Les gares à grande vitesse du corridor méditerranéen espagnol : vers la politisation d’un processus métropolitain - École des Ponts ParisTech Access content directly
Journal Articles Géotransports Year : 2016

The Spanish Mediterranean Corridor High-speed Rail Stations: Towards the Politisation of a Metropolitan Process

Les gares à grande vitesse du corridor méditerranéen espagnol : vers la politisation d’un processus métropolitain


Spain faces a quick development of a very extensive high-speed rail network since 1992. It now reaches more than 2.500 km. This network was set together with numerous projects of new stations both in big and intermediate cities throughout the whole country. As it was decided to create a brand new network according to the European norms and gauge, the enlargement and adaptation of stations was made necessary. High-speed was conceived as a symbol of modernity and as a way to improve the rank of the served cities both in Spain and Europe. The Mediterranean Corridor has a particular status in this network. It is a long term project that includes freight and passenger European gauge high-quality of service lines along the Mediterranean. One of the sections of this project is the implementation of a coastal high-speed line, which would be the very first great axis that would not go through Madrid. It would connect Barcelona and Valencia together, as well as a number of intermediate cities such as Alicante, Tarragona and Castellón. It would also make possible a direct connection of these cities to the rest of Europe. In this context, the end of line situation of the littoral cities would be transformed into a nodal situation interconnecting the radial main network to a powerful peripheral axis. The main cities (Barcelona and Valencia) take advantage of this status modification in order to promote particularly ambitious underground station projects which are associated to important urban renewal operations (urban green lines, housing, business districts…). They therefore try to improve their image and metropolitan status. The intermediate cities try to reach a place in the high-speed network by getting a new high-speed station, no matter if the line is radial or axial. Nevertheless, they take the Mediterranean Corridor project as an argument. Opposite, in the negotiation process between the cities and the government to define the stops on the high-speed lines, the stations may be used as a way of settling the cities in the radial-shape network and of delaying the achievement of the Mediterranean axis. The station projects show at the same time the cities’ metropolitan aim, the strong competition between the great littoral cities themselves, and also the sharp political tension between the Mediterranean regions and Madrid as the national capital. Thus, the debate on the high-speed stations is one of the topics crystallising a geopolitical question. Consequently, the metropolitan aims associated to the new high-speed stations receive an additional dimension: the stations become political objects and they therefore exceed their function of communication exchangers. The case study of the Mediterranean corridor high-speed stations is particularly interesting because it mixes urban planning stakes to local politics and to national geopolitics.
Le développement rapide d’un réseau à grande vitesse très étendu en Espagne s’est accompagné de nombreux projets de gares nouvelles dans les villes grandes ou moyennes de tout le pays. Le corridor méditerranéen a un statut particulier dans le réseau. L’un des volets du projet est la mise en place d’une ligne à grande vitesse littorale qui serait le premier grand axe ne passant pas par Madrid. De ce fait, les villes littorales verraient leur statut de terminus ferroviaire se transformer en situation nodale d’interconnexion. Elles prennent appui sur ce changement de statut pour promouvoir des projets de gares particulièrement ambitieux, associés à d’importantes opérations de rénovation urbaine, dans une logique d’amélioration de leur image et de métropolisation. Ces projets traduisent à la fois une ambition métropolitaine, une rivalité entre les grandes villes littorales elles-mêmes, ainsi qu’une tension d’ordre politique entre le littoral méditerranéen et Madrid comme capitale nationale. Dès lors, les ambitions métropolitaines associées aux gares à grande vitesse prennent une dimension supplémentaire en faisant de ces gares des objets politiques dont la fonction dépasse largement celle d’échangeurs de communication.
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hal-01433305 , version 1 (12-01-2017)


  • HAL Id : hal-01433305 , version 1


Eloïse Libourel. Les gares à grande vitesse du corridor méditerranéen espagnol : vers la politisation d’un processus métropolitain. Géotransports, 2016, 5-6, pp.57-72. ⟨hal-01433305⟩
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