• Menu
  • Menu

New Train Service Between Madrid And Casablanca Could Happen

A new train service could run between Madrid's Atocha Station and Casablanca in Morocco
A new train service could run between Madrid’s Atocha Station and Casablanca in Morocco [Image by javier alamo from Pixabay]
A plan was first discussed in 1979 to connect Madrid, Spain to Casablanca in Morocco but didn’t come to fruition. However, now, Spain’s transport minister is keen to revive the plan to connect the two cities for the first time. While the plan to build a tunnel linking Spain and Morocco didn’t happen 45 years ago, discussions are now ongoing. If the plan does go ahead, the rail link between Madrid and Casablanca could be built in time for the 2030 FIFA World Cup. The sports event is set to be hosted jointly by Spain, Morocco and Portugal.

Train travel between Spain and Morocco

Tangier, Morocco
Tangier, Morocco [Image by Dany from Pixabay]
Currently, flights between Spain’s capital, Madrid, and the Moroccan city of Tangier take an hour and a half. Meanwhile, Tangier has been a strategic gateway between Europe and Africa since Phoenician times. Traveling by car between Madrid and Tangier, including a ferry ride along the way, takes nine hours.

If plans do go ahead, a tunnel will be built under the Strait of Gibraltar to launch a new train service between the two countries. The train would have stops in Madrid and Casablanca, around 300 km (186 mi) south of Tangier. It has been estimated that the entire train journey would take around five and a half hours and would be a more sustainable travel option.

How much is known so far about the train link from Europe to Africa?

Casablanca [Image by ALSKA from Pixabay]
While plans were initially discussed 45 years ago, plans for a survey are finally being made. The National Company for the Studies of the Strait of Gibraltar in Morocco (SNED) and its Spanish counterpart, the Spanish Society for Fixed Communication across the Strait of Gibraltar (SECEGSA) are reportedly undertaking surveys in the area to assess the viability of the project, known as the “Fixed Link” in the 2020s.

During March, Spanish Foreign Minister, Oscar Puente visited Morocco to put the plan into action. At the time, he said a date would be set for “as soon as possible” for a meeting to confirm the new transport link.

More about the train tunnel between Spain and Morocco

Train travel could be planned between Spain and Morocco
[Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay]
According to Euronews, should the plan be found viable, the new tunnel would be 27.5 km (17 mi) in length. Meanwhile, it is too early to confirm costs for the train link, but estimates would run into billions of euros.

When Puente met with Moroccan officials in the country’s capital of Rabat, relations were reportedly positive between the two countries. Moreover, the link between Spain and Morocco would also help to promote the development of better infrastructure and transport links in the North African country.

In February last year, Raquel Sanchez, Puente’s predecessor had renewed discussions on the project, saying:

We are going to give impetus to the studies of the Fixed Link Project for the Strait of Gibraltar, which was initiated by both countries 40 years ago. A strategic project for Spain and Morocco, and also for Europe and Africa.

Meanwhile, Spain’s government has allocated €2.3 million in funds for the SECEGSA to look further into the project. Moreover, Railtech, a rail news website, reported that the tunnel’s route would run from Punta Paloma in Tarifa, Spain to Punta Malabata in the Bay of Tangiers. Reportedly, the tunnel would be dug to a maximum depth of 300 m (984 ft) and would feature a maximum gradient of three percent.

It is estimated that the proj4ect would take up to five years to complete, which means it could well be ready in time for the FIFA World Cup, making an effective way to connect the two host countries.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *