The Pajares ramp says goodbye after 139 years uniting both regions

La Perruca Tunnel, farewell to the old railway connection between Asturias and León

Spain is a very mountainous country and that is why the construction of railway lines on its soil has always involved great challenges.

A walk through Doai, a lonely railway station that is the deepest in Japan
The Sphinx observatory and Jungfraujoch, a railway station at more than 3,400 meters

A particularly mountainous area of the country is the northwest. The Galaico-Leonese massif has traditionally been a great barrier between Galicia and central Spain and the same occurs with the Cantabrian mountain range, which crosses the north of Spain parallel to the Cantabrian Sea. To overcome this mountain range and allow rail traffic between Asturias and León, on August 15, 1884, the Perruca tunnel was inaugurated, which at the time was the longest in Spain. Its inauguration took place in the presence of the then King of Spain, Alfonso XII.

The inauguration of the Perruca tunnel on August 15, 1884 (Image: La Ilustración Española y Americana, August 30, 1884).

The tunnel measures 3,071 meters long, in a perfect straight line - a feat taking into account the means of the time - that descends towards Asturias: its northern mouth is 50 meters lower than the south mouth. The tunnel is part of the so-called Pajares ramp, which descends from the Leonese part to the Asturian part, reaching 1,270 meters of altitude in the highest part of the line. This line was a colossal challenge, which involved the construction of 61 tunnels and more than 150 bridges. As a curiosity, due to the power required by the locomotives to ascend that route, the Pajares ramp was the first Spanish railway line electrified with 3 kV direct current in 1924.

The Perruca tunnel (Photo: L.G.M/ForoTrenes).

Due to its position, this railway line suffers inclement weather that includes heavy snowfall in winter, so some false tunnels were also built along its route to prevent snow from obstructing the passage of the trains. After 139 years of service, this 42.7 kilometer line comes to an end. On November 29, an Alvia S-130 train passed through there for the last time and this fall they have circulated on it the last freight trains, after the inauguration of the new León-Asturias high-speed line, with new tunnels in Pajares of 24.6 km, the second longest in Spain.

On November 29, El Lobo de las Hispanias published an interesting tour by bicycle between Pola de Gordón and the La Perruca Tunnel, showing what the line was like and also the new tunnels of the Pajares Bypass:

A few months ago, ADIF published this video showing a heavy snowfall that occurred in 2004 on the Pajares ramp, which gives us an idea of the conditions in which we had to travel on that line. In the video we see the numerous tunnels and bridges that are on this ramp:

In this other ADIF video you can see the route of the new Pajares Bypass (in blue), 37 km shorter than the route of the old Pajares ramp (which appears in green):


Main image: El Lobo de las Hispanias

Don't miss the news and content that interest you. Receive the free daily newsletter in your email:

Opina sobre esta entrada:

Debes iniciar sesión para comentar. Pulsa aquí para iniciar sesión. Si aún no te has registrado, pulsa aquí para registrarte.