Bilbao welcomes a third metro line

The new line will extend the network to the north of the city, adding six new stations

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Bilbao, the capital of the Basque Country, is building a new metro line designed to discourage private car use and boost the economy in the districts served.

Seven new stations

The new line will link the northern districts of Bilbao with San Antonio de Etxebarri to the east. Around 6.5 km long, line 3 will have seven stations: San Antonio, Otxarkoaga, Txurdinaga, Zurbaranbarri, Casco Viejo, Uribarri and Matiko, all but one of which are being built from scratch. The exception, Casco Viejo, is an interchange with metro lines 1 and 2 and the EuskoTren commuter rail services, and will be completely remodelled. When the line opens, trains should run every five minutes between San Antonio and Matiko.

Third busiest metro in Spain

The line is being built with the aim of reducing traffic congestion in the city and creating better transport links between transport modes in the areas it will serve. It should also boost economic activity and improve the local environment, thanks to reduced motor traffic. Those who benefit should include the inhabitants of the Bilbao metropolitan area, as well as all those who visit the city. The Bilbao metro, the first line of which opened in 1995, is the third largest in Spain in terms of passenger numbers (87 million in 2009), after Madrid and Barcelona.

700 new jobs

As well as the track and station-building programme, the works include the construction of 15 access shafts and lifts, 17 ventilations and emergency exits and the excavation of 750 000 cubic metres of earth. Some 700 jobs will be created during the construction phase, to be followed by 32 jobs once the line becomes operational.

The project also includes an extension to the line beyond Matiko: a 1.9 km tunnel passing under Mount Artxanda, laying the groundwork for a later extension of line 3 to Loiu, near the city’s airport. Once in place, this will create a new connection from the metro to other overground railway services out of Bilbao.

Total and EU funding

The project “Line III of the Bilbao Metropolitan Railway” has total eligible costs of EUR 93 317 317, to which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 37 662 869 during the programming period 2007-2013.


Draft date

25/06/2012