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Barajas Terminal 4 Airport and rail link, Madrid, Spain

Spain Projects

Barajas Airport Terminal 4 doubled aircraft and passenger capacity at Spain’s largest international airport, capable of handling 70 million passengers annually, with aircraft taking off and landing at an average of one every 30 seconds. The high-speed rail link to the airport was a key enabler of this expansion, allowing air passengers to link directly onto the national railway network for further onward connections through Chamartin and Atocha stations.



AENA / Spanish
Ministry of


£1.38bn (multiple contracts)


Terminal 4: 1997 – 2006 
Rail Link: 2007 – 2011


Design & Build

T4 is one of the world's largest airport terminals at 470,000m², alongside a satellite building, - T4S, at 290,000m². The buildings are approximately 2.5km apart and are connected by a rapid transit system. In addition, the new terminal features a metro, rail station, and landside transit linking to the existing terminals T1, T2 and T3. The new T4 comprises a sequence of parallel spaces separated by a linear block allowing daylight to penetrate deep into the interior with glass panes instead of walls and numerous domes in the roof, which allow natural light to pass through.

The scope of the rail link included all the civil works and railway systems required to connect the existing Chamartin station with the new T4. We redoubled the existing section – 4.1km of ballasted track – and constructed 4.7km of new tunnel and all associated railway systems. In collaboration with the Spanish Ministry of Development, we amended the design to incorporate a third-rail, dual gauge track system along the route in order to allow high-speed trains to access the airport. The project also involved works at a depot, four stations and the design of a complex signalling system.


  • Awarded Best Civil Work by the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Spanish counterpart, the Institution of Spanish Civil Engineers (CICCP). The project was selected by the CICCP Professional Review Panel of experts due to the excellent delivery on time and under budget of the Barajas High-Speed Rail Link and its value engineering proposals
  • Environmental measures, aimed at significantly reducing energy consumption, include a stratified cooling system, displacement ventilation supply to the piers, low level air supply to all other passenger areas, extensive shading to the facades and roof lights
  • Redesigned one of the tracks in the tunnel as a three-rail, dual-gauge system, allowing local trains (Iberian gauge) and high speed trains (international gauge) to run on the same line. This was the first time a three-rail, dual-gauge system had been used in Spain
  • Redesigned the delivery strategy for Hortaleza Station upgrade, in collaboration with AENA, to follow a continuous two and a half months possession, proving to be more efficient and cost-effective than the initial approach which considered the delivery of the works under a series of short time possessions


  • 470,000m2 terminal surface footprint
  • 38 new stands
  • 35 million passenger annual design capacity
  • 8.8km rail systems covering track, OLE, signalling and communications
  • 4.7km new tunnel using cut and cover and Belgian tunnelling methods
  • 4 stations constructed (Manoteras and Valdebebas) and refurbished (Hortaleza and Barajas)

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