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For other uses, see AVE (disambiguation).
Main stations(s): Madrid Atocha, Barcelona Sants, Seville-Santa Justa
Other stations(s): Madrid Chamartín, Zaragoza-Delicias, Valencia-Joaquín Sorolla, Málaga-María Zambrano, Alicante Terminal, Valladolid-Campo Grande, A Coruña-San Cristóbal, Santiago de Compostela, Ourense, Córdoba
Fleet size: 24 S-100
16 S-102
26 S-103
30 S-112
Stations called at: 30
Route km operated: 3,100 km (1,900 mi)[1]
Parent company: Renfe
Website: www.renfe.com

Alta Velocidad Española (AVE)[a] is a service of high-speed rail in Spain operated by Renfe Operadora, the Spanish national railway company, at speeds of up to 310 km/h (193 mph).[2] Alta Velocidad Española translates to "Spanish High Speed", but the initials are also a play on the word ave, meaning "bird". As of June 2013, the Spanish AVE system is the longest HSR network in Europe with 3,100 km (1,900 mi) and the second in the world, after China's.[1][3]

AVE trains run on a network of high-speed rail track owned and managed by Adif, where other high-speed (Avant, Alvia) and mid-speed (Altaria) services also operate. The first line was opened in 1992, connecting the cities of Madrid, Córdoba and Seville. Unlike the rest of the Iberian broad gauge network, the AVE uses standard gauge. This permits direct connections to outside Spain through the link to the French network at the Perthus tunnel, though few operate at this time. AVE trains are operated by Renfe, but private companies may be allowed to operate trains in the future using other brands, in accordance with European Union legislation. Some TGV-derived trains do run on the broad-gauge network at slower speeds, and these are branded separately as Euromed.


New rail link to Andalusia[edit]

Towards the end of the 1980s a new line was planned to join the Castilian Meseta with Andalusia without passing through the Despeñaperros Natural Park. After considering various options it was decided that a standard-gauge line, allowing for Spain's first high-speed rail link, would be built. The project was named NAFA (Nuevo Acceso Ferroviario a Andalucía, New Rail Link to Andalusia) and was meant to help revitalise the stagnant southern Spanish economy. The line was inaugurated on 14 April 1992 to coincide with Expo 92 being held in Seville. Seven days later on 21 April 1992 commercial service began with six daily services stopping at Madrid, Seville, Córdoba, Puertollano and Ciudad Real. In October 1992 RENFE began the AVE Lanzadera (Shuttle) service between Madrid and Puertollano and Ciudad Real.

It has been suggested[by whom?] that the PSOE government chose the French Alstom bid over the Siemens and Talgo bids for political rather than technical reasons,[citation needed] rewarding the French government for its assistance in capturing ETA activists who took "sanctuary" across the border in southern France.[4][citation needed] Seville's hosting of the 1992 World's Fair prompted the choice of that city for the inaugural AVE line, with its being the home town of then Spanish president Felipe Gonzalez also playing some role. Seville is the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain and the fourth largest city in Spain, after Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, with a population of over 700,000 and a metropolitan area of almost 1.5 million people. It is also the capital of Andalusia, Spain's most populous autonomous community (region).

In January 1993 the Talgo 200 Madrid–Málaga service began, using AVE lines as far as Córdoba and then Spanish-gauge conventional track to reach Málaga. On 23 April that year, the AVE set a new top speed of 356.8 km/h (221.7 mph) on a test run. Later in 1993 the mixed-method services Talgo 200 Madrid–Cádiz and Talgo 200 Madrid–Huelva began.

In 1994 AVE trains on the Madrid–Seville line began to run at 300 km/h, cutting journey times by at least 40 minutes and covering the 471 km in 2½ hours, though it is unlikely that much of a saving came from the increase in maximum speed, because only a small section of the line near Los Yébenes has the alignments for 300 km/h operation. The maximum permitted speed is 270 km/h between Atocha station and Brazatortas, save for the approaches to the intermediate stations (Atocha, Ciudad Real and Puertollano). Beyond Brazatortas, the line is only authorised for 250 km/h operation, which drops to 215 km/h in the Sierra Morena mountains and 90 km/h around Córdoba station.[5] It is more likely that time savings occurred as a result of there being fewer intermediate stops.

Although in 1999 RENFE began a mixed-service Talgo 200 Madrid–Algeciras route, this was, along with the other mixed services, transferred to Grandes Líneas Renfe (RENFE's Spanish gauge long-distance brand) following changes to plans for high-speed rail in Spain.

The last segment of the Madrid–Málaga line was completed on 24 December 2007.

AVANT – Media Distancia[edit]

Class 104 train.
Class 114 train.

In 1992, a new medium distance service (AV Media Distancia operating under the AVE Lanzadera brand) began between Madrid, Ciudad Real and Puertollano, using spare class 100 trains. In November 2003 a new service began between Seville and Córdoba using new class 104 trains,[citation needed] reducing journey times between the two cities to 40 minutes. In 2005 the brand was renamed RENFE Avant, and all services started to use class 104 trains, leaving class 100 for AVE services.

The construction of a 21-kilometre (13 mi) stretch of high-speed line from Madrid to Toledo allowed the inauguration of a medium distance service in November 2005. The journey time between the two cities is now less than 30 minutes. The high-speed link combined with high property prices in Madrid has encouraged many Madrid commuters to settle in Ciudad Real, the first stop on the Madrid–Seville line. There has, however, been controversy over the construction of this line as the change to standard-gauge track meant that large towns such as Getafe, Aranjuez and Algodor, which now have no commercial services, lost their direct services to Toledo. Furthermore, since Toledo is now connected by standard-gauge track it is impossible for other passenger or goods trains to reach it that have not come from other high-speed lines.

Further Avant services have been launched with the expansion of the AVE to Valladolid and Barcelona. See below for details of all Avant services. In the Valladolid line, new class 114 trains are used.

Both Avant trains are based in Pendolino designs, without tilting capacity:

- Avant class 104 trains are based in ETR 480

- Avant class 114 trains are based in ETR 600


The Madrid–Zaragoza (Saragossa)–Barcelona line was inaugurated on 20 February 2008, after parts of the line had operated since 2003 (Madrid–Zaragoza–Lleida) and 2006 (Lleida–Tarragona). Seventeen trains run now every day between 6:00 and 21:00 hrs. This line is currently one of the world's fastest long-distance trains in commercial operation,[6] with non-stop trains covering the 621 km (386 mi) between the two cities in just 2 hours 30 minutes, and those calling at all stations in 3 hours 10 minutes.


The Madrid–SegoviaValladolid- León line was inaugurated on 29 September 2015. It's first part up to Valladolid put in operation on 22 December 2007 . It includes a tunnel of 28 kilometres (17 mi) at Guadarrama, which is the fourth longest train tunnel in Europe. Valladolid will become the hub for all AVE lines connecting the north and north-west of Spain with the rest of the country. Trainsets used on this line include S-120 (max speed 250 km/h (155 mph)), S-130 (Patito, max speed 250 km/h (155 mph)) and the S-102 (Pato, max speed 330 km/h or 205 mph).


The Madrid–Levante line connects Madrid with the Mediterranean coast of the Levante Region (Eastern Spain). The Madrid–CuencaValencia service was inaugurated on 19 December 2010. Non-stop trains between Madrid and Valencia cover the 391 km (243 mi) in 1 hour 33 minutes.[7] Thirty trains run every day between 05:00 and 21:00, fifteen in each direction. When fully operational the Madrid–Levante line will total 940 km of high-speed rail connecting Madrid, Cuenca, Albacete, Valencia, Alicante, Elche, Castellón, Murcia and Cartagena.


The Córdoba–Málaga high-speed rail line is a standard gauge railway line of 155 km in length, inaugurated on 24 December 2007. Designed for speeds of 300 km/h (186 mph) and compatibility with neighbouring countries' railway systems.

International connection with France[edit]

Map showing the evolution of the high-speed rail interconnection between Spain and France
Networks of Major High Speed Rail Operators in Europe

A historic milestone for the AVE network was reached in December 2013 when direct high-speed trains between Spain and France were launched for the first time, thus connecting the Spanish high-speed rail system with the rest of Europe.[8][9] This international link between the two countries' railway networks was made possible by the construction of the 131-kilometre (81.4 mi) high-speed line Barcelona–Figueres (a follow-up of the Madrid-Barcelona line), completed in January 2013 at a cost of €3.7 billion,[10][11][12] and the international 44.5-kilometre (27.7 mi) Perpignan-Figueres line, which opened on December 2010 and includes the new 8.3-kilometre (5.2 mi) Perthus Tunnel under the Pyrenees.[13]

A 60 kilometer Nîmes–Montpellier bypass is under construction and will chop 20 minutes off travel times from Barcelona to Lyon and beyond,[14] but there is currently no funding for the missing segment of high speed line between Montpellier and Perpignan.

Operational services[edit]

The Santa Justa train station of Seville

Currently the Spanish high-speed network is made up of the following services:

  • AVE Madrid–Seville via Ciudad Real, Puertollano, and Córdoba.
  • AVE Madrid–León via Segovia, Valladolid and Palencia.
  • AVE Madrid–Barcelona via Guadalajara, Calatayud, Zaragoza, Lleida and Tarragona.
  • AVE Madrid–Figueres via Guadalajara, Calatayud, Zaragoza, Lleida, Tarragona, Barcelona and Girona.
  • AVE Madrid–Huesca via Guadalajara, Calatayud, Zaragoza and Tardienta.
  • AVE Madrid–Málaga via Ciudad Real, Puertollano, Córdoba, Puente Genil-Herrera and Antequera.
  • AVE Madrid–Valencia via Cuenca and Requena-Utiel.
  • AVE Madrid–Alicante via Cuenca, Albacete and Villena.
  • AVE Barcelona–Seville via Tarragona, Lleida, Zaragoza, Ciudad Real, Puertollano and Córdoba.
  • AVE Barcelona–Málaga via Tarragona, Lleida, Zaragoza, Ciudad Real, Puertollano, Córdoba, Puente Genil-Herrera and Antequera.
  • AVE Valencia–Seville via Cuenca, Ciudad Real, Puertollano and Córdoba.
  • AVANT (mid distance) Madrid–Ciudad Real–Puertollano.
  • AVANT (mid distance) Madrid–Toledo.
  • AVANT (mid distance) Madrid–Valladolid via Segovia.
  • AVANT (mid distance) Málaga–Córdoba–Seville via Antequera and Puente Genil-Herrera.
  • AVANT (mid distance) Segovia–Madrid.
  • AVANT (mid distance) Calatayud–Zaragoza.
  • AVANT (mid distance) Zaragoza–Huesca.
  • AVANT (mid distance) Barcelona–Lleida.
  • ALVIA[15] (mixed high-speed/conventional) Madrid–Irun, via Valladolid, Burgos and San Sebastián.
  • ALVIA (mixed high-speed/conventional) Madrid–Bilbao, via Valladolid and Burgos.
  • ALVIA (mixed high-speed/conventional) Madrid–Gijón, via Valladolid and León.
  • ALVIA (mixed high-speed/conventional) Santander–Alicante, via Madrid and Valladolid.
  • ALVIA (mixed high-speed/conventional) Gijón–Alicante, via Valladolid and Madrid.
  • ALVIA (mixed high-speed/conventional) Madrid–Logroño.
  • ALVIA (mixed high-speed/conventional) Barcelona–Irun, via Zaragoza, Pamplona and San Sebastián.
  • ALVIA (mixed high-speed/conventional) Barcelona–Bilbao, via Zaragoza and Logroño.
  • ALVIA (mixed high-speed/conventional) Barcelona–Vigo, via Zaragoza, Pamplona, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Burgos, Palencia and León. With connection services to Gijón in León and to A Coruña in Monforte de Lemos
  • ALVIA (mixed high-speed/conventional) Madrid–Huelva, via Madrid and Seville.

The central hub of the AVE system is Madrid's Puerta de Atocha, except for the Valladolid line, which terminates at Chamartín station.

International services[edit]

  • Madrid-Barcelona-Perpignan-Montpellier-Marseille (non-stop Madrid Barcelona)
  • Barcelona-Perpignan-Montpellier-Lyon
  • Barcelona-Perpignan-Toulouse

TGV service

  • Barcelona-Perpignan-Montpellier-Paris

All services stop at Girona and Figueres.


Currently, there are several series of high-speed trains that run the AVE service:

There are also other series of trains that are considered high-speed, but do not run under the AVE name. They run under the brand Alvia and Avant, and are variable gauge trains. They can run on high-speed lines at a maximum of 250 km/h (155 mph), and can also change between standard- and Iberian-gauge lines without stopping. The trains that are operated under the Alvia and Avant brand are:

  • Alvia S-120, manufactured by CAF and Alstom
  • Alvia S-130, manufactured by Talgo and Bombardier
  • Avant S-121, manufactured by CAF and Alstom
  • Avant S-104, manufactured by Alstom and CAF
  • Avant S-114, manufactured by Alstom and CAF


RENFE indroduced new market-based fares structure in February 2013. Over the 12-month period ending in February 2014, passengers carried on the high-speed services had grown by 23.47% from 12 million to reach 14.9 million over the 12-month period ending in February 2014. Over the same period, revenue had grown 6.95% to reach €784m and train occupancy reached 73%, up from 65% the previous year.[16]

Lines in operation[edit]

Map of the high-speed rail network (newly built and upgraded lines)

Currently there are four main lines in operation with two spur lines connecting the cities of Toledo with the Madrid-Seville main line and Huesca with the Madrid–Barcelona main line.


The Madrid–Seville high-speed railway line connects Madrid with Seville in the south of Spain, passing through the cities of Ciudad Real, Puertollano and Córdoba, where the Córdoba–Málaga high-speed rail line branches off towards Málaga just outside of Los Mochos near Almodóvar del Río. The route travels across the plains of Castile, travelling through the Sierra Morena mountains just before reaching Córdoba, before going onward towards Seville through the largely flat land surrounding the Guadalquivir river. The Madrid–Seville line was the first dedicated passenger high-speed rail line to be built in Spain and was completed in time for Seville's Expo 92. With a length of 472 km, the fastest train journey between the two cities takes 2 hours and 20 minutes. The line is served by S-100 (max speed 300 km/h or 186 mph) trains.


Madrid–Barcelona high-speed railway line connects Madrid with Barcelona in the north east of Spain passing the cities of Guadalajara, Calatayud, Zaragoza (Saragossa), Lleida (Lérida) and Tarragona where the future Tarragona–Valencia high-speed railway line will connect. The line has a length of 621 km and a travel time of roughly two and a half hours for the direct trains using the route avoiding entering Zaragoza (Saragossa) and Lleida (Lérida). The line is served by S-103 (max speed 350 km/h or 217 mph) trains.


The Madrid-Huesca high-speed rail line branches off from the Madrid–Barcelona line at Zaragoza and connects the city of Huesca with Madrid passing the cities of Guadalajara, Calatayud, Zaragoza and Tardienta. The line first put in operation in 2005 and is served by up to two S-102 (Pato, max speed 330 km/h or 205 mph) trains per day with the fastest train journey between the two cities lasting 2 hours and 5 minutes.


line Madrid–León high-speed rail line connects Madrid with León passing the cities of Segovia, Valladolid and Palencia. The line supports the longest railway tunnel in Spain at 28 km in length and is served by up to two S-102 (Pato, max speed 330 km/h or 205 mph) trains per day with the fastest schedule lasting 2 hours and 6 minutes.

On April 24, 2010, it was announced a 55 km high-speed spur would leave the Madrid–Valladolid route at Segovia and continue to Ávila. Initial plans are expected to be complete by the end of 2010.[17]


Córdoba–Málaga high-speed rail line connects the city of Córdoba with the city of Málaga. The line is a 155 km long spur line to the Madrid–Seville high-speed rail line, but with the characteristics of a main line. it is served by S-102 (Pato, max speed 330 km/h or 205 mph) trains. Apart from the traffic to and from the city of Málaga, the line also handles the traffic to the cities of Granada and Algeciras. In the future, the line will also support the traffic between Madrid and the Costa del Sol high-speed rail line.


The Madrid–Toledo high-speed rail line branches off from the Seville and Málaga routes around the depot at La Sagra. The AVANT service between the two cities offers journey times of half an hour on trains with a maximum speed of 250 km/h.


The 350 km/h Madrid–Valencia line was officially finished on Friday, 10 Dec 2010,[18] with commercial trips starting on Saturday 18 Dec 2010. It is serviced by 30 S-102 (Pato, max speed 330 km/h or 205 mph) trains, assembled by the Talgo-Bombardier consortium. Direct trains cover the 391 km in 95 minutes. It is part of the Madrid–Levante lines (see below).


The 350 km/h line branches off from the Madrid–Valencia Line.[19] It is part of the Madrid–Levante lines. Direct trains Toledo–Albacete are also scheduled, combining four of the existing lines.

Barcelona–Perpignan (France)[edit]

The high-speed line across the border, LGV Perpignan–Figueres (44.4 km), was opened in December 2010. Since then, French TGV trains operate from Paris. The high-speed line Barcelona–Figueres was opened on the 8th of January 2013[20][21] Nine Spanish services will initially service the line, with 8 being a through service to Madrid, it will also connect with two French TGV services from Paris. Previously French TGV services connected Paris and Barcelona by means of a shuttle train on the standard Barcelona–Figueres line.[22][23][24] Direct Paris-Barcelona-Madrid high-speed trains between France and Spain started on December 15, 2013.[25]

Line Connected Cities Year of inauguration Operational top speed Type of trains
Southern corridor
HSR Madrid–Seville Madrid · Ciudad Real · Puertollano · Córdoba · Sevilla 1992 300 km/h or 186 mph S-100, S-102, S-112
HSR Madrid–Málaga Madrid · Ciudad Real · Puertollano · Córdoba · Puente Genil-Herrera · Antequera-Santa Ana · Málaga 2007 300 km/h or 186 mph S-102, S-112
HSR Madrid–Toledo Madrid · Toledo 2005 250 km/h or 155 mph S-104
North-eastern corridor
HSR Madrid–Barcelona Madrid · Guadalajara-Yebes · Calatayud · Zaragoza · Lérida 2003 310 km/h or 193 mph S-100, S-103, S-112
Lérida · Camp de Tarragona 2006
Camp de Tarragona · Barcelona-Sants 2008
HSR Barcelona-Perpignan FigueresFrance to París 2009 300 km/h or 186 mph S-100, SNCF TGV Duplex
Barcelona-Sants · Barcelona-Sagrera · Gerona · Figueres 2013
HSR Madrid – Huesca Madrid · Guadalajara-Yebes · Calatayud · Zaragoza · Tardienta · Huesca 2005 300 km/h or 186 mph S-102
North corridor
HSR Madrid – León Madrid Chamartín · Segovia · Valladolid 2007 300 km/h or 186 mph S-102
Valladolid · Venta de Baños · Palencia · León 2015
North-western corridor
HSR Olmedo-Galicia Orense · Santiago de Compostela 2011 250 km/h or 155 mph S-120, S-130
HSR Atlantic Axis Santiago de Compostela · La Coruña 2011 250 km/h or 155 mph S-130
Vigo · Pontevedra · Santiago de Compostela 2015
Madrid – Levante corridor
HSR Madrid – Valencia Madrid · Cuenca · Requena-Utiel · Valencia 2010 300 km/h or 186 mph S-102, S-112
HSR Madrid – Alicante Madrid · Cuenca · Albacete 2010 300 km/h or 186 mph S-112
Albacete · Villena · Alicante 2013

Construction and current development[edit]

Tunnel Sants–La Sagrera[edit]

The Sants–La Sagrera tunnel links the Sants station in Barcelona through the Eixample with the future La Sagrera station. The tunnel passes under the streets of Provença and Mallorca, using a short part of the Diagonal to link between these streets. In the Carrer de Mallorca, the tunnel passes directly in front of Gaudí's masterpiece, the basilica of the Sagrada Família, and in the Carrer de Provença, another Gaudí work, the Casa Milà. In a long campaign against this route, the Board of the Sagrada Família and other parties argued that the tunnel would damage the church, whose construction is still in progress. In this discussion about different variant routes, the one now built was also called the Provença tunnel because it passes for a part of its route under this street.

The tunnel boring machine Barcino passed the Sagrada Família in October 2010, and reached its final destination a few months later. Rail traffic is planned to start in 2012, initially without stops at the La Sagrera station, which is expected to be completed in 2016.

Currently (March 2012), railway equipment is being installed, with a special elastic isolation of the rails in order to dampen vibrations at the sections passing close to Gaudí's architectural works, using the Edilon system.[26][27]

North corridor[edit]

  • Venta de BañosLeónAsturias,[28] the high-speed rail line connecting Asturias with Madrid. It branches off the Valladolid–Vitoria line at Venta de Baños and then reaches Gijón via León and Oviedo. This line includes the Variante de Pajares. Construction started in 2009 (except variante de pajares which started 2003) and reached León in September 2015 and expected to reach Oviedo and Gijón in the following years.[29]
  • Pajares Base Tunnel (Variante de Pajares).[30] This line will cross a very mountainous area between León and the Principality of Asturias. It will form part of the high-speed rail line connecting Madrid with Asturias (Oviedo and Gijón).

North-western corridor[edit]

  • Atlantic Axis high-speed rail line, this line will connect all Galician coastal cities, including A Coruña, Santiago de Compostela and Vigo, with the Portuguese border, and eventually with Porto. By 2012 it is expected that the line will be finished between A Coruña and Vigo.
  • OlmedoSantiago de Compostela,[31] the high-speed rail line that will connect Galicia and the Atlantic Axis high-speed rail line with Madrid. The northern part of the line between Ourense and Santiago de Compostela is expected to enter revenue service in 2012 and the southern part, between Olmedo (130 km north of Madrid on the Madrid-Valladolid line) and Zamora, in 2014. The central part, which crosses some of Spain's most remote and fragile nature areas, is expected to open in 2018.

North-eastern corridor[edit]

Southwest–Portuguese corridor[edit]

  • Talavera de la ReinaCáceresMéridaBadajoz/ElvasLisbon.[34] This line will connect the two peninsular capitals in 2 hours and 45 minutes,[35] connecting the south-west region of Extremadura to the high-speed network. This line has been a key issue in bilateral summits in recent years. Both Spanish and Portuguese track were to be completed around 2013, after the Portuguese government brought forward its plans from 2015 but the Portuguese froze works in June 2011.[36][37] It is not clear if there will finally be a station in the Spanish town of Mérida. The line would link with High-speed rail in Portugal, a project announced by the Portuguese government in February 2009.

Southern corridors[edit]

  • SevilleCádiz, expected to enter full revenue service 2015.
  • Transversal Rail Axis (Eje Ferroviario Transversal),[38] the Andalusian high-speed rail line connecting Huelva, Seville, Granada and Almería. Part of the line is financed and built by the Andalusian government.
  • MadridJaén, the high-speed rail line connecting Madrid with the provincial capital Jaén. Part of the line will use the existing Madrid-Seville line.

Eastern corridor[edit]

Mediterranean corridor[edit]

From the existing high speed at station Camp Taragona there wil be a connecting high speed line to a point past L´Hospitalet de l´Infant station on the classic line.Internet-web-browser.svgGoogle map(A distance of 44 km) There wil be a new station at the intersection with the road between Reus and Taragona.[40] The existing main railway between Taragona and Valencia has been and is being modernized. The maximum speed limits have been increased. The railway no longer passes trough Tortosa but takes a shortcut. Tortosa town is now served with a branch railway line.

Two seas corridor[edit]

It is not yet projected.

Lines under construction[edit]



The Madrid–Levante high-speed rail line is a network of railways connecting the capital with the Mediterranean coast. Consisting of 940 kilometres (580 mi) of railways with an estimated cost of 12.5 billion euros, it is the most expensive high-speed railway project in Spain. The network will consist of both dedicated passenger high-speed railways designed for trains running above 300 kilometres per hour (190 mph) and high-speed railways shared with freight trains.
The network is to be opened in stages, starting with the MadridValencia/Albacete section, which was opened in December 2010,[18][41] followed by Albacete/Valencia–Alicante in June 2013[42] and finally reaching the cities of Murcia and Castellón by 2015.
A branch line to Cartagena is also included in the network, but no opening date for that line exists.


The high-speed rail line connecting the two capitals on the Iberian Peninsula; Portugal's section will be the first "standard gauge" railway in that country as it shares the same broad gauge standard as Spain. Designed as a mixed use railway line shared between passenger and freight trains, it will have a length of 439 km on the Spanish side, of which 48 km are part of the already built Madrid–Seville high-speed rail line. Construction on the Spanish side began in late 2008 on a segment between the cities of Badajoz and Mérida. Once built, the travel time between the two cities will be drastically reduced to around 3 hours.

Madrid interconnector[edit]

A new interconnecting tunnel is planned between Atocha and Chamartín stations. Currently, trains going to Valladolid leave from Chamartín and trains going to Seville, Málaga and Barcelona leave from Atocha station. Also, there is a single daily service in each direction running along the Barcelona–Seville and Barcelona–Málaga routes, which uses the high-speed bypass around Madrid (the only alternative is to have the driver walk from one end of the train to the other, which would have a negative effect on journey times). The tunnel will allow services serving northern cities to travel non-stop or with a stop through Madrid and onward to southern cities (or vice versa), without the driver having to change ends or bypass Madrid, a valuable source of passengers: currently, someone wanting to travel from Valladolid to Málaga, for instance, must travel from Valladolid Campo Grande station to Madrid Chamartín station before taking a Cercanías service to Atocha; then finally taking an onward train to Málaga.

On April 24, 2010, tunneling started on the 7.3 km route connecting Atocha and Chamartin.[17]


This high-speed railway line will be part passenger-dedicated high-speed railway (Madrid–Alcázar de San Juan) and part shared with freight trains (Alcázar de San Juan–Jaén). The first 99 km of the line will use the already existing Madrid-Seville high-speed railway line. From there, a 67.5 km branch line will be constructed towards Alcázar de San Juan.

From Alcázar de San Juan the existing railway line will be upgraded to allow passenger trains to run up to 250 km/h; a new double-tracked route through the Despeñaperros mountain range will be built to replace the existing single-tracked route. This part of the high-speed railway also forms part of the Madrid–Algeciras freight corridor. An extension of the line to Granada is being investigated; however, the complicated terrain between Jaén and Granada might make it uneconomical.


The extension of the Madrid–Valladolid high-speed rail line began construction in 2009. This 223.4 kilometres (138.8 mi) railway line will run parallel to the 244.8 kilometres (152.1 mi) long existing railway line. Originally it was to be used as a mixed-use high-speed railway line, but it has since been changed to a passenger-dedicated railway line, leaving the existing railway line for freight trains. The line is forecast to open the Valladolid–Burgos part around 2013 and the BurgosVitoria-Gasteiz part in 2014 or 2015. At Vitoria it will connect to the Basque high-speed railway line, thus reaching the French border. Once opened, the travel time between Valladolid and Vitoria will be around an hour.

The Basque Y[edit]

The Basque high-speed railway line connecting the three Basque capitals, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Bilbao and San Sebastián. Construction began in 2007 and the railway line is forecast to open in 2016.


The 424 km long high-speed railway line connecting Madrid with Santiago de Compostela and the Atlantic axis high-speed railway line in Galicia in the North West of Spain. The line starts at Olmedo 130 km to the north of Madrid on the Madrid–Valladolid high-speed railway line. Construction on the northernmost part of the line between the cities of Ourense and Santiago de Compostela began late 2004 and was inaugurated in December 2011.

Venta de Baños–Gijón[edit]

The high-speed railway line connecting Madrid to the cities of León, Oviedo and Gijón in the north of Spain. The line starts at Venta de Baños: 205 km north of Madrid on the Valladolid–Vitoria high-speed railway line. It includes the 24,7 km long Pajares Base Tunnel which runs under the Asturian mountain range.

The transversal axis[edit]

The southern Andalusian transversal high-speed railway line is a 503.7-kilometre railway running between the cities of Huelva and Almería, passing the cities of Seville and Granada. The line is designed for speeds up to 250 kilometres per hour, except for the 130-kilometre Antequerra–Granada and the 103-kilometre Seville–Huelva parts of the line, which are designed for speeds in excess of 300 kilometres per hour. A connection between Huelva and the Portuguese border is being studied.[citation needed]

The Atlantic axis[edit]

The Atlantic axis is the high-speed railway line connecting the two main cities of Vigo and A Coruña (Corunna) in the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia. The railway, 238 km in length, is an upgrade of the existing non electrified single railway line between the town of Ferrol and the Portuguese border into a double electrified high-speed line. The rebuilt railway will permit mixed use traffic with a maximum design speed of 250 km/h for passenger trains.

The first part of the railway between A Coruña and Vigo is being built in stages and will be finished in 2016. It will shorten the distance between the two cities by 22 km, from 178 km to 156 km, and cut the travel time from around 3 hours on the old railway down to around 1 hour on the new one. 37 tunnels totaling 59 km and 34 bridges totalling 15 km form part of the rebuilt railway. On the border between Spain and Portugal, the longest railway bridge on the Iberian Peninsula is planned for the 4.5 km crossing of the Minho River.

Mediterranean corridor (French border–Algeciras)[edit]

See also: TGV

The high-speed Barcelona-Figueres section (from Barcelona to the French border) was inaugurated in January 2013.[43] The journey from the centre of Barcelona to the centre of Girona takes now 37 minutes (compared to the hour and a half it took), and to Figueres in 53 minutes (instead of two hours). Girona and Figueres will be 14 minutes from each other. The Perpignan (France)-Figueres section opened in 2010. One lacking high-speed section on the French side, between Montpellier and Nîmes, will open in 2017, allowing almost continuous high-speed travel from the French high-speed network to the Spanish one. The French government, on the other hand, recently announced indefinite delays to the Montpellier-Perpignan high speed section that was originally planned for 2020.

Future planned lines[edit]

In the short term, other connections to the LGV are planned. After the connection to France at La Jonquera in Catalonia, another connection is proposed at Irun in the Basque Country. Other new lines are under consideration, including a line connecting Soria to the Madrid–Barcelona line at Calatayud. Finally, the Madrid–Barcelona line currently terminates in Barcelona's Estació de Sants, but a new station is under construction at La Sagrera on the northern edge of the city.

In the long term, the Spanish government has an ambitious plan to make 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) of high-speed railway operational by 2010, with all provincial capitals at most only 4 hours from Madrid, and 6½ hours from Barcelona. According to the Strategic Plan for railway infrastructures developed by the Spanish Ministerio de Fomento (Ministry of Public Works), called PEIT, a second expansion programme is planned to start in 2010–11, when the last lines of the first programme still under construction begin operation. This plan has a ten-year scope, ending in 2020, and its ambition is to make the 300 km/h (186 mph) network reach 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) by the end of that year. This would be the most extensive network in Europe, with several operational links with France and Portugal, and is the most ambitious high-speed rail plan in the European Union.

Critics of this scheme point out that raising the average speed of Spain's regional trains would achieve a much greater global impact at much less cost. At present, there are some rural lines where average speeds barely exceed 60 km/h (37 mph). The speed between some provincial capitals is little better; for example, it takes some 8 hours to cover the 784 kilometres (487 mi) between León and Barcelona.

On the other hand, there has been a great improvement in speed and time for trains that link Madrid with other capitals that do not have direct AVE connections, but use the high-speed line for most of the route, such as:

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "Infraestructuras y Estaciones. Líneas de Alta Velocidad". Adif. 
  2. ^ "Madrid — Barcelona at 310 km/h with ETCS Level 2". Railway Gazette International (London). 18 October 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "High speed line opens to Alacant". Railway Gazette International. 18 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "Rafa Sánchez, concejal del PSOE: "Gerardo Velasco es un mal educado" - interview with Rafa Sánchez". Diario La Torre (in Spanish) (Málaga). 10 August 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2008. 
  5. ^ Ferropedia. LAV Madrid-Sevilla.
  6. ^ It is planned that in 2012 high-speed services will link Madrid and Barcelona with Paris-Gare de Lyon and later perhaps London St Pancras (using the Eurotunnel and the HS1 line). "High-Speed Train To Link Madrid, Barcelona | Travel News from Fodor's Travel Guides". www.fodors.com. Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  7. ^ "King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía open the AVE high speed train line between Madrid and Valencia". Typically Spanish (Malaga). 19 December 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "High speed services between France and Spain launched". Railway Gazette. 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  9. ^ "Paris-Barcelona TGVs set for December 15 launch". International Railway Journal. 2013-11-28. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  10. ^ "Spain completes Iberia's high-speed link to Europe". International Railway Journal. 2013-01-08. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  11. ^ "High speed line opens between Barcelona and Figueres". Railway Gazette. 2013-01-08. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  12. ^ "Barcelona-Figueres HS line to open January 7". International Railway Journal. 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  13. ^ "Perpignan–Figueres link inaugurated". Railway Gazette. 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  14. ^ "Nimes-Monptellier funding accord". Railway Gazette International (London). 4 December 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  15. ^ "Alvia trains at Renfe.es". Renfe. Retrieved 31 July 2015.  (mixed high-speed/conventional) Madrid–Irun, via Valladolid, Burgos and San Sebastián.
  16. ^ http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/passenger/single-view/view/new-fares-boost-high-speed-traffic.html
  17. ^ a b http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view/10/boring-begins-beneath-madrid.html
  18. ^ a b Journey with the press and diplomats. Europa Press 10 December 2010
  19. ^ "Los Reyes inaugurarán el AVE a Valencia, y los Príncipes la conexión a Albacete". Europa Press (in Spanish). 10 December 2010. 
  20. ^ http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/passenger/single-view/view/high-speed-line-opens-between-barcelona-and-figueres.html
  21. ^ http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/high-speed/barcelona-figueres-high-speed-rail-line-to-open-on-january-7.html
  22. ^ Today's railways Europe, issue 202, page 41, timetable news
  23. ^ shuttle + TGV Spanish railways website
  24. ^ Joan Miró Trenhotel Spanish railways website
  25. ^ http://www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/23604/ave-rail-connection-between-barcelona-and-paris-to-open-in-december
  26. ^ Comorera, Ramon (12 March 2012). "Doble aislante de vibraciones en las obras de Gaudí" [Double Isolation of Vibrations at the Gaudí constructions]. El Periódico de Catalunya (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  27. ^ Map of the tunnel route and details if the railway equipment in the tunnel in a PDF in El Periodico
  28. ^ "High-Speed Lines León — Palencia Line". ADIF. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  29. ^ "New AVE high speed train service to Palencia and Leon opens". ADIF. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  30. ^ "High Speed Lines Leon — Asturias high speed line". ADIF. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  31. ^ "High speed lines Madrid-Galicia line Zamora-Lubián–Ourense and Ourense-Santiago". ADIF. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  32. ^ "High Speed Lines Vitoria — Bilbao — San Sebastián Line". ADIF. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  33. ^ "High-Speed Lines Valladolid — Burgos — Vitoria Line". ADIF. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  34. ^ "High Speed Lines Madrid — Extremadura — Portuguese Border line". ADIF. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  35. ^ "Alta Velocidade em Síntese" (in Portuguese). Rave.pt. Archived from the original on 4 October 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  36. ^ "Pointers December 2009". Railway Gazette International (London). 6 December 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  37. ^ "Portugal's cutbacks halt high-speed train to Spain". The Guardian (London). 5 July 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  38. ^ "High-speed Lines Antequera — Granada". ADIF. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  39. ^ "High speed lines Madrid — Castilla La Mancha — Valencian Community — Region of Murcia line". ADIF. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  40. ^ Panoramio images from east to west: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9]
  41. ^ "Railway Gazette: Madrid — Valencia high speed line opening dates confirmed". Retrieved 2010-10-16. 
  42. ^ The new HSL between Albacete and Alicante opened on June the 18th
  43. ^ high-speed Barcelona-Figueres section

External links[edit]