SPAIN: Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy joined Development Minister Ana Pastor and Juan Vicente Herrera, President of the Castilla y León regional government, to officially open the 162⋅7 km high speed line between Valladolid and León on September 29.

Built at a cost of €1⋅62bn for operation at up to 350 km/h, the new line has cut the fastest Madrid – León journey time by 44 min to 2 h 6 min. The route comprises 78⋅7 km of double track and two single-track sections totalling 84 km.

As well as two gauge-changing installations at León, a third has been built at Villamuriel south of Palencia, used by services joining the conventional network to reach Santander. With the start of commercial services on September 30, the fastest journey times from Madrid will be 3 h 53 min to Santander, 4 h 02 min to Oviedo and 4 h 32 min to Gijón.

Four classes of high speed train have been deployed by RENFE on the new route. As well as the Class 112 and gauge-changing Class 130 trainsets manufactured by Talgo and Bombardier, services are operated with the Class 114 and gauge-changing Class 121 supplied by CAF and Alstom.