ON JANUARY 20 Renfe President Miguel Corsini joined Development Minister Francisco Álvarez-Cascos, President of the Madrid Regional Government Esperanza Aguirre and Mayor of Madrid Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón to mark the start of passenger service with the Civia commuter EMU.

Six of the initial 14 trains ordered from Alstom, Bombardier, CAF and Siemens (RG 5.03 p251) had been accepted for service. Aluminium bodies and modern power electronics mean that the Civia consumes 4·28 kW/h compared with 8·65 kW/h for the Class 446 dating from 1989.

Last year Renfe ordered 80 more units at a cost of €407·5m, divided between Alstom and a consortium of CAF and Siemens. Under a programme to expand commuter networks across Spain, 248 new trains will be required between 2003 and 2010.

Renfe has awarded four-year contracts for maintenance of commuter EMUs under a reliability-centred regime. CAF and Bombardier will maintain 74 Class 446 EMUs at Móstoles depot in Madrid, while Reminfer (SEPSA, Merak, CCM and HCS) will be responsible for 36 Class 446s at Cerro Negro. In Barcelona, 60 Class 447s based at Montcada and Mataró will be maintained by a consortium of Alstom and Siemens.