SPANISH National Railways has been allocated Pts300bn for investment in rolling stock during the 1999-2003 Contract Programme, according to the Minister of Development. He told local representatives from Alstom, Siemens, Adtranz, CAF and Talgo at the end of February that the plan will encompass new funding sources, including leasing and the joint venture accords between manufacturers and the railway which were proposed last year (RG 4.98 p260).

Almost half of the money will go on stock for the Madrid - Barcelona - French frontier high speed line: Pts100bn for a dedicated standard-gauge fleet and a further Pts40bn for gauge-convertible trainsets to serve other cities via the new line. Another Pts90bn will be spent on new passenger stock for the conventional network, with special emphasis on regional services. The remaining Pts60bn will fund modernisation of existing locos and rolling stock.

On March 8 the Renfe board approved the purchase of a further seven 160 km/h TRD diesel multiple-units from CAF and Adtranz for Pts3·5bn. The two-car Flexliner derivatives are due to enter service in Galicia, Andalucía and around Salamanca by the end of 2000. The last of the original 10 three-car TRD sets, fitted with CAF tilt equipment, is currently undergoing trials, and is expected to enter revenue service in May.

  • On February 15 Renfe replaced its overnight Estrella train linking Madrid with Santiago, A Coruña, Vigo and Pontevedra. The new Trenhotel Rías Gallegas is formed of two Talgo Pendular sleeper sets, offering 184 places to A Coruña and 154 to Pontevedra.