SPANISH National Railways has called tenders for a fleet of high speed trains for short distance services. The Madrid - Ciudad Real shuttles worked by the original AVE fleet have proved very popular, and Renfe plans to introduce similar services between other city pairs such as Córdoba - Sevilla and Barcelona - Lleida. The six trains initially required will have a top speed of 250 or 270 km/h and will be 1435mm gauge; cost is Pts1·2bn each. The contract may include options for 10 to 18 more. Bidders identified by mid-July were Alstom and Talgo.

The regional sets are in addition to the 26 to 40 trains required to run at up to 350 km/h between Barcelona, Madrid and Sevilla, for which Alstom, Talgo, Siemens and AnsaldoBreda have prequalified; formal tenders are to be submitted on September 29. Bids for eight gauge-changing high speed trains to work interim services on the Madrid - Barcelona AVE line from 2002 while the Lleida - Barcelona section is finished are to be submitted on September 18. These trains are also destined to serve cities off the AVE line on routes such as Barcelona - Huesca and Madrid - Pamplona.

Meanwhile GIF continues to let contracts for works on the Madrid - Barcelona route. These include a construction base at Calatayud (Vías y Construcciones) and tracklaying between Puente de Ebro and Lleida (Tecsa Empresa Constructora, Guinovart Oshsa, Coprosa and Copasa). Siemens has won a Pts6·3bn contract for GSM-R train radio, Cobra and CSEE Transport are to supply interlockings and train protection systems for Pts21·2bn, and Alcatel España and Alcatel Contracting have won a Pts5bn contract for telecommunications.