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Transportation in Spain is characterized by an extensive network of roads, railways, rapid transit, air routes, and ports. Its geographic location makes it an important link between Europe, Africa, and the New World. Major forms of transit generally radiate from the capital, Madrid, located in the center of the country, to link with the capitals of the autonomous communities. Spanish transit is marked by a high degree of integration between its long distance railway system and inner-city metro systems, although the historic use of broad gauge has limited integration with its neighbors. Spain is currently working to increase and improve linkage with the rail systems of France and Portugal, including high-speed rail between Madrid and Lisbon[1]. Spain possesses a highly developed highway system, with both tolled and freeways. Air traffic is routed through several international and regional airports, the largest of which is Barajas International Airport in Madrid. Ferry services operate regular lines to many ports in Europe and Africa, as well as the autonomous communities and cities of the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Ceuta, and Melilla.

Contents

Railways

Spanish Railways network

Spanish railways date from 1848. The total route length in 2004[2] was 14,781 km (8,791 km electrified)

broad gauge (1668 mm): 11,829 km (6,950 km electrified at 3 kV DC)
standard gauge (1435 mm): 998 km (all electrified at 25 kV AC)
narrow gauge (1000 mm): 1,926 km (815 km electrified)
narrow gauge (914 mm): 28 km (all electrified)

Most railways are operated by RENFE; narrow-gauge lines are operated by FEVE and other carriers in individual autonomous communitites. It is proposed to build or convert more standard-gauge lines, including some dual gauging of broad-gauge lines, especially where these lines link to adjacent countries.

A high-speed rail line (AVE) between Madrid and Seville was completed in 1992. In 2003, high-speed service was inaugurated on a new line from Madrid to Lleida and extended to Barcelona in 2008. The same year, lines from Madrid to Valladolid and from Córdoba to Málaga were inaugurated.[citation needed]

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Cities with metro/light rail systems

Madrid metro

Railway links with adjacent countries

  • France France - yes - break-of-gauge 1668mm/1435mm (new high-speed lines will link without any break-of-gauge)
  • Morocco Morocco - no - proposed undersea tunnel.

Tunnel across the Strait of Gibraltar

In December 2003, Spain and Morocco agreed to explore the construction of an undersea rail tunnel to connect their rail systems. The gauge of the tunnel would be 1435mm to match the proposed construction and conversion of significant parts of the existing broad gauge system to standard gauge.[3]

Road system

Main Page: - List of autopistas and autovías in Spain

The current vehicle registration plate design.
A-67. Autovía de la Meseta (the Meseta Freeway) in Cantabria.

total: 346,858 km (1997 est.).

paved: 343,389 km (including 14,689 km of expressways).

unpaved: 3,469 km.

Also see: Autopista

Waterways

1,045 km, but of minor economic importance

Pipelines

gas 7,962 km; oil 622 km; refined products 3,447 km (2006)

Ports and harbours

The most important port and harbours are Algeciras, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao others: Cádiz, Cartagena, Ceuta, Huelva, La Coruña, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Málaga, Melilla, Gijón, Palma de Mallorca, Saguntum, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Los Cristianos (Tenerife), Santander, Tarragona, Vigo, Motril, Almería, Seville, Castellón de la Plana, Alicante, Pasaia, Avilés, and Ferrol.

Merchant marine

total: 169 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,902,839 GRT/1,874,161 metric tons deadweight (DWT)
ships by type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 13, chemical tanker 14, container 27, liquefied gas 9, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 49, petroleum tanker 15, refrigerated cargo 5, roll on/roll off 20, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 5 (2006)

Air transport

Major spanish airports

Airports - with paved runways

List of airports in Spain
total: 96
10,000 ft (3,048 m) and over 16
8,000 to 9,999 ft (2,438 to 3,047 m): 10
5,000 to 7,999 ft (1,524 to 2,437 m): 20
3,000 to 4,999 ft (914 to 1,523 m): 24
under 3,000 ft (914 m): 26 (2006 est.)

Main airports are Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Málaga, Gran Canaria, Alicante and Tenerife South.

An Airbus A321 of Spanish airline Iberia

Airports - with unpaved runways


total: 61
5,000 to 7,999 ft (1,524 to 2,437 m): 2
3,000 to 4,999 ft (914 to 1,523 m): 15
under 3,000 ft (914 m): 44 (2006 est.)

Airlines based in Spain

Heliports

298 (2009)[citation needed]

References


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