Major high-speed railways under construction in Europe


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The European Union has been encouraging the development of the Trans-European high-speed rail network (TEN-R) for over two decades. The idea is to link most of Europe's major cities with highspeed trains so as to reduce air travel as much as possible by 2030 in order to help achieve the goals in CO2 reduction in transports. Some very useful new lines are going to open this year and in the coming years. Here is what to expect.

1) One of the longest lines is going to be the so-called Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor connecting Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki to Italy all the way to Palermo in Sicily.


The project's most challenging piece of engineering is the 64 km long Brenner Base Tunnel running from Innsbruck in Austria to Fortezza in Italy. Work began in 2008 and is estimated to be completed around 2030 to 2032. It will be the longest railway tunnel in the world. I recommend this video explaining the tunnel's construction.

2) Running perpendicularly to the previous line is the Mediterranean Corridor running for some 3,000 km between Algeciras at the southern tip of Spain (next to Gibraltar) to the border of Ukraine, passing via Cordoba, Madrid, Zaragoza, Barcelona, Montpellier, Lyon, Turin, Milan, Venice, Trieste, Ljubljana, and Budapest.


The biggest difficulty is again to cross the Alps, this time between Lyon and Turin. With a length of 57.5 km, the Mont d'Ambin Base Tunnel should be completed by 2030 and might become briefly the longest in the world if it is completed before the Brenner Base Tunnel. The tunnel could take some 15,000 trucks off the roads every week (about 800,000 per year), which is great news for the environment. For passengers, the journey time between Lyon and Turin will be cut from 4.5 hours to only 2 hours. There is another great video about the tunnel construction on B1M.

3) Another important east-west railway is the so-called Main Line for Europe linking Paris to Bratislava via Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Munich, Salzburg and Vienna. It will run for 1400 km. It was expected to be completed in 2020, but was delayed by the Covid crisis and other problems, notably the new Stuttgart railway station and the line between Stuttgart and Augsburg, which is now expected to open between 2025 and 2030.


4) Spain is probably the European country building the most highspeed railway lines at the moment. Madrid-Gijon is opening in May 2023, while various segments of the the great line going along the Mediterranean coast between Barcelona and Almeria are also due to open soon. The Lisbon-Madrid highspeed line, planned to open around 2030.


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