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A new underwater tunnel may connect Europe and Africa by train



The idea of a tunnel linking Spain and Morocco was first discussed in 1979 and is now being revived by Spain’s transport minister. The tunnel, known as the ‘Fixed Link’, would connect Madrid and Tangier, offering a more sustainable travel option than current flights and ferries. The proposed tunnel would be 27.6km in length and could potentially be ready in time for the 2030 FIFA World Cup, hosted jointly by Morocco, Spain, and Portugal.

Despite being announced decades ago, the potential tunnel project is now being assessed by Morocco’s National Company for the Studies of the Strait of Gibraltar and Spain’s Spanish Society for Fixed Communication across the Strait of Gibraltar. Both countries are currently conducting surveys to determine the viability of the project in the 2020s. The Spanish foreign minister, Oscar Puente, recently visited Morocco to move the plan forward, emphasizing the positive relations between the two nations as essential for promoting better infrastructure and transport links.

The Spanish government has allocated €2.3 million for further studies on the Fixed Link Project. The proposed tunnel route would run from Punta Paloma in Tarifa to Punta Malabata in the Bay of Tangiers, with a maximum depth of 300 meters and a maximum gradient of three percent. If the project proceeds, the tunnel could take up to five years to complete, potentially making it operational in time for the 2030 FIFA World Cup. The tunnel would provide a new train service between Spain and Morocco, offering stops from Madrid to Casablanca in a five and a half-hour journey.

The tunnel under the Strait of Gibraltar would significantly reduce travel time between Spain and Morocco, as flights currently take an hour and a half, and driving nine hours including a ferry ride. The proposed tunnel would serve as a vital connection between Europe and Africa, benefiting both regions in terms of trade, tourism, and transportation. The project is considered strategic for both Spain and Morocco, as well as for Europe and Africa, highlighting the significant potential impact of the Fixed Link on regional infrastructure and development.

As discussions on the tunnel project continue, Spain and Morocco are working together to advance the initiative and bring it to fruition. With the support of funding and ongoing surveys, the Fixed Link Project could become a reality, providing a crucial transportation link between the two countries. The completion of the tunnel would mark a significant achievement in connecting Europe and Africa and would offer a sustainable and efficient travel option for individuals and goods. If successful, the tunnel could become a landmark project that enhances connectivity and cooperation between Spain, Morocco, and the broader region.

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