The Córdoba–Málaga high-speed rail line is a standard gaugerailway line of 155 km in length (the total distance between Córdoba and Málaga on the line is 170 km), inaugurated on 24 December 2007. Designed for speeds of 300 km/h (186 mph) and compatibility with neighbouring countries' rail systems, it connects the cities of Málaga and Córdoba in Andalusia, Spain. This is part of the rail-route Madrid–Málaga and is connected to Madrid–Seville high-speed rail line. The line also has stops at Puente Genil and Antequera that are served by the AVANT service. At the time the service opened, RENFE was running 22 trains daily between Madrid and Málaga.
The high speed line from Córdoba to Málaga, which can be considered part of New Rail Access to Andalusia, is integrated into the PEIT (Strategic Infrastructure Plan of the Ministry of Development, 2005-2020) with an estimated investment of €2.1 billion. Construction and operation were entrusted to Adif.
The line runs along a double track section in the few kilometres after Córdoba Central and later becomes quadruple track. Eventually, just outside a town called Los Mochos (a few kilometres east-north-east of Almodóvar del Río), the Seville and Málaga branches become separate. The line takes a different route to the existing slower single-track line, but starts to run parallel to it between the towns of Doñana and Santa Rosalia Maqueda, running alongside it for the rest of the journey to Málaga-María Zambrano station.
The line runs through precipitous terrain in the Sierra Nevada and several viaducts and tunnels were necessary to complete the connections, including the Guadalhorce viaduct (574m), the Abdalajís Tunnel (the 3rd longest in Spain after the Guadarrama and Pajares tunnels at 8970m in the Cordillera Bética), the Arroyo de las Piedras viaduct (1208m long and 93.4m high, making it the highest viaduct along the line), the Arroyo del Espinazo and Jévar viaducts (the longest viaduct along the line when the two are considered together) and the Álora, Espartal, Tevilla, Gibralmora and Cártama tunnels that exist in a long chain. The precipitous terrain is one possible reason why the Córdoba-Seville section was opened in 1992, but the Córdoba-Málaga section wasn't opened until December 1997.
The AVANT services transport passengers directly from Seville to Málaga and vice versa, with intermediate stops at Puente Genil-Herrera and Antequera-Santa Ana stations between Córdoba and Málaga. The AVE service (using the AVE Class 102) offers Madrid-Málaga journey times of 2 hours and 30 minutes with direct services. The average speed of 205 km/h for this journey is not particularly high (the fastest Madrid-Barcelona journey is 2 hours and 38 minutes over 621 km, giving an average speed of 236 km/h): - trains are restricted to 200 km/h in the Sierra Morena (here, the curvature drops as low as 2300m, meaning the maximum safe speed without tilting technology is approximately 226 km/h, as a curvature of at least 1800m is needed for 200 km/h and 7200m for 400 km/h ). The trains also slow down to 160 km/h for the Abdalajís and Gobantes tunnels, even though the tunnel radii are high enough to support 300 km/h.