isn't saturated there, which is one of the things the people who are against it claim.

Whereas on the Spanish side, any serious improvement of the travel times between San Sebastian, Bilbao and Madrid (and between San Sebastian and Bilbao themselves) compulsorily involves the Basque Y (the HSL), otherwise there's no way the travel times could be significantly improved (despite France having higher peaks, Spain is much more mountainous than France overall, but this also applies to each side of the Basque Country).
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Last edited by 437.001; August 3rd, 2015 at 03:36 AM.
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