Photographic post: The railway Zaragoza-Pau and the Canfranc International Station

This post is also available in: Spanish

In 2009, a study titled “Valoración de una línea de ferrocarril internacional por el Pirineo central” (“An appraisal of an international railway line through the Central Pyrinees”) was released. It is the doctoral thesis written a little time before by Jürg Suter –a student of the University of Bern- which analyses the possibilities of a railway service of the line Zaragoza-Canfranc-Pau, railway also known as “El Canfranero”.

Source: SUTER

El Canfranero is also the name of the webpage that Jürg dedicated to this mythical railway throughout his work.

In 2007, the Jürg Suter´s thesis got the annual award of the Swiss Society of Applied Geography.

Among the comments said at any level about El Canfranero -its technical and economical viability, the passengers and demand and its possibilities as transportation route, its environmental impact and sustainability, and so on- this document is one of the most reliable sources.

The study´s conclusion is an unequivocal justification for re-opening the railway line between Zaragoza and Pau (France) throughout Canfranc, interrupted since 1970 due to an accident occurred in the French side of the route.

Such justification is based on the crossover results of the research, of which some of the conclusions are:

“The direct line Zaragoza-Canfranc-Pau can be managed in a globally effective way”

“Experiences of carrier companies show the technical and operation possibilities of the line in order to displace the transportation of goods from road to railway”

“Both tourism and regional and long distance trains prove enough demand for a sustainable development of the line”

“Goods transportation costs by road are some 4,9 times higher than the same transportation by train and the passengers transport, about 3,3 times more expensive”

“Regarding the environmental efficiency, the road results are much worse than the railway (ratio 1 to 5). In addition, must be considered the effect of road accidents”

“With a offer-driven approach, it can be improved both the profitability of the carrier companies and the quality of life, what promotes the development of the respective regions

“The service demand of passengers and goods in the railway line Zaragoza-Canfranc-Pau is high enough”

“The economic calculations of the time-schedule model shows the profitability of the Canfranc´s line”

Days ago, I visited the most emblematic location of El Canfranero, the Canfranc International Railway Station.

Once you are there, you understand the Jürg Suter´s study better, and understand less the decisions of public representatives (which does´t worths any comment here, at the moment)

A place and sensation difficult to explain with words.

SUTER, JÜRG. 2009. Valoración de una línea de ferrocarril internacional por el Pirineo central. Geographica Bernensia.