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Trans-Pyrenean Central Corridor, Spain - France


The Trans-Pyrenean Central Corridor (TCP in French) has been planned to link the rail networks of France and Spain through a new high-performance infrastructure crossing the Pyrenees, through a very long tunnel.

It was part of the axis 16 of the Trans-European Transport Network from 2004 to 2011, a construction project of large freight corridors of the European Union. October 19th, 2011 Trans-European Transport Network was revised and the TCP no longer appears of first interest. Nowadays, there is no clear provision on its construction.

Ten possible alternatives are being considered. All the alternatives would require the construction of a very long Trans-Pyrenean tunnel at low altitude, to avoid having to climb the slopes of the Pyrenees which would drastically limit the capacity of freight trains. The required length of the mentioned tunnel varies according to the selected alternative between 62.6 and 34.9 kilometres. It would also be necessary to build other shorter tunnels to complete the line, which according to alternative would totally mean between 49 and 119 kilometres of tunnels.

Several small platforms are opposing the project in both side of the Pyrenees whereas some lobbies still support it. It could be a project of interest for the Spanish state for avoiding the passage through Mediterranean (Catalonia) and Atlantic (Basque Country) corridors. In fact, those two states have been pushing for more autonomy or even independence for long time, while the Spanish state wants to have the infrastructure project under its complete control. The two main Spanish political parties have manifested their interest in the TCP being prioritised by the EU.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Trans-Pyrenean Central Corridor, Spain - France
State or province:Aragon (Spain), Midi-Pyrénées (France )
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Tourism services
Transportation Services

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Several tunnels. The longest could be of about 60 km.

Type of populationRural
Relevant government actors:Spanish state through the Ministry of Development., Aragon regional Government, French state
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Union (EU)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Association Contre le Tunnel Inutile dans les Vallées d’Ailleurs et du Lavedan (ACTIVAL), Plataforma No a la TCP por Sobrarbe

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Development of alternative proposals
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Proposal and development of alternatives:- Reopening the track through Canfranc, nowadays closed.
- Promote other routes with more infrastructure already built i.e. Atlantic and Mediterranean corridors.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Too early to assess. However, the EJOs, although small, they are contributing to raise awareness with regard to the impacts of the project as well as proposing alternatives. Furthermore, the fact that the project has been removed from the priority list of European infrastructures and the lack of money to fund it seem to be seriously undermining the feasibility of TCP.

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network:

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Article supporting the project:

Val, S. and Blazquez, N. Analysis of trans-Pyrenean railway bottlenecks. International Journal of Procurement Management, Volume 2, Number 4, 26 May 2009 , pp. 388-402(15)

French association defending the project (in French):

Newspaper article in French:

Wikipedia site (in Spanish): ía_central_del_Pirineo

Foundation created by the Aragon Government to promote the project:

Newspaper article in Spanish:

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Actival association website (in French)

Statement against the project in English:

Videos from Actival:

Other comments:Actival association website (in French):; statement against the project in English:

Meta information

Contributor:Alfred Burballa Noria
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:7