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The electrification of the Mérida-Puertollano line obtains a positive EIA

The Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge has given its approval for the execution of this project, which is part of the development of the Atlantic Corridor.

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The electrification project for the Mérida-Puertollano line, a section of Adif’s line 520 (Ciudad Real – Mérida), obtained a positive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) last week. This is a necessary step to be able to carry out the work on this Atlantic Corridor line, which is to be equipped with 2×25 kV AC 50 Hz electrification.

The resolution, taken on 16 April, was published in Monday’s BOE (Spanish Official State Gazette) after being requested by simplified procedure on 2 September 2022. During this period, the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO) analysed the impact on the natural environment that these facilities will have during their construction and operation.

The electrification of the Mérida-Puertollano line will have four traction substations (SE), six intermediate auto-transformer stations (ATI) and three final ones (ATF) to be built in the Puertollano-Mérida direction:

  • SE Brazatortas. pk. 226 500, left margin.
  • ATI 514.2. 237 265, right margin.
  • ATF 514.1. 259 880 right bank.
  • ATI 513.3. 274 700 right margin.
  • SE Almadén. 284 000 right bank.
  • ATI 513.2. 304 450 left margin.
  • ATF 513.1. 323 000 right bank.
  • ATI 512.3. 356 400 left bank.
  • SE Quintana. 366 200 left margin.
  • ATI 512.2. 389 750 right bank.
  • ATF 512.1. 404 300 left bank.
  • SE Don Álvaro. 445 850 right bank.
  • ATI 511.2. 425 750 left bank.

Environmental impact of the electrification of the Mérida-Puertollano line

According to the resolution, “The main impact that may occur during the construction phase is the change in the behaviour of fauna due to disturbances caused by noise and work activity”.

For this reason, Adif proposes to adopt measures such as carrying out the work during the day and outside the mating and breeding period of the most sensitive animal species. Therefore, the most annoying work will be avoided between February and August to protect the natural habits of these species.

The work contemplates the elimination and direct destruction of habitats due to the occupation and levelling of the areas where the substations and auto-transformation centres, the supports of the two high-voltage lines planned, and the new sections of the access roads will be located.

Once the electrification of the Mérida-Puertollano line comes into operation, the main impact on birds and flying mammals will be the risk of electrocution and collision with the power lines.

Given that only one support is used, and the arrangement of the insulators concerning the catenary, electrocution due to contact with the catenary is unlikely. The lattice structure of the poles minimises the risk of animals becoming trapped.

Los postes que se van a usar en la electrificación de la línea Mérida-Puertollano tienen una estructura de celosía para evitar el atrapamiento de fauna voladora.
The poles used by Adif have a lattice structure to prevent the entrapment of flying fauna.TORRENTE3.

To protect birdlife on the overhead contact line, Adif shall not install rigid insulators, slack bridges, self-valves or disconnectors in a dominant position above crossbars or at the head of supports.

To minimise the risk of collision, bird-saving devices are to be fitted on power line earth wires. The devices will consist of spirals 1 m in length x 0.3 m in diameter, orange or white in colour, arranged at least every 10 linear metres.

The electrification of the Mérida-Puertollano railway line is an important action in developing the Atlantic Corridor. It is part of Adif’s ambitious plans to electrify the conventional network.

This project will make rail freight transport even more sustainable, as it can use exclusively electric traction to travel from the Port of Valencia and the Mediterranean Corridor to Portugal.

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