On April 3 Patentes Talgo demonstrated its 220 km/h gauge-changing BT diesel power car, which ran with seven Talgo XXI cars (RG 7.99 p437) from Madrid Atocha (below) along the 1435mm gauge high speed line as far as the gauge-changing installation at Córdoba, then proceeding to Puente Genil on the 1668mm gauge network. With the power car taking the train through the gauge-changer at 15 km/h (top right), the process was completed in 60sec rather than the 20min required when locos are changed.

Krauss-Maffei has produced the 1150 kW diesel BT power car for Talgo, and a 1500 kW electric version taking both 25 kV 50Hz AC and 3 kV DC is to be developed by Adtranz. Both weigh 44 tonnes and have an axleload of 18 tonnes, and it is expected that up 12 Talgo XXI cars would operate between a pair of power cars.

Talgo CEO Francisco de Lorenzo sees a domestic market for between 60 and 80 Talgo XXI trainsets over the next seven years, as the Spanish high speed network grows and presents new opportunities for faster through services using both gauges. Talgo has proposed the acquisition of between eight and 40 electric trainsets to Renfe. A firm order would be required by June if the first trains are to be ready for the opening of the first section of the Madrid - Barcelona line as far as Lleida around the end of 2002. In the export market, the diesel Talgo XXI is proposed for US corridors such as Chicago to St Louis and Detroit.