Difference between revisions of "Spain - General Information"

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===Changes in 2018===
===Changes in 2018===
* Owing to continuing delays with the route upgrade work between Antequera and Granada, a daily Talgo service between Granada and Madrid via the 'classic' main line will be introduced from 26 November, reopening the curve between Moreda station and Bif. Almeria after several years with no service.
* Owing to continuing delays with the route upgrade work between Antequera and Granada, a daily Talgo service between Granada and Madrid via the 'classic' main line was introduced from 26 November, reopening the curve between Moreda station and Bif. Almeria after several years with no service.
* Owing to the start of work on the future LAV from Murcia, services to Almeria were cut back on 14 November to the former station of Huercal-Viator. A provisional terminal station has been provided here, with a bus connection to Almeria. The line into Almeria will be put underground south of El Puche level-crossing, located about 2.5 km from the current Almeria station.
* Owing to the start of work on the future LAV from Murcia, services to Almeria were cut back on 14 November to the former station of Huercal-Viator. A provisional terminal station has been provided here, with a bus connection to Almeria. The line into Almeria will be put underground south of El Puche level-crossing, located about 2.5 km from the current Almeria station.
* A new station in Huelva opened on 25 April, east of the old station, which was thereupon closed.
* A new station in Huelva opened on 25 April, east of the old station, which was thereupon closed.

Revision as of 21:48, 26 November 2018

Country Name

Spain (España)

National Railway System

Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles (RENFE). Since 1 January 2014 this has been divided into four subsidiaries: Renfe Mercancías (freight), Renfe Viajeros (passenger traffic), Renfe Fabricación y Mantenimiento (manufacturing and maintenance) and Renfe Alquiler de material (equipment hire).

National Railway Operator

Train operation is the responsibility of RENFE Operadora. Initially, at least, the existing operating divisions continue, with passenger services provided by four divisions:

  • Cercanías - Suburban services around main towns and cities; this is known by the Catalan word Rodalies in and around Barcelona
  • Media Distancia - Interurban local services
  • Larga Distancia - Long distance
  • AVE - High speed trains using the Madrid - Valladolid - León, Madrid - Segovia - Medina del Campo, Madrid - Sevilla/Malaga, Madrid - Zaragoza - Lleida - Barcelona, Madrid - Zaragoza - Huesca, Madrid - Cuenca - València/Albacete and Madrid - Toledo lines

There is a separate division for freight, Mercancías, subdivided into various businesses. It was announced on 14 December 2017 that a ‘strategic partner’ is to be sought for the freight business to on continuing recent growth and increasing activity outside Spain.


Spanish (Español) is the principal language. This is known as Castellano (i.e. Castilian) in Spain. Other languages predominate in certain regions: Català (Catalan) is used in Catalunya and a variant of it (Valenciano) in the València region; Gallego (Galician) is a Portuguese dialect, used in North West Spain; Euskara (Basque) is used in Euskadi (Pais Vasco, the Basque region): it is an isolate with no clear relationship to any other known language or language group. The regional languages are more likely to be encountered on notices and name signs than in spoken form. Català place names have been in general use for many years and are unlikely to cause confusion, although it is worth noting that the Valenciano for Alicante is Alacant. Gallego and Castilian names are mostly similar, except for prefixes. For example, La Coruña and El Ferrol are A Coruña and O Ferrol in Gallego. Place names in Castilian and Euskara can be quite different. San Sebastían is known in Euskara as Donostia and Vitoria as Gasteiz. It should be noted that the Euskara name for Pamplona (the main city of Navarra) is Iruñea or Iruña, which should not be confused with the border town, Irún.



UIC code

numeric 71, alpha E


Journey Planner

  • RENFE Main line services. This provides a drop-down list of principal departure and arrival stations. If a more comprehensive list is required click on "Find all stations", which provides an alphabetical list. When an arrival station has been selected, the site will offer only direct services. If no direct service exists, more search options are offered. Click on 'Make the same journey with a change of trains' to obtain services involving a connection. Clicking on 'See the direct destinations from the selected point of departure' gives all stations to which there are direct services. Note that the journey planner does not include Cercanías (suburban) services (even such a long and infrequently served rural route as [Murcia -] Lorca Sutullena - Águilas). See "Cercanias services" below.
  • RENFE Cercanías services then select the region required.
  • RENFE former FEVE services.
  • EuskoTren: Horarios.
  • FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya).

Downloadable Timetable

Printed Timetable

  • RENFE: RENFE does not publish a national timetable and printed timetable books have not been published for many years. Individual leaflets are available for particular routes, but these are distributed only in the area served and may not be widely available. However, coverage of Spain in Thomas Cook's European Timetable is quite comprehensive.
  • RENFE former FEVE services: Individual timetable leaflets for particular routes are sometimes available.
  • FGC: Timetable leaflets are available for particular routes
  • EuskoTren: No timetable book is published but individual leaflets are available for particular routes.

Engineering Information

Bus Information

The compilers are not aware of a national bus journey planner. One of the largest companies is Alsa

Timetable information for all companies operating in Andalucia is avaialble at Transportes Generales Comes > English


Printed Maps

  • European Railway Atlas: Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece by M.G. Ball (1991) (ISBN 0-7110-2087-6)
  • European Railway Atlas by M.G. Ball (2008 onwards)

Web-based Maps


Conventional Tickets

Anybody contemplating travel in Spain would be well advised to make their reservations before leaving their home country to guarantee travelling on the train of their choice.

A reservation is necessary to travel on any train other than Regional or Cercanías services. At most main stations access to platforms used by long-distance trains is possible only upon production of a valid reservation. At busy times trains may become fully booked days in advance and standing passengers are not admitted. Tickets can be purchased through the RENFE website: foreign credit cards and addresses are accepted by the system. Reservations can also be made at main stations. Although the system is quite efficient, long queues can develop at the busier stations and it is often necessary to obtain a 'queue ticket'. Waiting times are generally much shorter early in the morning.

Conventional fares vary according to the type of train and time of travel. RENFE maintains a rigid distinction between the four passenger service divisions. If a through journey involves a connection between trains of different divisions, a separate ticket will be issued for each division's portion of the journey. Usually fares are more expensive at busy times, but on Madrid Cercanías services fares are higher at weekends. AVE passengers have a money-back guarantee if the train is more than five minutes late and refunds may be available in event of extreme lateness on other long-distance services.


RENFE does not offer any type of network ticket. However, the RENFE Spain Pass enables non-residents to purchase a predetermined number of journeys within one month at a flat rate, making it more economical to use it for long journeys. A ticket must still be obtained for the actual journey. See the RENFE website for details. It is slightly more expensive than a One Country Pass, but this is outweighed by the other features:

  • Purchase of the Pass itself and all train reservations can be made in advance from home.
  • There are no additional booking fees or extra charges for trains requiring reservation, even for AVE services. In contrast most other passes are not valid on AVE services. Holders of other types of pass have to pay reservation fees, because these include compulsory travel insurance, and on certain long-distance trains may be able to obtain only a discounted fare.
  • Unlike other passes, there are no quotas for Spain Pass holders. Reservations can be made on any train with available seats.


Infrastructure Authority

  • RENFE/FEVE: Infrastructure is owned and managed by a public authority, Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias (ADIF).
  • Eusko Tren: Euskal Trenbide Sarea (ETS) is the infrastructure authority for the Basque Region.

Network Statement

See ADIF's Network Statement webpage.


Gauge is probably more of an issue in Spain than most other European countries. Most of the RENFE system is 1668 mm gauge but there is probably an unspoken ambition to convert the network to UIC (1435 mm) gauge; many main lines are now being renewed with dual gauge sleepers even where no 1435 mm gauge track exists there. RENFE operates freight and passenger rolling stock able to work on both 1668 mm and 1435 mm gauge lines.

The AVE high speed lines between Madrid and Sevilla/Malaga/Toledo, Madrid and León/Medina del Campo, Madrid and Barcelona (- Girona - French border)/Huesca, and Madrid and Valencia/Albacete are 1435 mm gauge, as is also the new freight access to Morrot (Barcelona) port. One track of the existing main line between Girona and Vilamalla (south of Figueres) has been converted to mixed gauge (with 1435 mm gauge passing loops), and similarly both tracks of the Mollet Sant Fost - Cerdanyola - El Papiol line, avoiding Barcelona, in order to provide access to Morrot port. The highest priority is now being given to converting the Barcelona - Tarragona - València - Silla "Mediterranean Corridor" to mixed gauge in order to serve the needs of freight, in particular fruit & vegetable traffic and the Ford plant at Almusafes, where the company plans to convert the internal network to 1435 mm gauge.

The former FEVE system and the branch north of Madrid between Cercedilla and Los Cotos are 1000 mm.

Gauge Changers

There are more gauge-changing installations (cambiadores de anchos) in Spain than anywhere else in Europe, as follows:

In Use
Location In Service Type Usage
Cerbère 1952 Axle changer Freights to & from France
Hendaye 1950 Axle changer Freights to & from France
Barcelona Sant Andreu Comptal 1988 Talgo Depot
Vilecha [León] 30 September 2015 Talgo/CAF Madrid - Asturias services not calling at León; Madrid services using the Iberian gauge platforms at León
León Clasificación 30 September 2015 Talgo/CAF Asturias and Galicia services using the standard gauge platforms at León
Burgos Rosa de Lima Not yet installed? Talgo/CAF Madrid - Basque region
Villamuriel de Cerrato [south of Palencia] 30 September 2015 Talgo/CAF Madrid - Cantabria (Santander) services
Valdestillas [south of Valladolid] 22 December 2007 Talgo/CAF Madrid - Bilbao/Irún. Note that this installation will almost certainly go out of use when the high speed line to Burgos opens.
Medina del Campo AVE 17 December 2015 CAF Madrid - Salamanca services
Zamora 1 February 2016 Talgo Madrid - Galicia services
Madrid Chamartin 2007 Talgo/CAF Gijon/Santander - Alicante services and transfers to Fuencarral. Note that this installation will almost certainly go out of use for passenger trains when the standard gauge tunnel through Madrid opens.
Las Matas [NW of Madrid] 1980 Talgo Depot
Madrid Santa Catalina 2006 Talgo/CAF Depot
Madrid Puerta de Atocha 1992 Talgo Gijon/Santander - Alicante services and transfers to Las Matas. Note that this installation will go out of use for passenger trains when the standard gauge tunnel through Madrid opens.
Sevilla Majarabique 1993 Talgo Madrid - Cádiz and Huelva
Sevilla Majarabique 15 June 2009, replacing one dating from 1999 CAF No regular use now that the Cádiz - Jaen high speed service has been withdrawn
Plasencia de Jalón 2003 Talgo/CAF Madrid - Pamplona and Logroño
Zaragoza-Delicias 2003. Regular use from 15 September 2008. Talgo/CAF Diesel unit transfers to workshops. Barcelona - Galicia/Asturias/Basque region services. Note: a plan for an installation at Miraflores, to the east of Zaragoza, was abandoned.
Antequera-Santa Ana 17 December 2006 2 x Talgo/CAF Madrid - Algeciras Altaria services. Madrid - Granada services ceased in 2015. When the Granada LAV line (re)opens it will be standard gauge.
València Joaquín Sorolla 19 December 2010 (- 22 January 2018?) Talgo/CAF Madrid - Castelló de la Plana Alvia services replaced by through AVEs, so possibly no further use?
Out of Use
Location In Service Type Usage
Irún 1981 - 15 December 2013 Talgo Talgo trains between Madrid and France. Out of use.
Portbou 1969 - 15 December 2013 Talgo Talgo trains between Barcelona and France. Dismantled.
Valladolid Campo Grande Spring 2008 - 12 September 2015 Talgo/CAF Madrid - Basque region. It is thought this was removed to make room for standard gauge tracks north of Campo Grande.
Medina del Campo 10 April 2008 - 1 February 2016 Talgo/CAF Madrid - Galicia services; diverted to new line from 1 February 2016
Córdoba 1992 - 17 December 2006 Talgo Madrid - Malaga Talgos. Out of use.
Acoleca [east of Córdoba] 15 June 2009 - 27 July 2013 Talgo/CAF Out of use after the Cádiz - Jaen high speed service was withdrawn.
Lleida 2003 - 19 December 2006 Talgo Madrid - Barcelona Talgo. Out of use
Huesca 2003 - 28 April 2008 CAF Out of use since through services to Jaca were withdrawn
Puigverd de Lleida 19 May 2006 - 19 December 2006 CAF Madrid - Barcelona Alvia. Out of use
Roda de Bará 19 December 2006 - 20 February 2008 2 x Talgo/CAF Madrid - Barcelona Alvia & Talgo services. Out of use
Albacete 19 December 2010 - 18 June 2013 Talgo/CAF Madrid - Alacant & València Alvia services. Out of use since the high speed lines to these cities were opened. Not used by Madrid - Cartagena services.
Figueres Vilafant 2010 Unknown No scheduled use


The standard RENFE system is 3000 V dc. The AVE lines are 25 kV 50 Hz. Parts of the former FEVE system in northern Spain and the Cercedilla - Los Cotos line are 1500 V dc.

Rule of the road

Generally right-hand running. Broad-gauge routes of the former FC del Norte, north and west of Madrid, are left-hand running. The changeover between left- and right-hand occurs by means of flyovers at the Las Rozas triangle: right-hand running applies south (towards Príncipe Pio) and east (toward Chamartín) of Las Rozas. However, right-hand running applies on the Madrid Chamartín - Valladolid - León, Olmedo - Zamora (although this is largely single track) and Ourense - Santiago de Compostela LAVs and on the upgraded Vigo - Santiago de Compostela - A Coruña line. The former FEVE [now RENFE] metre gauge lines in the Oviedo area are left-hand running, including the El Berrón Crossing, although they are reversibly signalled.


There is no good source for the network as a whole. However, comprehensive information for the high speed network exists on the Ferropedia website.

Other railways

  • Eusko Tren (Eusko Trenbideak, Ferrocarriles Vascos): Bilbao - Donostia [San Sebastían] - Hendaia [Hendaye]; Bilbao: Lutxana - Sondika; Kukullaga-Etxebarri - Sondika - Lezama; Amorebieta - Bermeo; Errekalde - Lasarte-Oria; Herrera - Altza; Bilbao Metro line 3: 1000 mm gauge, 1500 V dc.
  • Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC): Local services around Barcelona, principally Plaça d'Espanya to Igualada and Manresa (1000 mm gauge, 1500 V dc) and Plaça de Catalunya to Terrassa and Sabadell (1435 mm gauge, 1200 V dc), plus the rack lines Ribes de Freser - Núria in the Pyrenees and Monistrol - Montserrat ( both 1000 mm gauge, 1500 V dc) and the Lleida - Pobla de Segur branch, recently taken over from RENFE. Also freight-only branches Manresa to Suria and Sallent, and San Boi de Llobregat to Barcelona Docks [Morrot] (1000 mm gauge, diesel).
  • Ferrocarriles de la Generalitat Valenciana (FGV) operates a network in Valencia (1000 mm gauge, 1500/750 V dc). Apart from sections of the Valencia tramway, these were converted from former FEVE lines, connected via new city centre through "metro" routes. Also Alacant - Creueta (1000 mm gauge, 750 V dc) and El Creueta - Benidorm - Denia (electrification at 1500V dc in progress from Creueta, 1000 mm gauge).
  • Ferrocarril de Palma de Mallorca a Sóller: Palma - Sóller. 914 mm gauge. Electrified at 1200 V dc.
  • Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca (SFM): Palma - Sa Pobla and Manacor (1000 mm gauge). Palma - Enllaç is 1500V dc; Enllaç - Manacor and Sa Pobla to be electrified by the start of 2018.
  • CIFVM Museo del Tren: La Poveda - La Laguna del Campillo, in the suburbs south east of Madrid

Tourist Lines

  • Museo Vasco del Ferrocarril (Basque Railway Museum); Azpeitia - Lasao: 10 km; 1000 mm gauge. The infrastructure is managed by ETS - Euskal Trenbide Sarea - the infrastructure authority for the Basque Region.
  • El Ferrocarril Turístic de l'Alt Llobregat El Tren del Ciment; La Pobla de Lillet - Museum del Ciment; 3.5 km; narrow gauge.
  • Museo Minero y Ferroviario in the Parque Minero de Riotinto: 11 km of the former Rio Tinto mineral system; Talleres Mina - Los Frailes, north of Huelva; 1067mm gauge, .


Madrid, Malaga, Barcelona, Bilbao (line 3 is operated by Euskotren), Palma, Sevilla.

A track plan for the Barcelona system is available on the carto.metro.tramway.rer.funiculaire site.


Alacant/Alicante, A Coruña (suspended since 2011), Barcelona, Bilbao, Cádiz-Jerez (opening now expected 2018), Granada, Madrid, Murcia, Parla, Sevilla, Sóller, Tenerife, Valencia, Vitoria/Gasteiz, Zaragoza.

Track plans for the Alacant/Alicante, Madrid, Sóller and Valencia tram systems are available on the Gleisplanweb site. Track plans for the Barcelona and Tenerife systems are available on the carto.metro.tramway.rer.funiculaire site.

Some links are also available on the Sinfin.net site.

Recent and future changes

Changes in 2018

  • Owing to continuing delays with the route upgrade work between Antequera and Granada, a daily Talgo service between Granada and Madrid via the 'classic' main line was introduced from 26 November, reopening the curve between Moreda station and Bif. Almeria after several years with no service.
  • Owing to the start of work on the future LAV from Murcia, services to Almeria were cut back on 14 November to the former station of Huercal-Viator. A provisional terminal station has been provided here, with a bus connection to Almeria. The line into Almeria will be put underground south of El Puche level-crossing, located about 2.5 km from the current Almeria station.
  • A new station in Huelva opened on 25 April, east of the old station, which was thereupon closed.
  • The 7 km Pobra de San Xiao cutoff (between Pedrelo-Celtigos and Lugo) opened to public traffic on 24 April.
  • Owing to TGV Duplex sets not being authorised to run in Spain, the only cross-border passenger movements between Hendaye and Irun from December 2017 were in the direction Spain to France. There are no equivalent standard gauge movements in the opposite direction. However train 313 the Sud Express to Lisboa has started from Hendaye from an unknown date in spring 2018, possibly the first advertised broad gauge train to run in this direction.
  • Madrid - València AVE services were extended to Castelló de la Plana on 23 January following the addition of a third rail to the existing line to create a mixed 1435/1668 mm gauge line.

Changes in 2017

  • The new 15.9 km Granada tram system (with 2.7 km underground in the centre) opened on 21 Sept, delayed from the original target of 2012 by finance issues.
  • The FGC Vallès line extension from Sabadell Plaça Major to Sabadell Parc del Nord opened on 20 July.
  • On 8 April EuskoTren opened the 6 km Bilbao Metro line 3 from Kukullaga-Etxebarri to Matiko (Ciudad Jardin) and reopened Matiko - Sondika (- Lezama), including a 1.9 km tunnel between Matiko and La Ola to replace the existing sharply-curved single-track alignment. This is the first stage of the new line between Bilbao city centre and the airport. Contrary to expectations, Lutxana - Sondika did not close
  • Arriondas to Ribadesella on the Metre Gauge east of Oviedo was electrified from Easter 2017

Changes in 2016

  • EuskoTren opened a 1 km branch from Herrera to Altza on 21 September. An extension is planned which will continue the branch beyond Altza to rejoin the Amara [Donostia] - Hendaia line at Pasaia.
  • The FGC Vallès line extension from Sant Quirze to Sabadell Plaça Major opened on 13 September. The short stub to Sabadell Rambla closed on 12 September.
  • The consortium operating the Barcelona - Perpignan line went into administration and was declared bankrupt on 30 June. The concession has ceased and the line passed to the French and Spanish governments.
  • Medina [del Campo] Alta Velocidad station opened on 1 February, whereupon all services between Madrid and Galicia transferred to the new high speed line and the gauge changer at Zamora came into use. The existing route from Olmedo to Medina de Campo (reinstated and re-gauged in 2008) thereupon closed, together with the associated gauge changer near Medina.

Changes in 2015

  • The first part of the Madrid – Galicia high speed line, from Olmedo to Zamora, via the as yet unopened Medina del Campo AV station, opened on 17 December, together with a connection from Medina del Campo AV to the conventional line to Salamanca via a gauge changer. However, in order to retain calls at Medina del Campo, the existing route from Olmedo to Medina de Campo (reinstated and re-gauged in 2008), and the associated gauge changer near Medina remained in use for services between Madrid and Galicia. The new line between Medina del Campo AV and Zamora was used only by an Alvia service between Madrid and Zamora.
  • The FEVE Pola de Laviana branch closed temporarily from 9 November south of Tuilla for works to put the line underground through La Felguera. It is not known when it will reopen.
  • The Valladolid - Palencia - León high speed line opened on 30 September.
  • The new line from San Isidre to Fuente San Luis opened on 19 September, enabling the resumption of through working from (Cuenca -) Utiel to Valencia Nord.
  • The FGC Vallès line extension from Terrassa Rambla to Terrassa Nacions Unides opened on 29 July.
  • In connection with construction work for Bilbao Metro Line 3, on 1 June Bilbao Casco Viejo - Loruri/Ciudad Jardin was closed. Lutxana - Sondika reopened on the same date in order to maintain a passenger service to Lezama.
  • The Eje Atlántico A Coruña - Vigo high speed line, including the new underground Vigo Urzaiz station, associated 8.3 km long Túnele Vigo-Das Maceiras approach as well as the 1.6 km Viaducto Rio Ulla, 60 m above the Rio Ulla, opened on 18 April.
  • The last "Estrella" overnight service, that between Madrid and Barcelona, was withdrawn in early April.
  • All through services between Madrid and Granada were withdrawn on 7 April and the line between Antequera Santa Ana and Granada closed to all traffic for an indeterminate period for conversion to a 1435 mm gauge line. Some sections will be regauged and others will be replaced by new 1435 mm gauge line. The locomotive hauled "Altaria" services will be replaced by high speed AVE services when the line reopens.

Changes in 2014

  • Bilbao Metro Line 2 was extended 1.2 km from Santurtzi to Kabiezes on 28 June

Older Changes

For details of older changes dating back to the year 2005 see Spain - Older General Information.

Future changes

Standard gauge lines

  • Work should commence in 2019 on construction of a dedicated high speed line between València and Castelló de la Plana, which could be finished by 2022.
  • A single track electrified freight line, able to accommodate three gauges [1000/1435/1668 mm], is to be built to provide access to the southern end of the Barcelona Docks complex using part of a former FGC alignment.
  • The Antequera Santa Ana - Granada 1668 mm gauge line closed to all traffic on 7 April 2015 for conversion of a part to a mixed 1435/1668 mm gauge line. It was originally supposed to reopen in June 2016. As at September 2018 no test running had taken place and there was no date for the line to reopen.
  • The Alacant - Elx - Murcia LAV inauguration was expected in summer 2018 but had not occurred as at November 2018.
  • The Camp de Tarragona - Vandellòs LAV was energised in November 2017 and inauguration is not now expected until spring 2019. Most of the line is initially 1668 mm gauge with gauge convertible sleepers. A new gauge changer will be provided at La Boella, slightly west of the new (Reus)/Tarragona Central station, allowing variable gauge LAV trains from Barcelona/Zaragoza to proceed over the LAV 1668 mm gauge section to Vandellòs.
  • In April 2012 the Minister for Public Works announced that the Mediterranean Corridor was to be equipped for standard gauge freight traffic by converting one track of the existing main line to dual gauge. Castellbisbal (Barcelona) - Valencia was supposed to be in service by 2015 and Valencia - Alacant by 2016. However the project is delayed and there is no sign of standard gauge being available to Valencia as at November 2018 although the sections in Catalonia are to be completed by 2020.
  • Following the opening of the line between Perpignan (France) and Figueres Vilafant, some sections of the Figueres – Barcelona line are available for through UIC gauge freight traffic but the others require freights to use interlaced track on the existing main line.
  • Work is in progress on the (Valladolid -) Venta de Baños - Burgos high speed line (91.3 km, suitable for both passenger and freight traffic). This was supposedly be available for test running by summer 2018 but substandard work on a viaduct now requires it to be demolished and rebuilt. Completion is not expected before summer 2019.
  • Public consultation has started on the Burgos - Miranda de Ebro - Vitoria/Gasteiz line. The alignment has already been decided for the Burgos - Pancorbo section but there are six options for the Pancorbo - Vitoria/Gasteiz. Work is in progress on the 'Basque Y', the high speed line from Vitoria/Gasteiz to both Bilbao (90.8 km) and San Sebastián/Donostia (- Irún) (89.8 km from the start at Bergara to the French frontier). It is unclear what progress has been made on the construction and when the line(s) will open. The San Sebastian line will terminate between Hernani and Astigarraga, about 5 km south of San Sebastián. A contract was awarded in April 2016 to install mixed-gauge track between this point and and Irún. Consultation has also started on a line, suitable for both passenger and freight traffic, to connect the Basque Y with Pamplona. There are two options.
  • Construction is in progress on the third, standard gauge cross-city tunnel between Atocha and Chamartín to link the existing AVE lines north and south of Madrid, but it has a low priority and will not be completed before 2018.
  • Construction has started of the first section of the 186 km long Almería - Murcia high speed line.

There are plans for other new lines:

  • The European Investment Bank provided loan capital for construction of a high-speed line between Sevilla and Antequera. However work stopped when the contractors went bankrupt.

1668 mm gauge lines

  • The first part of Bay of Cádiz tram - train system is now expected to open in 2018.
  • At Cádiz a ca. 5 km new single track freight branch is to be provided to access the Port facilities at La Cabezuela. This will be by continuation of the short branch to Universidad station off the Sevilla — Cádiz line.
  • At Ferrol a ca. 6 km new single track [1000 and 1668 mm gauge] freight branch, some 5 km in tunnel, is to be provided to the outer port.
  • Work is in progress on the Variante de Camarillas, an 18.6 km cutoff between Agramón and Cieza on the Albacete - Murcia line; it should be completed in 2018.
  • Construction has begun of a new 4.5 km rail link between Barcelona-El Prat Airport and El Prat de Llobregat; it should be completed in 2018.
  • Zaragoza - Teruel - Sagunto (Port). Upgrade work is in progress to improve access to the port, including removal of speed restrictions between Teruel and Barracas, general upgrading of the infrastructure and provision of more freight loops. This should be completed in 2020. Electrification of the line is planned in the longer term.
  • León station. A new 1.6 km connection will be built to link the Madrid line directly with the Oviedo line, restoring through traffic via León station, where an underground platform will be provided. Completion is planned in 2018.
  • León-Asturias high speed line: La Robla - Pola de Lena (- Oviedo) including the Pajares tunnels, was scheduled to enter service in 2014. However, signalling and electrification contracts were only awarded in 2014, and the project has been subject to geological, changes to freight gauge policy and associated funding issues so is now not expected to open until some time between 2021 and 2025 with plans in mid 2017 as a purely standard gauge tunnel with a gauge changer at Pola de Lena. The existing steeply graded and extremely circuitous line would then be upgraded to take longer and larger freights although it has also been suggested as being laid to dual gauge for FEVE freights or even transferred to FEVE for conversion to a metre gauge tourist line.
  • Following abandonment of the Madrid - Caceres - Merida - Badajoz (- Lisboa) high speed line, the Spanish section has been scaled back considerably. All that will be built is a single track unelectrified 1668 mm gauge Plasencia - Caceres - Badajoz "línea de altas prestaciones" ('high performance line'). This is at present under construction including connecting curves from the West to call at, and also avoid Plasencia by connecting to/from the existing route with opening of the line planned for 2019. Electrification of this isolated new Plasencia - Caceres - Badajoz section is planned to start in 2020.
  • Sevilla - Cádiz. Doubling is taking place at many locations between Jerez de La Frontera and Cadiz Cortadura. In the longer term the entire line may be converted to 1435 mm gauge.
  • There are plans to divert the main line through Valladolid into a tunnel with a new underground station. Construction has started on a new 1668 mm freight bypass to the east.
  • There are plans to divert the line through Logroño into a tunnel.
  • Approval has been given for the first contract for the extension of the Málaga - Fuengirola line to Estepona. However, the provincial government is hoping the European Investment Bank will fund half the cost.

Metre gauge lines

  • The EuskoTren station in Hendaye is being upgraded with double track from the Bidasoa River bridge to serve an island platform with two faces and a canopy. The work should start mid-2018 with completion planned Mid-2019.
  • Barcelona: FGC invited tenders in July for a 4 km extension of the Llobregat line from its present terminus of Plaça Espanya to either Plaça Catalunya or Gracia.
  • Double-tracking has been completed on the EuskoTren Bilbao - San Sebastián between Amorebieta and Euba; the Euba - Iurreta section is out to tender and work is in progress between Iurreta and Traña.
  • Approval was given in 2011 for extension of the SFM system from Manacor to Arta utilising the former railway. About 75% of the formation had been completed when the incoming conservative regional government halted work and bulldozed the formation, planting 6,000 trees to prevent a future administration completing the railway. It is not known if the EU will demand repayment of the EUR 200m grant. However, electrification of Enllaç - Sa Pobla and Manacor has been approved and a joint venture of Siemens, MAN and Sampol has been awarded a €25m contract to electrify at 1∙5 kV DC with works due to begin in March 2017
  • The scheme to convert the León - San-Feliz section of the FEVE León - Bilbao into a tramway has now been abandoned and re-instatement of a single track metre gauge heavy rail line back into León was initiated early in 2014. However this work has been suspended due to technical difficulties.

Lines with a limited future

A number of lines have had passenger services severely pruned, and some lines may close.

  • Cáceres - Valencia de Alcántara: a local service of one train each way per day was instituted by the Extremadura regional government after withdrawal of the Lisboa sleeper. It is the most threatened line in the region.
  • Huelva - Zafra: although this line has been substantially relaid, both the local service between Huelva and Jabugo-Galaroza and the IC service between Huelva and Madrid are under threat of withdrawal.
  • Cercedilla - Segovia: the slow Regionales service over the section beyond this interchange for the narrow gauge line to Los Cotos is threatened by Avant services to the new Segovia Guiomar station on the high speed line to Vallodolid. Indeed, the service beyond Cercedilla was drastically reduced on 16 November 2008.
  • (Huesca -) Jaca - Canfranc. Work was to start on renovation of the Canfranc line between Jaca and Caldearenas, but this was then cancelled.
  • It appears that Torralba - Soria is at present subsidised by Castilla y León, but this could be at risk if the subsidy is withdrawn.

Special notes

RENFE operates a confusingly wide range of train types, and special fares apply on those that are fastest or offer superior facilities.

  • AVE (originally meaning Alta Velocidad Española): High speed trains operating over the 1435 mm gauge lines: Madrid - Córdoba - Sevilla, Malaga & (from an unknown date) Granada; Madrid - Zaragoza - Camp de Tarragona - Barcelona; Madrid - Zaragoza - Huesca; Madrid - Cuenca - Valencia; Madrid - Valladolid - León; Madrid - Albacete - Alicante/Alacant; Barcelona - Sevilla & Malaga; Valencia - Sevilla. Also the international services: Madrid - Barcelona - Marseille; Barcelona - París, Lyon & Toulouse.
  • Euromed: High speed train between Barcelona, Valencia and Alacant.
  • Talgo: Express train using articulated, light weight carriages. Some sets can change their gauge and/or operate on high-speed lines. Where technically identical, they differ from Altaria services by lower on-board service and comfort level.
  • Alaris: Tilting trains on 1668 mm gauge lines.
  • Altaria: High speed loco hauled Talgo200 trains between Madrid and Algeciras, Murcia and Cartagena, which operate on both 1668 mm and 1435 mm gauge lines. Where technically identical, they differ from Talgo services by higher on-board service and comfort level.
  • Alvia: High speed trains which operate on both 1668 mm and 1435 mm gauge lines on the following routes: Madrid - Valencia - Castellón; Alicante/Alacant - Madrid - Vigo, A Coruña, Gijón & Santander; Madrid - Sevilla - Cádiz; Madrid - Huelva; Madrid - Segovia - Salamanca & Zamora; Madrid - Vigo - Pontevedra; Madrid - A Coruña; Madrid - Valladolid - Bilbao & Vitoria; Madrid - San Sebastián - Irún; Madrid - Pamplona & Logrono; Barcelona - Zaragoza - Valladolid, Gijon, A Coruña & Vigo; Barcelona - Zaragoza - Pamplona - Irún; Barcelona - Zaragoza - Bilbao.
  • Avant: Media Distancia high speed trains operating over shorter distances on the 1435 mm gauge high speed lines: Madrid - Segovia - Valladolid; Madrid - Toledo; Madrid - Puertollano; Calatayud - Zaragoza; Barcelona - Lleida; Barcelona - Girona; Málaga - Córdoba - Sevilla; Ourense - Santiago - A Coruña.
  • Trenhotel: Overnight trains with additional facilities, such as showers. Madrid - A Coruña & Ferrol; Barcelona - Granada [suspended as at December 2015]; Barcelona - A Coruña & Vigo; Madrid - Lisboa.
  • Tren Regional Diesel (TRD) and R-598: Longer distance local trains.
  • Regional Exprés: Interurban local train. In some areas these have a local identity, for example Andalucía Exprés.
  • Regional: Rural local train.
  • Cercanías: Suburban train.

Connections between Grandes Lineas and Regionales trains may not wait in event of late running. Indeed, in spite of some reasonable connections being generated by the RENFE website, the minimum connectional time generally recognised is 60 minutes.

Airport style luggage security checks using X-ray machines are made for nearly all main line services.

See also