The Anonymous Widower

Remodelled Station Opens In Canfranc Ahead Of Reopening Of Cross-Border Link

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the introductory paragraph.

On April 15, a RENFE DMU carrying invited guests from Zaragoza became the first train to arrive at the remodelled and relocated station in Canfranc, marking a further step in the long-running plan to reinstate the railway through the Pyrénées mountains linking Pau with Huesca.

I have an ambition to visit Canfranc station, where the Spanish and French railways meet at one of the largest stations in Europe.

  • On the French side the Pau-Canfranc Railway is gradually being reopened.
  • On the Spanish side there is a railway to Zaragoza, from where there are high speed trains to Barcelona and Madrid.

Both routes appear to be mainly single-track

There would appear to be pressure for reopening  the full route In a Section entitled Renovation and Reopening, Wikipedia says this.

In present economic development, the transport route beneath the Aspe peak via the Gave d’Aspe valley is changing from a relatively unknown into a major transport channel. This is not only due to the regional pressure between Bordeaux and Zaragoza (which on the Spanish side alone has a regional population of 1 million people), but also the importance of the international route between Paris and Valencia. These economic pressures – in part driven by the General Motors plant located in Zaragoza – have in recent years resulted in heavy truck and car traffic on the roads of the upper Gave d’Aspe valley, and an increased number of accidents.

Sounds like this indicates a powerful case.

Madrid And London By The Scenic Rail Route

The route would be as follows.

  • Madrid and Zaragoza by High Speed Train.
  • Zaragoza and Canfranc by local train  through the mountains.
  • Canfranc and Pau by local train  through the mountains.
  • Pau and Paris by TGV
  • Paris and London via Eurostar.


  1. According to the Railway Gazette, a luxury hotel is being built at Canfranc.
  2. Bordeaux is a good city for an overnight stop.
  3. Prior to the covids, Eurostar were hoping to run a direct London and Bordeaux service.

I hope to do this trip in the next couple of years.

April 19, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Please find a link below to Chris Tarrant visit to Canfranc Station-

    I suppose one advantage of the Iberian gauge is it will provide more space for modern TGV type railway.

    Comment by Melvyn | April 19, 2021 | Reply

    • Thanks! Portillo was also there!

      Incidentally, all Spanish High Speed Lines are standard gauge and two Spanish train builders CAF and Talgo have set up factories in the UK and will be bidding for the trains for High Speed Two.

      Talgo have setup at Longannet near Rosyth and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them build trains there for Russia and East Europe.

      It will be easier to export trains from Longannet to Russia vt ship, than from Central Spain. They also make some trains for the Germans and other standard gauge parts of Europe. So will they export those from Longannet, as there will be no gauge change.

      Longannet allows both ships and rail delivery for standard gauge trains. But Central Span would be difficult.

      I just wonder, if this is why they are building their new factory at Longannet.

      They are vcertainly a company not to be underestimated.

      Comment by AnonW | April 19, 2021 | Reply

  2. There are lots of videos on YouTube about the regeneration of the line. Mostly in Spanish & French. The route on the Spanish side had been open all the time but in a very run-down state. The French side was abandoned and two bridges removed. Then RENFE tidied up the stations, track & signalling on their side. Then the restoration works took place on the original station. I am not sure what progress there is on the French side.

    It certainly is a spectacular route to travel on from what I have seen so far.

    Comment by MauriceGReed | April 20, 2021 | Reply

  3. Adif (the organisation responsible for tracks in Spain) reports ( – Spanish only) that they’ve taken the first steps (at the S end) on converting to standard gauge and installing ERTMS. AIUI, the line will be closed for several months while the track laying proceeds. On the French side, there is agreement in principle on reopening, but (as ever) dependent on funds (EU, pls can we have some money?). AFAICS, there’s not been any progress on this recently. There would probably be some tourist traffic (people like me), but the Wikipedia entry says, the main driving force is not passenger traffic but freight.

    Comment by Peter Robins | September 28, 2022 | Reply

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