Image: Shutterstock. Maksim Safaniuk
Spain has awarded a contract for a feasibility study for the reopening of a section of the old Ruta de la Plata railway. The contract allocates 821,000 euros to Prointec S.A.U. to conduct the study. The decision came after Spanish region Castilla y León and Portugal joined forces in calling for the reopening of the railway.
The study will aim to shed light on the technical, economic and environmental viability of a reopened railway between Plasencia and León along the Portuguese border. To this end, the study will focus on demand for goods and passenger transportation and alternatives to the Plasencia-León route.
Last week, the government of the Castilla y León region called upon the Spanish government to make a decisive commitment to railway infrastructure investments in the region. The importance of railway infrastructure in the region was stressed at a meeting with various stakeholders, among which were the Portuguese ambassador and mayor of border town Salamanca. Additional investments were said to improve social, economic and business cohesion. The lack of railway infrastructure in the border region presents an obstacle to economic growth in both Spain and Portugal, according to a joint statement.
In order to compensate for the lack of infrastructure, the Castilla y León government wants to reopen the Ruta de la Plata. The route was a significant rail freight corridor during the 20th century. With the allocation of 821,000 euros for a feasibility study, the Spanish government now also seems to have taken interest in expanding railway infrastructure in the region. Already in 2017, Spanish parliament approved possible inquiries into the reopening of the route.