Girona (ACN).- The High-Speed Train service between Barcelona and France will suffer from another delay and it will not be operational until at least the third quarter of 2013, according to the Catalan Government. This means almost one more year from the scheduled date: December 2012. The reason is that two essential parts of the project managed by the Spanish Government, which pays for the infrastructure, are still pending. According to the Catalan Government’s Deputy Minister for Mobility and Territory, Damià Calvet, these two sections total €33 million, a very small amount compared to the global cost of the project. According to Calvet, this delay “has no technical nor economic reasoning”. Calvet announced the delay in Girona on Thursday, which he said was officially communicated to him on Wednesday by the Spanish Ministry of Transport and Public Works. Currently Catalonia and France are already connected through a High-Speed Train servie, but only between the Catalan city of Figueres and the French city of Perpignan, separated by 50 kilometres. The 135 kilometres of railway between Figueres and Barcelona are almost fully completed, except in two parts: less than 20 kilometres at the exit of Barcelona and at the section through the city of Girona.
The Catalan Government’s Deputy Minister explained that the Spanish Government has still to allocate the installation of the rail tracks from the railway northbound from Barcelona, which is less than 20 kilometres long. Most of the infrastructure is already built but the rails are still missing between Barcelona and Mollet del Vallès. According to Calvet this work has a cost of only €3 million and would be carried out in 10 months. However, according to him, the work has not even been allocated to a construction company yet, despite the track foundation and the electric power infrastructure has been totally finished many months ago. The other pending work is the adaptation of the platforms of Girona’s provisional train station for High-Speed Trains, which is being built underground into the tunnel crossing the city and next to the current station. This work would cost €30 million and would last 16 months, according to Calvet.
“We are speaking about €33 million in total, an amount that does not justify a new delay”, he said. Nonetheless, Calvet was sceptical about the new deadline due to the constant delays this work has been suffering from. Calvet added that originally, Barcelona should have been linked with France with a High-Speed Train “by 2009, then at the end of 2012 and now in 2013”. He criticised the former Spanish Government, as “it hid” information and did not allocate the work. However he said that “the new Spanish Minister for Transport and Public Works is already working to allocate the pending works of the project”.