Rail & Truck Strait Union (RTSU), the future operator of Algeciras – Zaragoza rolling highway, and Alpha Trains signed a long-term finance lease agreement for Eurodual locomotives manufactured by Stadler.
The agreement includes 7 EURO6000 vehicles under finance lease and 4 EURO4001 locomotives under operating lease.
The EURO6000s will be manufactured entirely at the Albuixech plant in Valencia and delivery of the new locomotives is scheduled between 2024 and 2025.
“We are delighted to have concluded this transaction with RTSU with a leasing solution tailored made to RTSU needs and with the financial support of the subsidies granted to RTSU by the Spanish Ministry of Transport. The agreement demonstrates our commitment to play a key role in the development and growth of the freight railway market in Spain and to maximise the use of the railway infrastructure,” Fernando Pérez, Interim CEO of the Alpha Trains Group said.
RTSU was established by CMA CGM, through Continental Rail, Eco Rail and Marcotran specifically for the ROLA services on the 730 km Algeciras – Zaragoza conventional line. This new line will allow the sustainable and intermodal transport of goods from Algeciras in the south of Spain, one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean, to Zaragoza in the north of the peninsula and later to Europe. The service will link the Port of Algeciras with the Logistics Platform of Zaragoza (PlaZa). The line will have a daily frequency, taking into account the current volume and forecasts. The port of Algeciras is monthly used by 40,000 trucks.
Based on current volumes and forecasts, it is estimated that the “autopista ferroviaria Algeciras – Zaragoza” will reduce emissions by more than 94,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Iñigo Parra, CEO of Stadler Valencia said that “the EURO6000 was designed to improve the profitability and sustainability of rail freight services. We are convinced that the EURO6000 will boost the modal shift from road to rail in the Iberian Peninsula.”
The EURO6000 is a member of the family of Eurodual locomotives and offers the highest hauling capacity on the European market, enabling the transport of longer and heavier trains and leading to greater profitability for transport services.
In 2020, Alpha Trains ordered its first Stadler EURO6000 and since then, the number of the EURO6000 locomotives in the Alpha Trains portfolio has increased over 50 locomotives.
In April 2021 Adif, the Spanish rail infrastructure manager, and the Ministry for Transport and Mobility announced a EUR 100 million investment programme to adapt Zaragoza – Algeciras line to ROLA services.
In March 2022, Adif awarded a EUR 2.2 million contract to elaborate a draft for the necessary construction works to adapt the gauge of the overpasses located between Bobadilla (Málaga) and Zaragoza part of the future freight traffic that will generate the Algeciras – Zaragoza rolling highway.
The contract was awarded to the Unión Temporal de Empresas (UTE) joint venture comprising SERS engineering, design and consultancy company, Fulcrum Planning Analysis and Project, Carlos Fernández Casado, an engineering firm specialising in bridges and large scale structures, and Eptisa Servicios de Ingenieria.
The overpasses on which it will be necessary to carry out the gauge study add up to a total of 361 structures. Once the overpasses that do not meet the necessary gauge have been determined, the successful tenderer will collect the necessary complementary data to carry out an exhaustive study of the condition, proposing specific solutions that can solve the gauge problems of these structures. The project is financed by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
In December 2022, the Spanish Government authorised EUR 57.7 million to renew the signalling system on the 150 km Guadalajara – Ariza (Zaragoza) conventional line which improves the rail traffic between Soria and Madrid. The section is part of Algeciras (Cádiz) – Zaragoza rail motorway project. The signalling renewal project between Guadalajara and Ariza is part of Adif’s programme to adapt the gauge for rail motorway services. These include several sections of the metric gauge network in the Basque Country and Cantabria, such as the Bilbao – Zaramillo section of the Bilbao Concordia – Aranguren metric gauge line,the Torrelavega – Santander (Santander – Oviedo line) and the Santander-Nueva Montaña and Maliaño – Astillero sections (Santander-Bilbao line),all of them being in the contracting phase.
Due to the characteristics foreseen in the new rolling stock that will provide the Zaragoza – Algeciras ROLA services, works are necessary to modify the gauge in various locations along the route including the overpasses.
The project is part of the set of actions that will make it possible to start up the new railway highway service between the port of Algeciras and the logistics node of Zaragoza, which will facilitate the flow of freight transport by rail throughout the peninsula.
The Algeciras – Zaragoza rolling highway will be a gateway to the African markets for companies from the South Europe, and vice versa. Morocco already is one of Aragon’s most important trade partners. The project will also consolidate Aragon’s position as the main hinterland port in Spain, as the region will be connected by train to all main ports of the Iberian peninsula.