High Speed Rail in Spain - Opens Up to Competition
Guest post by Phillps - The 14th of December, 2020 was a historic day for Spain. 3 high speed corridors (Madrid-Barcelona; Madrid-Seville/Málaga; and Madrid-Alicante/Valencia) were opened for competition, bringing an end to state-owned Renfe’s monopoly. 3 operators won each one one of the three service packages that were offered. On this post I’ll cover all the information known to date about each operator, the rolling stock they’ll use, ticket prices and the services they’ll offer.
State-owned Renfe won Package A, covering 60% of the services offered.
Renfe’s services will be served with AVE and AVLO:
AVE is the high speed service Renfe has been offering since the introduction of the first line back in 1992. It’s a regular 3-class service that uses 4 different rolling stocks.
Prices range depending on the line, with the highest prices on the Madrid-Barcelona line (between 60€ and 150€) and considerably lower on other lines.
Rolling stock consists of: AVE S112 train-set, S103 train-set, S102 train-set.
AVLO is the brand new low-cost offer Renfe designed to counter the liberalization. At the moment it’s only announced to run between Madrid and all the way up to the French border, with stops on all stations including Zaragoza and Barcelona. The first service will depart the 23rd of June this year.
Initial price offers started at 5€, with regular prices ranging from 10€ to 60€, and the average being between 25€ and 35€. They will run 5 daily frequencies on each direction.
They’ll use modified S112 train sets with a single class and no cafeteria coach:
ILSA-Trenitalia is the first private railway company in Spain. It’s a consortium formed by airline Air Nostrum and Italian railway operator Trenitalia. They won Package B, with 30% of the services. They are set to begin service sometime in 2022. Some key points to make:
- They’ll have 3-class trains and run a brand new fleet of ETR400 trains (Italian Frecciarossa 1000 trains)
- In an interview to magazine ‘Trenvista’, the CEO said they were looking to take their passengers to their destination “from start to end”, meaning that apart from the rail service, they would offer integrated tickets with pre-booked extra transport services, including airplanes (probably using Air Nostrum’s fleet).
- They plan to have international services to destinations in Portugal, France and Italy in the future.
Rolling stock is formed by brand-new 23 ETR400 trains:
Exact frequencies are not yet known. Prices are yet not known neither.
Ouigo is the low-cost operator that French state-owned SNCF launched in 2013. It has been a huge success and carried more than 13 million people in 2019. Now they are expanding to Spain, with refurbished in Oui trains. Unlike the French version, though, this one maintains the cafeteria coach and has 2 classes. The first service will depart the 10th of May.
The cost of a ticket ranges between 9€ and 55€, with the average being around 19€-25€. Tickets are currently only being sold for the Madrid-Barcelona line.
They used refurbished double-decker Euroduplex trains, which previously served the Barcelona-Paris route as an in Oui service: