SPANISH national rail operator Renfe and train builder Alstom announced the formation of train maintenance joint venture Irvia Mantenimiento Ferroviario on November 28.

Alstom has a 51% stake in the Madrid-based joint venture, and the board will be nominated equally by the two partners.

Irvia will initially maintain 80 Civia suburban trains built at Alstom's factory near Barcelona (RG 12.07 p750). It will also undertake maintenance of 10 Class 490 Alaris high speed tilting trainsets operating on the Madrid - Valencia route, and expansion to cover other stock is planned.

Maintenance accounts for more than 20% of Alstom's sales, and the company sees it as the area with the strongest potential for growth over the next 10 years.