SPANISH national operator Renfe has unveiled plans to create a 'rail bridge' with the completion of high speed infrastructure between Madrid and Barcelona, basing its commercial strategy on that employed by airline Iberia currently offering an intensive service between the two cities.

From December 21 rail passengers will be able to buy open fares without a specific reservation, priced higher than normal fares but expected to be considerably less than the €390 charged by Iberia. To speed up the check-in process for passengers using high speed services, 200 self-service machines are being installed at Madrid Atocha and Barcelona Sants.

Wagons-Lits has been awarded a contract worth €23·7m to provide catering and other onboard services on high speed trains between Madrid and Barcelona, where meals will be included in the price of Club and Preferente class tickets. Cremonini Rail Ibérica also bid for the contract.