SPAIN: On December 17 national operator RENFE introduced Alvia services from Madrid to Salamanca and Zamora, following the completion of high speed infrastructure between Olmedo near Medina del Campo and Zamora, as well as upgrading and electrification of the conventional route between Medina del Campo and Salamanca.
The fastest journey time between Madrid and Zamora has been cut by 22 min to 1 h 33 min, with one service operated daily in each direction using a Class 730 trainset. Services between Madrid and Galicia are due to begin using high speed infrastructure as far as Zamora on January 10 2016.
Designed for operation at up to 350 km/h, the 99 km of high speed infrastructure between Olmedo and Zamora has been built at a cost of €748⋅2m, according to the Ministry of Development. The project has included the construction of a gauge-changing installation for the Talgo system at Zamora, where work to adapt the station for the arrival of high speed services has cost €35⋅6m.
Upgrading the 76⋅9 km of 1 668 mm gauge infrastructure between Medina del Campo and Salamanca has cost a total of €53⋅1m, including the construction of a gauge-changing installation at Medina del Campo at a cost of €3⋅1m. Electrification at 25 kV AC has involved the construction of a new traction substation at Pitiegua as well as the installation of four autotransformers.
Using Class 121 trainsets, RENFE is now operating three Alvia services a day in each direction between Madrid and Salamanca, cutting the fastest journey time by 63 min to 1 h 36 min. Conventional services continue to operate between Madrid and Salamanca via Ávila.