Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture

By Eamonn Rodgers; Valerie Rodgers | Go to book overview

those autonomous communities with distinctive cultural traditions. Euskadi Irratia (Basque Radio) broadcasts in Basque throughout the whole Basque territory. RTVG (Galician Radio and Television), inaugurated in 1985, transmits exclusively in Galician. Though RNE created a Catalan station in 1976, coverage was limited. With the foundation in 1983 of the Corporació Catalana de Radio i Televisió (CCRTV: Catalan Radio and Television Corporation), radio provision in Catalan was considerably enhanced, and Catalunya Radio has the largest share of the global audience in Catalonia.


Further reading

b
Bernández, A. (1991) ‘The Mass Media’, in A. Ramon Gascon (ed.) Spain Today: In Search of Modernity, Madrid: Cátedra (pp. 431-54 offer an informative account of the changes which have occurred in the Spanish media).

h
Hooper, J. (1995) The New Spaniards, Harmondsworth: Penguin (chapter 22 considers radio as part of a general discussion of the broadcast media).

EAMONN RODGERS


railways

The contemporary railway system in Spain comprises, first, the Spanish standard gauge system operated by the Spanish state railway company Renfe; second, the High Speed service operating on European gauge track (see also AVE); third, the narrow gauge systems operated by the state enterprise FEVE, regional public enterprises and private companies; and fourth, the underground railways in Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid.

There are a number of inherent weaknesses in the railway system. These stem partly from the mountainous topography, a thinly populated interior with widely spread traffic centres, and a densely populated coastal fringe. The standard gauge system radiates out from Madrid over a distance of some 12,700 km, with an important transverse link through the Ebro valley and a high capacity route along the Mediterranean coast from the French frontier to Valencia. This radial network restricts cross-country rail travel, and not all the major urban industrial areas of Spain have direct connections with Madrid.

The standard gauge of 1,672 mm (6 pies castellanas), established in 1844, is relatively wide in comparison with other national railways, which rendered direct rail communications between Spain and France impossible until the introduction of the cumbersome technology of trains with variable axles in the 1960s. Other weaknesses which afflict the system in the late twentieth century are the extent of single line working, relatively steep gradients, low radius curves and on some routes the poor condition of the track, all the result of under-investment in the past and all contributing to relatively slow speeds over the network.

In the late twentieth century investment in the railways was directed at upgrading the system especially on commuter routes and on long distance inter-city routes. Commuter networks, especially those around Barcelona and Madrid, handle the largest volume of passenger traffic. Inter-city routes offer opportunities for capturing traffic from both the roads and air. The most notable example of inter-city route investment has been in the High Speed Train service, and in plans to expand this service to connect it with the High Speed railway network being developed across Europe. Investment has also gone into upgrading other routes, through for example new rolling stock (including the fast ‘Talgo’ trains of Spanish design and manufacture that run on standard gauge track), improved track, double track, electrification and new signalling, notably along the Mediterranean corridor. Such developments are shifting the network towards a more axial pattern based on a central corridor Seville—Madrid—Barcelona/ Bilbao and a Mediterranean corridor.

Apart from the high density traffic routes, many lines have only been kept open through government subsidies and in some cases operating agreements with regional governments. Such arrangements raise the important political question of how far railway services should be seen as public services and open up the whole issue of transport policy.

-435-

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Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction x
  • Acknowledgments xii
  • Structure xiii
  • Architecture xiv
  • A 1
  • Further Reading 7
  • Further Reading 11
  • Further Reading 29
  • Further Reading 37
  • Further Reading 41
  • B 44
  • Further Reading 47
  • Further Reading 65
  • C 70
  • Further Reading 81
  • Further Reading 93
  • Further Reading 100
  • Further Reading 113
  • Further Reading 128
  • D 135
  • Further Reading 136
  • Further Reading 140
  • E 152
  • Further Reading 155
  • Further Reading 166
  • Further Reading 171
  • F 173
  • Further Reading 185
  • Further Reading 206
  • G 213
  • Further Reading 227
  • Further Reading 229
  • Further Reading 231
  • Further Reading 242
  • H 245
  • I 261
  • Further Reading 266
  • J 276
  • Further Reading 280
  • K 283
  • L 285
  • Further Reading 292
  • M 313
  • Further Reading 332
  • Further Reading 335
  • N 359
  • Further Reading 362
  • Further Reading 365
  • O 376
  • P 384
  • Further Reading 429
  • Q 430
  • R 433
  • Further Reading 435
  • Further Reading 436
  • Further Reading 439
  • Further Reading 443
  • References 452
  • S 464
  • Further Reading 471
  • Further Reading 475
  • T 502
  • Further Reading 508
  • Further Reading 509
  • U 526
  • Further Reading 536
  • V 537
  • Further Reading 538
  • Further Reading 539
  • Further Reading 544
  • W 545
  • X 550
  • Y 552
  • Further Reading 553
  • Z 554
  • Index 557
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