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Alta Velocidad Española (AVE) is a service of high-speed rail
High-speed rail
High-speed rail is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic. Specific definitions by the European Union include for upgraded track and or faster for new track, whilst in the United States, the U.S...

 in Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 operated by Renfe
RENFE
Renfe Operadora is the state-owned company which operates freight and passenger trains on the 1668-mm "Iberian gauge" and 1435-mm "European gauge" networks of the Spanish national railway infrastructure company ADIF .- History :The name RENFE is derived from that of the former Spanish National...

, the Spanish national railway company, at speeds of up to 310 km/h (193 mph). The name is literally translated from Spanish as "Spanish High Speed", but also a play on the word , meaning "bird".

AVE trains run on a network of dedicated high-speed rail track
High-speed rail in Spain
The high-speed railway network in Spain currently consists of four dedicated passenger train main lines, in Spain named L.A.V. abbreviation for linea de alta velocidad...

 owned and managed by Adif
Adif
Adif, an acronym of Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias, is a Spanish state-owned company under the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, charged with the management of most of Spain's railway infrastructure, that is the track, signalling and stations...

. The first line was opened in 1992, connecting the cities of Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

 and Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

. Unlike the rest of the Spanish broad-gauge
Broad gauge
Broad-gauge railways use a track gauge greater than the standard gauge of .- List :For list see: List of broad gauges, by gauge and country- History :...

 network, the AVE uses standard gauge
Standard gauge
The standard gauge is a widely-used track gauge . Approximately 60% of the world's existing railway lines are built to this gauge...

, permitting direct connections outside Spain in the future. Although AVE trains are operated by Renfe
RENFE
Renfe Operadora is the state-owned company which operates freight and passenger trains on the 1668-mm "Iberian gauge" and 1435-mm "European gauge" networks of the Spanish national railway infrastructure company ADIF .- History :The name RENFE is derived from that of the former Spanish National...

, the Spanish state railway company, private companies may be allowed to operate trains in the future using other brands, in accordance with European Union legislation
EU Directive 91/440
The EU Directive 91/440 is European Union legislation that sets out a framework and requirements for railways in the EU to allow open access operations on railway lines by companies other than those that own the rail infrastructure...

. Some TGV-derived trains do run on the broad-gauge network at slower speeds, and these are branded separately as Euromed
Euromed (train)
Euromed is a high speed rail service which uses series 101 EMU rolling stock with bogies adapted for use on the 1,668mm Iberian gauge track. Traction current, supplied by overhead lines, can be either 3,000 volts, direct current or 25,000 volts, 50 Hz, alternating current...

.
On the line from Madrid to Seville, the service guarantees arrival within five minutes of the advertised time, and offers a full refund if the train is delayed further, although only 0.16% of trains have been so. In this regard, the punctuality of the AVE is exceptional compared to other non-long-distance RENFE
RENFE
Renfe Operadora is the state-owned company which operates freight and passenger trains on the 1668-mm "Iberian gauge" and 1435-mm "European gauge" networks of the Spanish national railway infrastructure company ADIF .- History :The name RENFE is derived from that of the former Spanish National...

 services. On other AVE lines, this punctuality promise is more lax (15 minutes on the Barcelona line). A possible reason for this is that AVE services slow down to 200 km/h for the Sierra Morena
Sierra Morena
The Sierra Morena is one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain.It stretches for 400 kilometres East-West across southern Spain, forming the southern border of the Meseta Central plateau of the Iberian Peninsula, and providing the watershed between the valleys of the Guadiana to the...

 section of the journey, because of the tight curves, and 250 km/h for the Córdoba-Seville section, possibly on account of medium-speed services running on the line, meaning that they have an easy means of recovering lost time if held up earlier in the journey.

History



New rail link to Andalusia


Towards the end of the 1980s a new line was planned to join the Castilian Meseta with Andalusia
Andalusia
Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities of Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and...

 without passing through the Despeñaperros national 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 N.A.F.A. (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
Seville Expo '92
The Universal Exposition of Seville took place from Monday, April 20 to Monday, October 12, 1992 on La Isla de La Cartuja , Seville, Spain. The theme for the Expo was "The Age of Discovery" and over 100 countries were represented...

 being held in Seville. Seven days later on 21 April 1992 commercial service began with six daily services stopping at Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

, Córdoba
Córdoba, Spain
-History:The first trace of human presence in the area are remains of a Neanderthal Man, dating to c. 32,000 BC. In the 8th century BC, during the ancient Tartessos period, a pre-urban settlement existed. The population gradually learned copper and silver metallurgy...

, Puertollano
Puertollano
Puertollano is an industrial city in province of Ciudad Real, Castile-La Mancha, Spain. It is situated on the AVE High Speed Train line linking Madrid and Seville . The city has a population of 51,842 .- Legend of the lie :...

 and Ciudad Real
Ciudad Real
Ciudad Real is a city in Castile-La Mancha, Spain, with a population of c. 74,000. It is the capital of the province of Ciudad Real. It has a stop on the AVE high-speed rail line and has begun to grow as a long-distance commuter suburb of Madrid, located 115 miles to the north. A high capacity...

. In October 1992 RENFE began the AVE Lanzadera service between Madrid and Puertollano and Ciudad Real.

It has been suggested that the PSOE
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party is a social-democratic political party in Spain. Its political position is Centre-left. The PSOE is the former ruling party of Spain, until beaten in the elections of November 2011 and the second oldest, exceeded only by the Partido Carlista, founded in...

 government chose the French Alstom
Alstom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

 bid over the Siemens
Siemens AG
Siemens AG is a German multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Munich, Germany. It is the largest Europe-based electronics and electrical engineering company....

 and Talgo
Talgo
Talgo is a Spanish manufacturer of railway vehicles. It is best known for a design of articulated railway passenger cars in which the wheels are mounted in pairs, but not joined by an axle, and being between rather than underneath the individual coaches...

 bids for political rather than technical reasons, rewarding the French government for its assistance in capturing ETA
ETA
ETA , an acronym for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna is an armed Basque nationalist and separatist organization. The group was founded in 1959 and has since evolved from a group promoting traditional Basque culture to a paramilitary group with the goal of gaining independence for the Greater Basque Country...

 activists who took "sanctuary
Sanctuary
A sanctuary is any place of safety. They may be categorized into human and non-human .- Religious sanctuary :A religious sanctuary can be a sacred place , or a consecrated area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar.- Sanctuary as a sacred place :#Sanctuary as a sacred place:#:In...

" across the border in southern France. Seville's hosting of the 1992 World's Fair
World's Fair
World's fair, World fair, Universal Exposition, and World Expo are various large public exhibitions held in different parts of the world. The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All...

 prompted the choice of that city for the inaugural AVE line. Seville is the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain and the fourth largest city in Spain, after Madrid, Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

 and Valencia
Valencia (city in Spain)
Valencia or València is the capital and most populous city of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain, with a population of 809,267 in 2010. It is the 15th-most populous municipality in the European Union...

, 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
Autonomous communities of Spain
An autonomous community In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian .*Galician .*Basque . The second article of the constitution recognizes the rights of "nationalities and regions" to self-government and declares the "indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation".Political power in Spain is...

.

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
Málaga
Málaga is a city and a municipality in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 568,507 in 2010, it is the second most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth largest in Spain. This is the southernmost large city in Europe...

. 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 40 minutes and covering the 471 km in 2½ hours.

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


In December 2004 a new medium distance service (AV Media Distancia operating under the 'Lanzadera' brand) began between Seville and Córdoba using new S-104 trains, reducing journey times between the two cities to 40 minutes. In 2005 the brand was renamed RENFE Avant and a further service was launched: Madrid–Ciudad Real–Puertollano.

The construction of a 21 kilometres (13 mi) stretch of high-speed line from Madrid to Toledo
Toledo, Spain
Toledo's Alcázar became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.-Economy:...

 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
Ciudad Real
Ciudad Real is a city in Castile-La Mancha, Spain, with a population of c. 74,000. It is the capital of the province of Ciudad Real. It has a stop on the AVE high-speed rail line and has begun to grow as a long-distance commuter suburb of Madrid, located 115 miles to the north. A high capacity...

, 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
Getafe
Getafe is a city in the southern zone of the Madrid metropolitan area, Spain, and one of the most populated and industrialized cities in the municipality. The city is home to one of the oldest Spanish military air bases, as well as the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid...

, Aranjuez
Aranjuez
Aranjuez is a town lying 48 km south of Madrid, in the southern part of the Community of Madrid. It is located at the confluence of the Tagus and Jarama rivers, 48 km from Toledo. As of 2009, it has a population of 54,055.-History:...

 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.

Madrid–Barcelona



The Madrid–Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

 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, with non-stop trains covering the 621 km (386 mi) between the two cities in just 2 hours 38 minutes, and those calling at all stations in 3 hours 23 minutes.

Madrid–Valladolid



The Madrid–Segovia
Segovia
Segovia is a city in Spain, the capital of Segovia Province in the autonomous community of Castile and León. It is situated north of Madrid, 30 minutes by high speed train. The municipality counts some 55,500 inhabitants.-Etymology:...

Valladolid
Valladolid
Valladolid is a historic city and municipality in north-central Spain, situated at the confluence of the Pisuerga and Esgueva rivers, and located within three wine-making regions: Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Cigales...

 line was inaugurated on 22 December 2007. It Includes a tunnel of 28 kilometres (17.4 mi) at Guadarrama
Guadarrama
Guadarrama is a town in the Community of Madrid in Spain.Pop: 13032 , approx. 60000 .Co-ordinates . not true...

, 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 S102
AVE Class 102
The AVE Class 102 or S-102S-102 denotes 'Serie 102 de RENFE', the 1xx series is used for fixed passenger consists, such as electrical multiple units is a class of AVE high-speed trains for the Spanish state-run railway company RENFE...

 (Pato, max speed 320 km/h (199 mph)).

Madrid–Levante


The Madrid-Levante line connects Madrid with the Mediterranean coast of the Levante Region
Levante, Spain
The Levante is a name used to refer to the eastern region of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. It roughly corresponds to the former Xarq Al-Andalus, but has no modern geopolitical definition...

. The Madrid-Cuenca
Cuenca, Spain
-History:When the Iberian peninsula was part of the Roman Empire there were several important settlements in the province, such as Segóbriga, Ercávica and Gran Valeria...

-Valencia 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. 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, Castellón, Murcia and Cartagena.

Córdoba–Málaga


The Córdoba–Málaga
Málaga
Málaga is a city and a municipality in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 568,507 in 2010, it is the second most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth largest in Spain. This is the southernmost large city in Europe...

 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 neighboring countries rail systems,

Trains


Currently, there are several series of High speed trains that run the AVE service:
  • S/100
    AVE Class 100
    The AVE Class 100 is the first series of AVE high speed trains for the Spanish state-run railway company RENFE.The Class 100 is manufactured by Alstom and is directly derived from the French TGV. It is made up of two 4,400 kW power cars with two motorised bogies each and eight passenger cars...

    , manufactured by Alstom
  • S/102
    AVE Class 102
    The AVE Class 102 or S-102S-102 denotes 'Serie 102 de RENFE', the 1xx series is used for fixed passenger consists, such as electrical multiple units is a class of AVE high-speed trains for the Spanish state-run railway company RENFE...

    , manufactured by Talgo
    Talgo
    Talgo is a Spanish manufacturer of railway vehicles. It is best known for a design of articulated railway passenger cars in which the wheels are mounted in pairs, but not joined by an axle, and being between rather than underneath the individual coaches...

     and Bombardier
    Bombardier Transportation
    Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

  • S/103
    AVE Class 103
    The AVE Class 103 is a series of AVE high speed trains for the Spanish state-run railway company RENFE.Trains have been constructed by Siemens, as the first member of the company's Velaro family.-History:...

    , manufactured by Siemens, marketed globally under the brand Siemens Velaro
    Siemens Velaro
    Siemens Velaro is a family of high-speed EMU trains used in Europe and China. The Velaro is based on Deutsche Bahn's ICE 3 high-speed trains, but is a full Siemens product unlike the ICE 3 which involved other manufacturers....

  • S/112, manufactured by Talgo and Bombardier

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
Alvia
Alvia is a high speed train in Spain used by RENFE for long distance service. The trains have the ability to use both Iberian gauge and standard gauge, which allows them to utilize the recently constructed high-speed lines for part of the journey before switching to the "classic" Iberian gauge...

 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 brand are:
  • S/120, manufactured by CAF
    Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles
    Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles is a rail equipment manufacturer based in Beasain in the Basque Country, Spain. Equipment manufactured by CAF includes light rail vehicles, rapid transit trains, railroad cars and locomotives, as well as variable gauge axles that can be fitted on any...

     and Alstom
  • S/130, manufactured by Talgo and Bombardier

Operational services



Currently the Spanish high speed network is made up of the following services: via Ciudad Real, Puertollano, and Córdoba. via Segovia. via Guadalajara, Calatayud, Zaragoza, Lleida and Tarragona. via Zaragoza and Córdoba. via Zaragoza and Córdoba. via Guadalajara, Calatayud, and Zaragoza. via Ciudad Real, Puertollano, Córdoba, and Antequera.
(mid distance) . (mid distance) Madrid–Toledo
Toledo, Spain
Toledo's Alcázar became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.-Economy:...

. (mid distance) Málaga–Córdoba
Córdoba, Spain
-History:The first trace of human presence in the area are remains of a Neanderthal Man, dating to c. 32,000 BC. In the 8th century BC, during the ancient Tartessos period, a pre-urban settlement existed. The population gradually learned copper and silver metallurgy...

–Seville via Antequera
Antequera
Antequera is a city and municipality in the province of Málaga, part of the Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia. It is known as "the heart of Andalusia" because of its central location among Málaga, Granada, Córdoba, and Seville...

 and Puente Genil (mid distance) Segovia
Segovia
Segovia is a city in Spain, the capital of Segovia Province in the autonomous community of Castile and León. It is situated north of Madrid, 30 minutes by high speed train. The municipality counts some 55,500 inhabitants.-Etymology:...

–Madrid. (mid distance) Calatayud
Calatayud
Calatayud is a city and municipality in the province of Zaragoza in Aragón, Spain lying on the river Jalón, in the midst of the Sistema Ibérico mountain range. It is the second-largest city in the province after the capital, Zaragoza, and the largest town in Aragón other than the three provincial...

–Zaragoza (mid distance) Zaragoza–Huesca
Huesca
Huesca is a city in north-eastern Spain, within the autonomous community of Aragon. It is also the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the comarca of Hoya de Huesca....

 (mid distance) Barcelona–Lleida
Lleida
Lleida is a city in the west of Catalonia, Spain. It is the capital city of the province of Lleida, as well as the largest city in the province and it had 137,387 inhabitants , including the contiguous municipalities of Raimat and Sucs. The metro area has about 250,000 inhabitants...


(mixed high speed-conventional) Madrid–Irún
Irun
Irun is a town of the Bidasoa-Txingudi region in the province of Gipuzkoa in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain...

, via Valladolid, Burgos and San Sebastián. (mixed high speed-conventional) Madrid–Bilbao
Bilbao
Bilbao ) is a Spanish municipality, capital of the province of Biscay, in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. With a population of 353,187 , it is the largest city of its autonomous community and the tenth largest in Spain...

, via Valladolid and Burgos. (mixed high speed-conventional) Santander
Santander, Cantabria
The port city of Santander is the capital of the autonomous community and historical region of Cantabria situated on the north coast of Spain. Located east of Gijón and west of Bilbao, the city has a population of 183,446 .-History:...

Alicante
Alicante
Alicante or Alacant is a city in Spain, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 334,418, estimated , ranking as the second-largest...

, via Madrid and Valladolid. (mixed high speed-conventional) Gijón
Gijón
Gijón , officially Gijón / Xixón, is a coastal industrial city and a municipality in the autonomous community of Asturias in Spain. Early mediaeval texts mention it as "Gigia". It was an important regional Roman city, although the area has been settled since earliest history...

Alicante
Alicante
Alicante or Alacant is a city in Spain, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 334,418, estimated , ranking as the second-largest...

, via Valladolid and Madrid. (mixed high speed-conventional) Madrid–Logroño
Logroño
Logroño is a city in northern Spain, on the Ebro River. It is the capital of the autonomous community of La Rioja, formerly known as La Rioja Province.The population of Logroño in 2008 was 153,736 and a metropolitan population of nearly 197,000 inhabitants...

. (mixed high speed-conventional) Barcelona–Irún
Irun
Irun is a town of the Bidasoa-Txingudi region in the province of Gipuzkoa in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain...

, via Zaragoza, Pamplona and San Sebastián. (mixed high speed-conventional) Barcelona–Bilbao
Bilbao
Bilbao ) is a Spanish municipality, capital of the province of Biscay, in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. With a population of 353,187 , it is the largest city of its autonomous community and the tenth largest in Spain...

, via Zaragoza and Logroño. (mixed high speed-conventional) Barcelona–Vigo
Vigo
Vigo is a city and municipality in north-west Spain, in Galicia, situated on the ria of the same name on the Atlantic Ocean.-Population:...

, via Zaragoza, Pamplona, Vitoria, Burgos, Palencia and Leon. With connection services to Gijón in Leon and to A Coruña in Monforte de Lemos (mixed high speed-conventional) Madrid–Huelva
Huelva
Huelva is a city in southwestern Spain, the capital of the province of Huelva in the autonomous region of Andalusia. It is located along the Gulf of Cadiz coast, at the confluence of the Odiel and Tinto rivers. According to the 2010 census, the city has a population of 149,410 inhabitants. The...

, 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 Chamartin Station.

Northeastern corridor–French border


Construction is currently under way to connect the new high-speed line from Barcelona to the French TGV network
TGV
The TGV is France's high-speed rail service, currently operated by SNCF Voyages, the long-distance rail branch of SNCF, the French national rail operator....

 via the Perthus tunnel
Perthus Tunnel
The Perthus Tunnel is a twin-bore railway tunnel between Perpignan, France and Figueres, Spain built as part of the high-speed railway line between Barcelona and Montpellier under the Eastern Pyrenees. The tunnel took five years to build and was completed on February 17, 2009...

 under the Pyrenees. , the AVE network ends at Barcelona, and the TGV at Montpellier.
The line from Figueres to Perpignan opened in December 2010. The section from Barcelona to Figueres is scheduled to open in 2012. In the meantime, passengers can take the connecting service between Barcelona and Figueres. Funding arrangements have already been agreed for a Nîmes-Montpellier bypass, but not for a new line between Montpellier and Perpignan.

The line will be operated by Talgo
Talgo
Talgo is a Spanish manufacturer of railway vehicles. It is best known for a design of articulated railway passenger cars in which the wheels are mounted in pairs, but not joined by an axle, and being between rather than underneath the individual coaches...

 and Siemens AG
Siemens AG
Siemens AG is a German multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Munich, Germany. It is the largest Europe-based electronics and electrical engineering company....

 trains, although it will require special dual-voltage rolling stock. The French line Perpignan – Montpellier is electrified at 1.5 kV DC, but Spanish trains use 25 kV AC. French trains are dual-voltage, allowing both TGV and regional trains to operate on the line. All Spanish trains are single-voltage.

North-Northwestern corridors

  • Bilbao
    Bilbao
    Bilbao ) is a Spanish municipality, capital of the province of Biscay, in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. With a population of 353,187 , it is the largest city of its autonomous community and the tenth largest in Spain...

    Vitoria-Gasteiz
    Vitoria-Gasteiz
    Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital city of the province of Álava and of the autonomous community of the Basque Country in northern Spain with a population of 235,661 people. It is the second largest Basque city...

    –San Sebastian–French border
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

     (Basque Y
    Basque Y
    Basque Y is the name given to the Spanish high-speed rail network being built between the three cities of the Basque Country autonomous community; Bilbao, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain.-Characteristics:...

    ). This line will connect the three Basque capitals. The line will connect with Madrid via Valladolid, and with the French border via Irún
    Irun
    Irun is a town of the Bidasoa-Txingudi region in the province of Gipuzkoa in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain...

     and Bayonne
    Bayonne
    Bayonne is a city and commune in south-western France at the confluence of the Nive and Adour rivers, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department, of which it is a sub-prefecture...

    .
  • Variante de Pajares
    Pajares Base Tunnel
    The new Pajares Tunnel is a 24,667 m-long railway tunnel under construction in Spain. It will be on the AVE line from Valladolid to Gijón but could be used also by freight trains in the future....

    . This line will cross a very mountainous area between León
    León (province)
    León is a province of northwestern Spain, in the northwestern part of the autonomous community of Castile and León.About one quarter of its population of 500,200 lives in the capital, León. The weather is cold and dry during the winter....

     and Asturias
    Asturias
    The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain, coextensive with the former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages...

    . It will form part of the high-speed rail line connecting Madrid with the Asturias region (Oviedo
    Oviedo
    Oviedo is the capital city of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain. It is also the name of the municipality that contains the city....

     and Gijón
    Gijón
    Gijón , officially Gijón / Xixón, is a coastal industrial city and a municipality in the autonomous community of Asturias in Spain. Early mediaeval texts mention it as "Gigia". It was an important regional Roman city, although the area has been settled since earliest history...

    ).
  • Valladolid
    Valladolid
    Valladolid is a historic city and municipality in north-central Spain, situated at the confluence of the Pisuerga and Esgueva rivers, and located within three wine-making regions: Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Cigales...

    Burgos
    Burgos
    Burgos is a city of northern Spain, historic capital of Castile. It is situated at the edge of the central plateau, with about 178,966 inhabitants in the city proper and another 20,000 in its suburbs. It is the capital of the province of Burgos, in the autonomous community of Castile and León...

    Vitoria-Gasteiz
    Vitoria-Gasteiz
    Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital city of the province of Álava and of the autonomous community of the Basque Country in northern Spain with a population of 235,661 people. It is the second largest Basque city...

    , the extension of the Madrid-Valladolid high speed rail line started construction 2009 and is expected to reach Burgos in 2013 and later Vitoria-Gasteiz in 2015, where it will connect with the Basque Y.
  • Venta de Baños–León
    León, Spain
    León is the capital of the province of León in the autonomous community of Castile and León, situated in the northwest of Spain. Its city population of 136,985 makes it the largest municipality in the province, accounting for more than one quarter of the province's population...

    Asturias
    Asturias
    The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain, coextensive with the former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages...

    , 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 is expected to reach León in 2013 and Oviedo and Gijón in 2015-2016.
  • Eje Atlántico de Alta Velocidad (Atlantic line). This line will connect all Galician coastal cities, including A Coruña
    A Coruña
    A Coruña or La Coruña is a city and municipality of Galicia, Spain. It is the second-largest city in the autonomous community and seventeenth overall in the country...

    , Santiago de Compostela
    Santiago de Compostela
    Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain.The city's Cathedral is the destination today, as it has been throughout history, of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James...

     and Vigo
    Vigo
    Vigo is a city and municipality in north-west Spain, in Galicia, situated on the ria of the same name on the Atlantic Ocean.-Population:...

    , with the Portuguese border, and eventually with Porto
    Porto
    Porto , also known as Oporto in English, is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the major urban areas in the Iberian Peninsula. Its administrative limits include a population of 237,559 inhabitants distributed within 15 civil parishes...

    . By 2012 it is expected that the line will be finished between A Coruña and Vigo.
  • Olmedo
    Olmedo, Spain
    Olmedo is a municipality in the province of Valladolid, Spain.-Transport:Olmedo is on the N-601 road ....

    Santiago de Compostela
    Santiago de Compostela
    Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain.The city's Cathedral is the destination today, as it has been throughout history, of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James...

    , the high-speed rail line that will connect Galicia and the Eje Atlántico de Alta Velocidad 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.

Southwest–Portuguese corridor

  • Talavera de la Reina–Cáceres
    Cáceres, Spain
    Cáceres is the capital of the same name province, in the autonomous community of Extremadura, Spain. , its population was 91,131 inhabitants. The municipio has a land area of 1,750.33 km², and is the largest in geographical extension in Spain....

    Mérida
    Mérida, Spain
    Mérida is the capital of the autonomous community of Extremadura, western central Spain. It has a population of 57,127 . The Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993.- Climate :...

    Badajoz
    Badajoz
    Badajoz is the capital of the Province of Badajoz in the autonomous community of Extremadura, Spain, situated close to the Portuguese border, on the left bank of the river Guadiana, and the Madrid–Lisbon railway. The population in 2007 was 145,257....

    /Elvas–Lisbon
    Lisbon
    Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

    . This line will connect the two peninsular capitals in 2 hours and 45 minutes, connecting the south-west region of Extremadura
    Extremadura
    Extremadura is an autonomous community of western Spain whose capital city is Mérida. Its component provinces are Cáceres and Badajoz. It is bordered by Portugal to the west...

     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 Portugese froze works in June 2011. It is not clear if there will finally be a station in the Spanish town of Mérida
    Mérida, Spain
    Mérida is the capital of the autonomous community of Extremadura, western central Spain. It has a population of 57,127 . The Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993.- Climate :...

    . The line would link with High-speed rail in Portugal
    High-speed rail in Portugal
    The government of Portugal plans to build a high-speed rail line from Lisbon to Madrid. The €7.8 billion plan, announced in February 2009, is part of an effort to stimulate the country's economy. The government argued that the plan would create 100,000 jobs...

    , a project announced by the Portuguese government in February 2009.

Southern corridors

  • Seville
    Seville
    Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

    Cádiz
    Cádiz
    Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

    , expected to enter full revenue service 2012.
  • Eje Ferroviario Transversal, the Andalusian high-speed rail line connecting Huelva, Seville, Granada and Almería. Part of the line is financed and built by the Andalusian government.
  • Madrid
    Madrid
    Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

    Jaén
    Jaén, Spain
    Jaén is a city in south-central Spain, the name is derived from the Arabic word Jayyan, . It is the capital of the province of Jaén. It is located in the autonomous community of Andalusia....

    , 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

  • Madrid
    Madrid
    Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

    Castile-La Mancha
    Castile-La Mancha
    Castile-La Mancha is an autonomous community of Spain. Castile-La Mancha is bordered by Castile and León, Madrid, Aragon, Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia, and Extremadura. It is one of the most sparsely populated of Spain's autonomous communities...

    Valencian Community
    Valencian Community
    The Valencian Community is an autonomous community of Spain located in central and south-eastern Iberian Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Valencia...

    Murcia
    Murcia
    -History:It is widely believed that Murcia's name is derived from the Latin words of Myrtea or Murtea, meaning land of Myrtle , although it may also be a derivation of the word Murtia, which would mean Murtius Village...

    , the high-speed rail network connecting Madrid with the Mediterranean coast, Cuenca
    Cuenca, Spain
    -History:When the Iberian peninsula was part of the Roman Empire there were several important settlements in the province, such as Segóbriga, Ercávica and Gran Valeria...

    , Albacete
    Albacete
    Albacete is a city and municipality in southeastern Spain, 258 km southeast of Madrid, the capital of the province of Albacete in the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha. The municipality had a population of c. 169,700 in 2009....

    , Valencia, Alicante
    Alicante
    Alicante or Alacant is a city in Spain, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 334,418, estimated , ranking as the second-largest...

    , Castellón
    Castellón de la Plana
    Castellón de la Plana or Castelló de la Plana is the capital city of the province of Castelló, in the Valencian Community, Spain, in the east of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Costa del Azahar by the Mediterranean Sea...

    , Murcia
    Murcia
    -History:It is widely believed that Murcia's name is derived from the Latin words of Myrtea or Murtea, meaning land of Myrtle , although it may also be a derivation of the word Murtia, which would mean Murtius Village...

     and Cartagena
    Cartagena, Spain
    Cartagena is a Spanish city and a major naval station located in the Region of Murcia, by the Mediterranean coast, south-eastern Spain. As of January 2011, it has a population of 218,210 inhabitants being the Region’s second largest municipality and the country’s 6th non-Province capital...

    . The network will total 940 km of high-speed rail.

Mediterranean corridor

  • Andalusia
    Andalusia
    Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities of Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and...

    Murcia
    Region of Murcia
    The Region of Murcia is an autonomous community of Spain located in the southeast of the country, between Andalusia and Valencian Community, on the Mediterranean coast....

    Valencian Community
    Valencian Community
    The Valencian Community is an autonomous community of Spain located in central and south-eastern Iberian Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Valencia...

    Catalonia
    Catalonia
    Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

    French border
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


Two seas corridor

  • Valencian Community
    Valencian Community
    The Valencian Community is an autonomous community of Spain located in central and south-eastern Iberian Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Valencia...

    Aragon
    Aragon
    Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

    Navarre
    Navarre
    Navarre , officially the Chartered Community of Navarre is an autonomous community in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Country, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Aquitaine in France...

    Basque Country
    Basque Country (autonomous community)
    The Basque Country is an autonomous community of northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa, also called Historical Territories....

    French border
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


Future planned lines


In the short term, other connections to the LGV are planned. After the connnection to France at La Jonquera
La Jonquera
La Jonquera is a municipality in the comarca of l'Alt Empordà, in Catalonia, Spain. It is situated just by the border with France, with the municipalty of Le Perthus.-History:...

 in Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

, another connection is proposed at Irun
Irun
Irun is a town of the Bidasoa-Txingudi region in the province of Gipuzkoa in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain...

 in the Basque Country
Basque Country (autonomous community)
The Basque Country is an autonomous community of northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa, also called Historical Territories....

. Other new lines are under consideration, including a line connecting Soria
Soria
Soria is a city in north-central Spain, the capital of the province of Soria in the autonomous community of Castile and León. , the municipality has a population of c. 39,500 inhabitants, nearly 40% of the population of the province...

 to the Madrid-Barcelona line at Calatayud
Calatayud
Calatayud is a city and municipality in the province of Zaragoza in Aragón, Spain lying on the river Jalón, in the midst of the Sistema Ibérico mountain range. It is the second-largest city in the province after the capital, Zaragoza, and the largest town in Aragón other than the three provincial...

. 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 7000 kilometres (4,349.6 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 10000 kilometres (6,213.7 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
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

.

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 (487.2 mi) between León
León, Spain
León is the capital of the province of León in the autonomous community of Castile and León, situated in the northwest of Spain. Its city population of 136,985 makes it the largest municipality in the province, accounting for more than one quarter of the province's population...

 and Barcelona.

On the other hand, there has been a great improvement in speed and time for trains that link Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

 with other capitals that do not have direct AVE connections, but use the high-speed line for most of the route, such as:
  • Huelva
    Huelva
    Huelva is a city in southwestern Spain, the capital of the province of Huelva in the autonomous region of Andalusia. It is located along the Gulf of Cadiz coast, at the confluence of the Odiel and Tinto rivers. According to the 2010 census, the city has a population of 149,410 inhabitants. The...

     (3 h 45 min)
  • Cádiz
    Cádiz
    Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

     (4 h 30 min)
  • Algeciras
    Algeciras
    Algeciras is a port city in the south of Spain, and is the largest city on the Bay of Gibraltar . Port of Algeciras is one of the largest ports in Europe and in the world in three categories: container,...

     (5 h 25 min)
  • Granada
    Granada
    Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

     (4 h 36 min)
  • Pamplona
    Pamplona
    Pamplona is the historial capital city of Navarre, in Spain, and of the former kingdom of Navarre.The city is famous worldwide for the San Fermín festival, from July 6 to 14, in which the running of the bulls is one of the main attractions...

     (2 h 59 min)
  • Logroño
    Logroño
    Logroño is a city in northern Spain, on the Ebro River. It is the capital of the autonomous community of La Rioja, formerly known as La Rioja Province.The population of Logroño in 2008 was 153,736 and a metropolitan population of nearly 197,000 inhabitants...

     (3 h 40 min)
  • Irún
    Irun
    Irun is a town of the Bidasoa-Txingudi region in the province of Gipuzkoa in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain...

     (5 h 19  min)
  • Bilbao
    Bilbao
    Bilbao ) is a Spanish municipality, capital of the province of Biscay, in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. With a population of 353,187 , it is the largest city of its autonomous community and the tenth largest in Spain...

     (4 h 46 min)
  • San Sebastián
    San Sebastián
    Donostia-San Sebastián is a city and municipality located in the north of Spain, in the coast of the Bay of Biscay and 20 km away from the French border. The city is the capital of Gipuzkoa, in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. The municipality’s population is 186,122 , and its...

     (5 h 20 min)
  • Santander
    Santander, Cantabria
    The port city of Santander is the capital of the autonomous community and historical region of Cantabria situated on the north coast of Spain. Located east of Gijón and west of Bilbao, the city has a population of 183,446 .-History:...

     (4 h 25 min)
  • Vitoria-Gasteiz
    Vitoria-Gasteiz
    Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital city of the province of Álava and of the autonomous community of the Basque Country in northern Spain with a population of 235,661 people. It is the second largest Basque city...

    (3 h 48 min)

External links