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In Europe, beyond the Alps, Spain and Italy are very prolific tunnel-diggers.
My God, you should have seen how many tunnels (both for metro and for normal automobile traffic) have been drilled in Madrid over the last 10 years. It's insane.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 12th, 2005 at 08:03:56 AM EST
Yeah, I know that Madrid now has the world's sixth longest subway network and may become third, with a third of the population of the smallest before it... now if only subways were built at the tenth of Madrid's speed in Budapest... and just half as economically as the Metrosur...

(BTW, as for what I am less happy about, I read that a section of Madrid's circular highway is now digged by the world's two widest TBMs, both over 15 m.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Dec 12th, 2005 at 08:53:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hmmm, I suspect you have a more positive opinion of Metrosur than most people in Madrid, but you actually know the facts and can put them in context. Can you elaborate?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 12th, 2005 at 09:01:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect you have a more positive opinion of Metrosur than most people in Madrid

Well, I don't know about Madrileans' opinions, but planning and building 40 km of subways, buying and putting into working order trains for them in three years and of only €1 billion is a big feat. For comparison, Metro line 4 in Budapest may start construction after 15 years of squabbling and planning next year, and not opened until 2010, even tough it is only 7.5 km, and it will colst nearly a billion.

hat is Madrileans' problem with it? Unnecessary politicians' investment, impractical, delays?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Dec 12th, 2005 at 09:08:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PP politicians have a penchant for Pharaoh-like public works. Ruiz Gallardon is reponsible for a massive expansion of the Metro network when he was Regional president (this explains Metrosur and the Metro link to the airport), while at the same time the Mayor, Alvarez del Manzano (also from the PP but not friendly with R-G) spent the best part of 8 years digging up streets and digging underpasses.

Ruiz-Gallardon has now replace Alvarez del Manzano as mayor.

I usually joke that someone's cousing must have bought a TBM and needs to use it, as well as get public funds to pay it off.

Ruiz Gallardon has left Madrid with an outstanding, cheap Metro network, and I supposed he'll eventually be recognized for that. The drilling of road underpasses for private traffic is much more disruptive and less useful.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 12th, 2005 at 09:15:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, I ocassionally come across Spanish-language articles, which I can more or less decipher with my minimal Latin (and emerging French) knowledge. But I always wondered about the easy Spanish name of TBMs - tuneladora[sp?] -, how was that word formed and what does it mean literally?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 12th, 2005 at 09:21:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tuneladora is a neologism, I believe.

Túnel is a tunnel, obviously.

Tunelar is "to drill tunnels". I am not sure it was standard Spanish (now, post Ruiz-Gallardon, it is!).

Tuneladora is "she who drills tunnels". This is because máquina is of the feminine grammatical gender in Spanish.

By analogy, a drill is taladro or taladradora (a drill bit is not taladro but broca, don't ask me why). Taladrar means to bore a hole. So, TBM does translate as taladradora, but those are hand-held so I suppose it's good they came up with a new term.

Another word for "boring holes" is trepanar, and trépano is the instrument used.

"Hole boring" can also be translated as aburrir a los agujeros, but that's just a snark.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 12th, 2005 at 09:31:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Broca may perhaps relate to "broach" a five sided tapered reamer once used in metal working (now in clockmaking)
by dmun on Thu Dec 15th, 2005 at 11:20:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Talking about PP public works and their cousins... Did you hear about the stretch of high-speed line built in Girona (between Barcelona and the French border) pretty much on quicksand? The high-speed train can't run very fast on that track, I'm told.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 12th, 2005 at 09:43:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Girona? Didn't heard of it, but sounds strange: to my knowledge, the high-speed section there (in tunnel, along with the new line) didn't even begin construction!

On the other hand, you mentioned Pharaonic PP projects, I mentioned cheap projects, and the worst combination was the Madrid-Barcelona line, so bad it is put up as bad example across Europe:

  • On the already opened section until Lleida, dismissing geologists, near Zaragoza the line was built upon a limestone plateau in which there are constantly implosions caused by water - one happened just next to the line when opening, causing speed restrictions (maybe you heard this?).

  • Also on the opened section, Aznar's government boldly went for betting on the first European installation of the new all-European train control/signalling system ERTMS Level 2, just handing the tender to the cheapest offer from Ansaldo/Italy. But the technology just couldn't come out of its teething troubles, not Ansaldo's version, and not even until today, and the standard Spanish system had to be installed as back-up - meaning much slower speeds...

  • On the Lleida-Barcelona section, again dismissing the warnings of geologists, the line was planned to run down from the mountains towards the Mediterranean along the simplest route, on the side of a valley - but that valley side is instable, it is moving, and two tunnels were badly deformed in just a few months - with years of delay and a hundred million extra cost, some emergency solution was needed...

  • Meanwhile, the agreement with the Barcelona city council just couldn't be finished, so the final leg started construction also late.

(To be fair, ERTMS Lev 2 had its problems in other countries and from other manufacturers too, and Siemens - one of the train deliverers, see my earlier Highest Speed diary - is also way late - because it made an offer based on a German train it made jointly with Bombardier, and assumed they'll get the licenses easily... but didn't get them at all, so Siemens had to re-develop all Bombardier parts...)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Dec 12th, 2005 at 10:31:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(in tunnel, along with the new line)

I mean, along with the old line (the broad gauge, to-be-converted-to-standard-gauge, for-freight/local trains line).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Dec 12th, 2005 at 10:33:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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