THE FIRST Class 104 trainsets ordered by Spanish National Railways for high speed regional services (RG 7.03 p415) left the Alstom works at Santa Perpètua de Mogoda near Barcelona at the end of November, bound for La Sagra depot near Toledo and dynamic trials on the Madrid - Sevilla route. The second unit was due to be handed over this month, with the last of the 20-strong 250 km/h fleet due to be delivered in November.

Renfe has called tenders for the supply of between 35 and 45 gauge-changing trainsets for regional services on the 1435mm and 1668mm networks, setting a budget of €480m. Bids have also been invited for between 20 and 26 gauge-changing trainsets to operate long-distance services at up to 250 km/h. Budgeted at €270m, these trains bring to 10 the number of high speed orders put out to tender by Renfe since 2001, representing total investment of €3·26bn.

Its original proposals having been blocked by the Spanish Treasury, Renfe has been authorised to begin fresh negotiations with UK leasing company Angel Trains, which had agreed to finance the acquisition of the new gauge-changing trainsets.

  • Siemens SA President Eduardo Montes has blamed delays to the production of Velaro E high speed trainsets on protracted contract negotiations and the difficulties of co-ordinating work at different plants in Spain, ’which enormously complicates project development’. With work divided between Siemens, CAF, Alstom and Renfe’s Valladolid workshops, the first of 16 trainsets is due to be handed over in February, with deliveries completed by the end of 2004.