Spanish leadership: A model of success exported throughout the world

Liderazgo español en alta velocidad ferroviaria
Liderazgo español en alta velocidad ferroviaria

Spain is a case of international success in terms of high-speed, which is backed up with more than 20 years of experience and the determined effort regarding innovation.

The impetus into these networks is the country’s genuine commitment. The institutional in- vestment exceeds 12,000 million Euros per year, a support for the Spanish railway I+D, which consists of 90,000 experts with a solid experience and good reputation in the design, construction, maintenance, exploitation and development of safety systems, as well as in the state-of-the-art rolling stock provision. For this reason, the national railway industry builds, designs and operates more and more infrastructures of this type throughout the world. The commissioning of this modern and extended network created a highly specialized, competitive, professional and integrated business fabric that exports its know-how and high qualification in the entire world.

The Spanish railway sector has been and it is still reliable for many transport administrations that require providers with proven experience throughout the design, construction, commissioning, ser- vice and maintenance project cycle on the high-speed lines. They are looking for the best guarantees and the most modern technology. The global interest in the Spanish high-speed is indicated by the many cooperation agreements signed. As results of these agreements, representatives of various countries, such as Brazil, Chile, Columbia, U.S., Morocco, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Turkey or Venezuela, came to Spain to become acquainted with this innovative model. We could also add the multiple visits of international delegations for the purpose of be- coming acquainted with the Spanish railway system, such as Sweden, China, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Saudi Arabia, India, Tunisia, Algeria, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Japan, Czech Republic, Hungary, Uzbekistan, Croatia, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Australia, Qatar, Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia and South Africa, among others.


In the Middle East, among the most highlighted projects, there is the high-speed line that will link the cities of Mecca and Medina, in the Saudi Arabia. The consortium of companies including Renfe, Adif, Ineco, Indra, OHL, Consultrans, Copasa, Imathia, Cobra, Dimetronic, Inabensa and Talgo performs this work, with a contract value up to an amount of 6,736 M€. Amurrio Ferrocarril y Equipos, S.A. is also in charge of the provision of high-speed bypasses, model AV4. It involves an entirely Spanish technology that has been designed and manufactured so as to allow reaching speeds of up to 350 km/h on direct track and 170 km/h on bypassed track


Many of the projects have the Spa- nish seal. Turkey also relied on the Spanish railway industry for the commissioning of the first network of this nature between Ankara and Istanbul. The first LAV from the Middle East is a project carried out by OHL and in which the CAF Company provides the most advan- ced rolling stock. In addition, CAF Signaling has been in charge of the ERTMS system implementation. Therefore, Adif and Renfe provi- ded advices for its commissioning and the commissioning of the Da- Vinci traffic management system, an intellectual property of Adif.

Among the most recent European projects, this industry’s experience was transferred to the United Kingdom, which will carry out various phases of the largest high-speed line, known as the “HS2” (See number 9 of the Mafex Magazine). This network will link London to Birmingham. Sener, Idom and Ineco are three of the companies that perform these works. They are an example of great international weight of the engineering advisers in terms of design, construction and commissioning of these innovative high-speed networks. The Ferrovial Agroman subsidiary, which is part of the Fusion Consortium, in charge of the previous construction works regarding the central line section, joins them. In addition, as regards the civil engineering, various consortiums with Spanish presence are involved: ACS, Ferrovial, FCC and Acciona.

In Norway, for example, CAF has been recently awarded with eight Oaris high-speed trains for an amount of 120 million Euros. The Spanish industry seal is very present in many other railway networks of this nature. Among them, there is the recently inaugurated high-speed train which links Mos- cow to Berlin, while being equipped with the Talgo technology. This system allows the axles to be changed so as to adapt to the different track gauges and to reduce the journey to 4 hours and a half.


America is another continent where the high-speed knowledge export steadily makes its way through. For example, ACS or Isolux Corsan, are successful bidders of important contracts for the construction of high-speed lines in California (United States). In this country, Adif has signed various agreements with North American entities in order to share its experience and know-how mainly in the field of construction, quality control, ma- nagement and maintenance of the high-speed.

In addition, during the last years, various official delegations of the United States have been visiting our country to become acquainted first-hand with the great breakthroughs in the high-speed and the modern railway infrastructure. Among them, the senior management of the Secretary of Transports, Congress, Senate, Federal Railway Administration. As result of these meetings, a work group was created so as to share information and promote the te- chnological cooperation between both countries.


It has also been committed to the Spanish high-speed technology. Morocco imported the DaVinci railway traffic management and control system. This is a strategic project, considering that it involves the first entire implementation of the DaVinci system in a foreign railway administration. In addition, it will manage the country’s future high-speed net- work, whose first line started to be built between Tanger and Kenitra. This system opens up the borders also in many conventional networks that have adapted it, so as to improve the traffic management (Lithuania, Columbia, United Kingdom, among other many examples.).


In Asia, the demand for Spanish services and technology is increasing. Talgo has built the units of the LAV Tashkent-Samarkanda in Uzbekistan. A project in cooperation with the traction division of Ingeteam, which has provided equipment for four tractor trucks from this fleet, as well as the control electronics.

The Spanish companies have significantly increased their global presence during the last years. Their internationalization goes hand in hand with the increasing demand for technology and professionals from the transport and infrastruc- ture administrations. The increased dynamism and investment in the I+D+i of the companies to Spain in leading positions.