The Government approves the informative study of the first phase of the tram

The first phase of the Camp de Tarragona tramway is on track. As he has learned the DailyLast Friday, the 7th, the Government of the Generalitat definitively approved the informative study of this project, which affects the route from Cambrils to Vila-seca. It is a stretch of little more than 14.6 kilometers in length that will mainly run along the old railway line, unaffected since January 2020.

The resolution is expected to be published today in the Official Gazette of the Government of Catalonia (DOGC). This opens the door so that from now on the last steps can be taken at the processing level, which place the start of works for 2024. For now, the new Councilor for Territory, Juli Fernández, it is not pronounced with the calendars. After the departure of Junts per Catalunya from the Government, the former mayor of Sabadell assumed responsibility for this area just nine days ago. Despite this, Fernández states that "the will is to go as fast as possible" and already advances that "a trunk line in this department will be the promotion of public rail transport, and the new Tarragona tram is a clear example of this."

«A trunk line of the Department will be the promotion of public rail transport, and the new tram is a clear example of this»

The informative study confirms the implementation of this tramway system in the section from Cambrils Center to Vila-seca station, passing through Salou-PortAventura. Practically the entire route will be made by 'recovering' the old platform of the coastline, which will be completely dismantled to eliminate the barrier effect of the old infrastructure. Subsequently, the new track system will be installed, more integrated urbanistically, with international gauge and, in some urban sections, even without catenaries. "When we talked to the town councils we saw that this was a very sensitive issue and, in fact, already in the allegations they told us that they did not want it, so we are going to study whether some sections can be done without a catenary, despite the fact that in no In this case, we are talking about the same system as in the conventional railway”, explains the general director of Infrastructures of the Mobility, David Prat.

The only section that will have to be built from scratch is the one that will connect Salou-PortAventura stationson Alcalde Pere Molas avenue, with Vila-seca. This represents between four and five kilometers in length and the final route must be defined from now on.

The document does not include the branches from Cambrils Center to the new Adif station in the northern part of the municipality. Nor the one that will link the Vila-seca terminal with the future intermodal station to be built at the intersection of the Mediterrani Corridor and the Tarragona-Reus road. "Even if they are not here, we will speed up the studies and projects as much as we can to try to get them up to date," says Prat.

Until the intermodal

In the case of the branch line that will connect with the new Cambrils station, one of the main drawbacks is of a technical nature, since despite the fact that it is a relatively short stretch –which is less than a kilometer long– it requires crossing the River of Alforja. Regarding the connection with the future Vila-seca intermodal station, the Generalitat justifies that "when the processing of this study began, in 2021, the Ministry had not yet ruled on the definitive location of this central station." As soon as the technical characteristics of what this terminal will be like are known – which according to the commitment with Madrid has to be under construction in 2026 – the Catalan administration assures that it will activate the definition of the project for the new branch, so that both actions “are aligned” . Finally, the informative study also includes the workshop area and garages, which will be located on land next to the Vila-seca terminal, where the convoys will sleep and maintenance will be carried out.

In the next "days or weeks" the construction study of the first phase will be awarded

Prat affirms that the final approval of this informative study "is a very important step." “It is a legal document that makes a reservation of space, so that it tells us that the tram is going to pass through here,” he says. A step that “had never been achieved”, despite the fact that the tramway project has been discussed in this territory for more than fifteen years.

new step

The definitive approval of this informative study comes one year after the initial approval of the document, which was later completed with the contributions of the mayors and the arguments phase. Recently, it was also approved Environmental Impact Statement (DIA), which validated the planned action and guaranteed that the layout of the Adif's conventional route, to link with Tarragona and Reus for the second phase. However, there is still one last step: constructive study.

As the minister advances "in the next few hours or days" he will be awarded the drafting of this document, which is the one that will go into detail about the new infrastructure. In addition to defining the layout of the future track and those sections in which there will be a catenary or not or if there will be one or two tracks. It will also go into detail about expropriations and aspects such as urban integration, security and traffic light coordination.

Along with the aspects related to the track, the construction project will also define what the new tram stations will be like and their exact location, taking into account that the informative study already draws fourteen terminals.

This phase of the project was put out to tender by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat last February, for a value of €1.9 million and the expected completion time is 18 months. This allows us to make an estimate of the calendar that comes from now on, according to which early 2024 The first works could go out to tender. And it is that, during the month of August, the public company already approved its commissioning program for actions, which included a €150 million for this purpose, which is the estimated amount that the first phase of the project will cost. "It's an insurance policy," says Prat about it.

In parallel, Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat, which will be the one to operate the line, plans to put out to tender in the "next few weeks" the purchase of the "six or seven" convoys in addition to the material for the workshops.

Conversations with Adif

The tramway project is on track, while the Department of Territory is continuing talks with Adif for the transfer of the old platform on which the dismantling of the old road must be carried out. The formula that is being proposed is a municipal concession so that the Generalitat can take over the land at no cost to the Catalan administration. Prat affirms that "we are reaching an agreement" that would only include the land that will be affected by the new project. The rest will remain in the hands of the City Councils, which must formalize the agreement with Adif. «The important thing is that when we tender the works, this is signed and the project does not stop us. We have margin, ”says Prat.

While this first phase is already well defined, the Generalitat and the City Councils of Tarragona and Reus They have on the table the challenge of defining the second part of the project, which is the one that will allow linking with these two cities, as well as their penetration into the urban fabric. This part is the one that must allow reaching the figure of 9 million annual travelers which is the demand that the informative study contemplates that this infrastructure will have. In this regard, Juli Fernández affirms that this investment will contribute to "strengthening public transport in the country's second largest metropolitan area in which now only 18% of mobility is by public transport." With the tram, this percentage is expected to reach 25%. For this reason, the new minister affirms that "the commitment to the tramway is total".

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