Plans for a subsea tunnel that might ultimately connect Europe’s high-speed rail network to North Africa have been revived by the governments of Spain and Morocco with the assistance of EU financing.
According to a June 16, 2023 article in Spain’s state gazette, Spain has allocated €2.3 million (£2 million) on a design study for the Gibraltar strait fixed link, a railroad tunnel intended to connect the two nations.
The Spanish Society of Studies for a Fixed Link via the Strait of Gibraltar (SECEGSA), the organization charged with investigating alternative options for the project, will get the financing, which is granted through the EU’s Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan.
The project, also known as the “Europe-Africa Gibraltar strait fixed link,” has gained a lot of momentum since its start in 2009. The project will be restarted in April of this year, according to both governments. The proposed tunnel would span the nine-mile continental divide.
The idea was first proposed in the 1970s and codified in the 1980s, but little progress has been made since then. The organizations responsible with conducting the investigation lacked the necessary funding, and the joint committee established to advance the tunnel hasn’t met since 2009.
In 2018, Morocco’s first high-speed rail line opened, reviving expectations for a quick train link between Europe and Africa. Spain already has a sizable high-speed rail infrastructure that reaches the country’s southern coast. The beginning of a high-speed rail line connecting Tangier, Morocco, with Rabat and Casablanca has recently been established.
At a meeting in April, Spain’s transport minister Raquel Sanchez emphasized the project’s significance, saying, “After fourteen years, from Tangier in October 2009, we are going to give impetus to the studies of a project of maximum geostrategic importance for our countries and for relations between Europe and Africa.”
In addition, Sanchez said, “We are beginning a new stage in the revival of the fixed link project across the Strait of Gibraltar, which we launched in 1981, hand in hand.”