es-ETR1000 for Spain-2

SPAIN: The first of 23 ETR1000 trainsets being built for future high speed operator Intermodalidad de Levante are nearing completion at Hitachi Rail Europe’s Pistoia factory in Italy.

Trenitalia holds a 45% stake in ILSA, which is majority owned by regional airline group Air Nostrum. The Italian national operator awarded the €797m contract for the 360 km/h trains to a 60:40 joint venture of Hitachi Rail (60%) and Bombardier Transportation in August 2020. They are a follow-on to the 50 Frecciarossa 1000 trainsets operated by Trenitalia in Italy since 2015 and an extra 14 sets ordered in 2019. The 200 m long trains will carry around 460 passengers, offering facilities including a bistro area and onboard wi-fi.

es-ETR1000 for Spain-1

ILSA is hoping to launch its first services on March 1 2022, having been allocated a 10-year framework agreement for ‘Package B’ when ADIF AV auctioned access to the Spanish high speed network in November 2019. This provides bundles of train paths on routes from Madrid to Sevilla, Málaga and Granada via Córdoba, from Madrid to València, Albacete and Alacant via Cuenca and from Madrid to Barcelona via Zaragoza.

Awarded Package C, the Rielsfera subsidiary of French national operator SNCF launched its first Ouigo high speed trains between Madrid and Barcelona on May 10, using a fleet of 14 modified TGV Duplex trainsets. Ouigo España is initially operating five trains each way per day between Madrid and Barcelona, two of which call at Zaragoza and one at Camp de Tarragona, with single fares starting from €9.

AVLO joins the mix

State-owned incumbent RENFE finally launched its long-promised low-cost AVLO services on June 23, having postponed the introduction from April 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The first AVLO departed from Figueres-Vilafant at 05.35 for Barcelona and Madrid-Puerta de Atocha, with the first northbound working leaving the capital for Barcelona-Sants at 06.20.

es-AVLO first day Madrid - Barcelona-Mariano Alvaro Navarro

Photo: Mariano Álvaro Navarro

With effect from June 23 RENFE is operating 20 trains each way between Madrid and Barcelona, offering around 16 000 seats on a mix of AVE and AVLO services. There is one all-stations AVLO train each way between Madrid and Figueres-Vilafant, and three more linking Madrid and Barcelona. One of these calls at Zaragoza, while the other two run non-stop in 2 h 30 min. Further trains may be added as demand recovers following the pandemic

To operate the AVLO services, RENFE has modified five of its 330 km/h Class 112 trainsets, which now provide 438 Turista class seats, a 20% increase on the standard configuration. Yield-managed single fares start from €7, including a limited amount of luggage, but must be booked online. Onboard wi-fi provides access to the PlayRENFE infotainment service, and refreshments are available from vending machines.