Tracks to the future

June 1, 2015

Spain’s mountainous landscapes are one of its greatest natural assets, but the rugged terrain also poses challenges to infrastructure projects. The rapid growth of Spain’s High Speed Rail network involves massive engineering works, and nowhere more than the section of the Madrid-Galicia High Speed Line currently under construction between Lubián and Ourense.

This section of line cuts through the southern foothills of the Sierra de San Mamede and Sierra de Fial das Corzas mountain ranges, requiring the construction of a 7 500-meter tunnel, the Prado Tunnel.

Spanish construction company TECSA S.A. in partnership with Dragados S.A. (both integrated within the ACS Group) won the contract for the new tunnel construction and turned to Atlas Copco for the specialist equipment needed for this project. “This section is topographically and geologically a challenge,” says Viriato Diego Otero, TECSA’s tunnel manager.

“We excavate by blasting and drilling, and we need machinery that delivers accuracy, productivity and reliability. Atlas Copco drilling rigs and mobile concrete spraying units give us just that. They are vital components in our construction work. Atlas Copco supplied us with an on-site facility for commonly needed spares, and their technical support teams work alongside us. It’s a great partnership, one that helps us maximize efficiency and productivity.”

The project: A 7.6-kilometer tunnel for the new High Speed Rail line linking Madrid and Galicia, in Spain, to accommodate trains traveling up to 300 kilo­meters per hour.

The challenge: Working in ­remote mountainous terrain and tunneling though geologically complex rock formations.

The solution: Extensive use of Atlas Copco drilling rigs, including rock drills, specifically designed for harsh underground operations; wet spraying machine with ­MEYCO Potenza mobile units.

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