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Spanish double decker

Underground news

First contracts have just been let for an unusual double deck metro tunnel in Barcelona. The 40km Line 9 is to have a single 10.9m internal diameter circular bore, divided into upper and lower halves - one for each train direction.

Barcelona's geography has forced a very deep alignment, up to 70m below surface. The system was chosen to save costs on station excavation - platforms will be housed inside the large diameter bore. Access to platforms and ticketing will be within large cylindrical shafts 24m in diameter. High speed 2m/sec lifts will transfer passengers to the surface. Services and train control equipment will be installed between stations.

Contracts for first phase work, worth some £410M, were let at the end of July. The three packages are for a 3.3km stretch of line in cut and cover tunnel and two branches. A joint venture of Construcciones Rubau, and Construcciones Materialies y Pavimentos is undertaking the main package, which runs from Meridian Sagrera and includes construction of the shaft for TBM launches.

A 2.4km branch towards Badalona will be constructed using a soft ground EPB machine by a second joint venture between Dragados, Necso, ACS and Sorigue. A rock machine will be used for harder hillside granite on the 5.4km branch towards Santa Coloma. This section is to be tackled by a big joint venture of FCC, Construcciones Publicas y Civiles, Obrascon, FerrovialAgroman and Copisa, Constructora Pirenaica.

Three more sections of the route will be let as well, with completion due for 2007. The first phase completes in 2004.

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