Spain - General Information

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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 (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 - Medina del Campo - Zamora - Ourense, Madrid - Córdoba - Sevilla/Malaga/Granada, Madrid - Zaragoza - Barcelona - Perpignan, Madrid - Zaragoza - Huesca, Madrid - Cuenca - València/Albacete and Madrid - Toledo lines.

RENFE launched a low-cost Avlo high speed service between Madrid and Barcelona in June 2021. Madrid to València services will start on 21 February 2022.

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.

Other Operators

Ouigo, a separate subsidiary company of SNCF (French Railways), started running trains between Madrid and Barcelona from 10 May 2021.
Iryo has been unveiled as the brand name of high speed operator ILSA, a joint venture of Trenitalia and Air Nostrum. Services are expected to start in late 2022 between Madrid and Barcelona, València, Alacant, Málaga and Sevilla.


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

  • By January 2022 RENFE Main line services This defaults to a drop-down list of just principal departure and arrival stations and only searches for direct services. For a more comprehensive station list see next paragraph. A previous option of 'Make the same journey with a change of trains' appears to have disappeared.
  • To make a query on all stations (except those only served by Cercanias) first load the main line services JP and then in the bottom right click on Ver todas las estaciones. This should take you to an alphabet, chose the relevant letter to select your departure station which will be loaded into your query. Note this defaults to only show stations served by direct services from your selected departure point so if your destination is not shown, click on lista completa de estaciones".

Also note neither option above will offer any Cercanías (suburban) services, even for such a long and infrequently served rural route as [Murcia -] Lorca Sutullena - Águilas. A separate query of the "Cercanias services" is required as below.

  • RENFE Cercanías services then select the region required. This now includes the former FEVE services.
  • EuskoTren: euskotren and choose the mode of transport required.
  • 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 the European Rail 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 and Current Performance Information

  • Engineering
    • RENFE: Some information is provided (only in Spanish/Catalan/Basque) in the Renfe al día/Avisos page.
    • RENFE former FEVE services: Limited information at the RENFE FEVE Page.
    • EuskoTren: Some information is provided (only in Spanish) on the Noticias page.
  • Current Performance Information
    • Positrén gives a map of the network showing the location of trains. Click on a train symbol to find its location or on a station for real time arrivals and departures.

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

Web-based Maps


Conventional Tickets

Anybody contemplating travel in Spain is 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 offers over 60's the annual Tarjeta Dorada (or this for Cercanias and FEVE srvices) which gives significant discounts on ordinary fares. Unfortunately they are issued to non-Spaniards on a thin card, so cannot be used with ticket machines, which require a smart card for this purpose.


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.
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).
  • Basque REgion/Euskadi: Euskal Trenbide Sarea - Red Ferroviaria Vasca (ETS-RFV) is the infrastructure authority for the Basque Region.
  • Catalunya: Infraestructuras Ferroviàries de Catalunya IFERCATis the infrastructure authority for Catalunya.

Network Statement

See ADIF's Network Statement webpage.


Gauge is more of an issue in Spain than in any other European country. 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/Granada, Toledo, Madrid and León/Ourense (part way), 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. The high speed line between Ourense and Santiago de Compostela is 1668 mm gauge but will be converted to 1435 mm gauge one day. The high speed line between Camp de Tarragona and Vandellós (SW of Tarragona) is 1435 mm gauge at its eastern end and 1668 mm gauge at its western end, which will be converted to mixed gauge.

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 as are the Alicante, Bilbao, Valencia and Vitoria-Gasteiz tramways.

Gauge Changers

There are more gauge-changing installations (cambiadores de anchos) in Spain than anywhere else in Europe, as follows. Only those installations which carried commercial passenger or freight traffic are listed.

Future Installations
Location In Service Type Usage
Burgos Rosa de Lima March 2022? Talgo/CAF Madrid - Basque region services
3 km north of Granada 2022? Talgo/CAF Madrid - Almeria Altaria services via Antequera SA
Campomanes (N of Pajares tunnel) 2023? Talgo/CAF Madrid - Asturias region services
In Use (Oldest first)
Location In Service Type Usage
Cerbère 1952 Axle changer Freights to & from France
Hendaye 1950 Axle changer Freights to & from France
Madrid Puerta de Atocha 1992 Talgo Gijon/Santander - València/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
Plasencia de Jalón 2003 Talgo/CAF Madrid - Pamplona and Logroño
Zaragoza-Delicias 2003. Regular use from 15 September 2008. Talgo/CAF Barcelona - Salamanca/Galicia/Asturias/Basque region services. Also diesel unit transfers to workshops. 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.
Madrid Chamartin 2007 Talgo/CAF Gijon/Santander - València/Alicante services and transfers to Fuencarral. This installation will go out of use for passenger trains when the standard gauge tunnel through Madrid opens.
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.
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
Acolea [east of Córdoba] 15 June 2009 - 27 July 2013. In use again 5 October 2020 Talgo/CAF Cádiz - Jaen high speed service, which was withdrawn after 27 July 2013. However use resumed from 5 October 2020 by the Tore Oro Barcelona - Sevilla service.
València Joaquín Sorolla 19 December 2010 Talgo/CAF Madrid - Castelló de la Plana Alvia (not AVE) services.
Albacete 19 December 2010 - 18 June 2013. In use again 17 September 2018 Talgo/CAF Initially Madrid - Alacant & València Alvia services. Out of use after the high speed lines to these cities were opened. Not used by Madrid - Murcia/Cartagena services until 2018, when these became variable gauge Alvia trains.
Vilecha [León] 30 September 2015 Talgo/CAF Madrid - Asturias services; Madrid services using the Iberian gauge platforms at León
Villamuriel de Cerrato [south of Palencia] 30 September 2015 Talgo/CAF Madrid - Cantabria (Santander) services
Medina del Campo AVE 17 December 2015 CAF Madrid - Salamanca services
La Boella (Tarragona) 13 January 2020 2 x Talgo/CAF Barcelona - Valencia etc Euromed and Alvia services
Taboadela (Ourense) 21 December 2021 Talgo Madrid - Galicia services
Out of Use or Dismantled (Most recent first)
Location In Service Type Usage
Pedralba de la Pradería [NW of Zamora] 27 October 2020 - 21 December 2021 Talgo/CAF Madrid - Galicia services. Replaced by Taboadela
León Clasificación 30 September 2015 - 21 September 2021 Talgo/CAF Asturias and Galicia services using the standard gauge platforms at León. Out of use since opening of the low level through station.
Zamora 1 February 2016 - 27 October 2020 Talgo Madrid - Galicia services. Replaced by Pedralba de la Pradería.
Medina del Campo 10 April 2008 - 1 February 2016 Talgo/CAF Madrid - Galicia services; diverted to new line from 1 February 2016
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.
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.
Huesca 2003 - 28 April 2008 CAF Out of use since through services to Jaca were withdrawn
Roda de Bará 19 December 2006 - 20 February 2008 2 x Talgo/CAF Madrid - Barcelona Alvia & Talgo services. Out of use
Puigverd de Lleida 19 May 2006 - 19 December 2006 CAF Madrid - Barcelona Alvia. Out of use
Lleida 2003 - 19 December 2006 Talgo Madrid - Barcelona Talgo. Out of use
Córdoba 1992 - 17 December 2006 Talgo Madrid - Malaga Talgos. Out of use.


The standard RENFE system is 3000 V dc.
The AVE lines are 25 kV 50 Hz (including the broad gauge Ourense - Santiago de Compostela and upgraded Vigo - A Coruña lines), and also Medina del Campo AV - Salamanca. Salamanca - Vilar Formoso (Portuguese border) is planned to be completed in 2022.
Ourense - Monforte de Lemos is to be provided with 25 kV overhead in addition to the existing 3 kV, and Monforte de Lemos - Lugo electrified at 25 kV.
The Euskotren and FEVE systems in northern Spain, the Madrid Cercanias Cercedilla - Los Cotos line, Bilbao Metro and the SFM Mallorca system are 1500 V dc.
Most tramway systems are 750 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.


A list of stations and junctions by line number, with distances for each, dating from about 2009 is available here.

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 - Dénia (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). Electrification at 1500V through to Manacor was completed by January 2019.

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.
  • El Tren de Arganda Vapormadrid in Arganda del Rey on the south east outskirts of Madrid. La Poveda - Laguna del Campillo; 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, .


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

Information on metros is given a:-

Basic line diagrams and other details can be found at the UrbanRailNet website

A track plan for the Barcelona system is available on the site.


Alacant/Alicante, A Coruña (suspended since 2011), Barcelona, Bilbao, Cádiz-Jerez (Train-tram opening heavily delayed, none known), Granada, Jaén (After brief operation in May 2011 resumption of service is allegedly unlikely before 2021....) Madrid, Murcia, Parla, Sevilla, Sóller (Mallorca), Tenerife, Valencia, Vitoria/Gasteiz, Zaragoza.

The Sóller tram, owned by the Ferrocarril de Sóller S.A., is more of a tourist operation.

Track plans for the Alacant/Alicante, Madrid, Sóller and Valencia light rail and tram systems are available on the Gleisplanweb site. Track plans for the Barcelona and Tenerife systems are available on the site.

Some links are also available on the site.

See also Spain- Tram services over obscure routes

Recent and future changes

Changes in 2022

  • FGV Alicante/Alacant - Dénia: following the the long term closure for engineering work of the eastern end of the line, Teulada - Gata is due to reopen early in the year; Gata - Dénia is scheduled for 2023.

Changes in 2021

  • The 104 km (Zamora -) Pedralba de la Pradería - Taboadela (- Ourense) section of the Madrid - Galicia LAV opened on 21 December. The parallel 1668 mm gauge line thereby lost its passenger service completely. It is possible it may close completely.
  • Cáceres – Valencia de Alcántara reopened on 15 December, with one train each way WFSuO, having been closed since probably 15 March 2020.
  • The 1.6 km connection through the underground platform at León finally opened on 21 September. Restoration of the direct link between the Madrid line and the Oviedo line put an end to through traffic having to reverse at León or avoid it altogether and hence use of the León avoiding line [Sahagún (Bif. Rio Bernesga) – La Robla (Bif. Torneros)]. It also caused the reopening to passengers of the former route from León towards Astorga: Bif. Base León – Bif. Torneros – Bif. León.
  • Services to Almería, cut back to the former station of Huércal-Viator on on 14 November 2018, were reinstated 0n 28 July.
  • Special trains ran from Sevilla to Estadio Olimpico (on the now closed line C2 to Cartuja) on on 14 and 19 June for Euro 2020 football matches (deferred a year), so it is possible it might be used for major games in the future.
  • The curve avoiding Santiago de Compostela, linking the high speed line from Ourense to the Vigo line, opened on 14 June.
  • Following a political agreement between the national government and the regional government of Andalucia on the use of the "variante de Aguadulce", the line between Osuna and Pedrera, which was breached on 21 October 2018 when a bridge was destroyed by floodwater, reopened on 31 May. Trains are now routed over the new line via the variante.
  • Following modernisation work on the Toses tunnel, the line between Ribes de Freser and Puigcerdá/La Tour de Carol reopened on 10 May.
  • The new station at Canfranc, on the opposite (east) side of the huge original station to the previous platform, opened on 15 April.
  • The Monforte el Cid - Elx - Murcia LAV opened between Monforte el Cid and PAET San Isidro (between Elche-Matola and Orihuela Miguel Hernández) on 1 February. Services run only between Madrid and Orihuela Miguel Hernández until the LAV into Murcia opens.
  • Heavy snow damaged the 'classic' Cuenca - Valencia line as a result of Storm Filomena. The Cuenca - Utiel section therefore closed on 9 January, with no replacement until a bus service was introduced in April.

Changes in 2020

  • The Zamora - Pedralba de la Pradería (- Ourense) LAV opened on 27 October. The 1668 mm gauge line between Puebla de Sanabria and Pedralba de la Pradería thereby lost its passenger service.
  • The 'Garcia Lorca' between Barcelona and Sevilla was renamed the 'Torre Oro' from 5 October and formed of variable gauge stock. This had the effect of reopening the line through the Alcolea gauge changer east of Còrdoba.
  • part of the long term FGV closure for engineering works of the line to Dénia from Calp to Teulada reopened on 31 July
  • The service between Cáceres and Valencia de Alcantara ceased on presumably 15 March, when the national lockdown started. It had not resumed as at November 2021 and is unlikely to do so.
  • The Sevilla Cercanias line C2 to Cartuja ceased running on 15 March, when the national lockdown started. It is understood there is no intention of resuming regular services but there may be occasional football specials to Estadio Olimpico.
  • Owing to modernisation work on the Toses tunnel, the service between Ribes de Freser and Puigcerdá/La Tour de Carol was bus substituted from 22 June.
  • Avant services between Granada and Sevilla started on 16 February, reopening Loja station, but running via Córdoba.
  • On 22 January the bridge over the river Tordera between Malgrat and Blanes, on the Barcelona - Mataro - Maçanet-Massanes line, was washed away. Services were bustituted between Malgrat and Blanes.
  • The Camp de Tarragona - Vandellòs LAV opened on 13 January. The line east of La Boella is 1435 mm gauge but west of there is initially 1668 mm gauge with gauge convertible sleepers. The existing 1668 mm gauge line between Vandellós and Port Aventura closed on the same day.

Changes in 2019

  • On 9 September Bermeo trains were diverted via the Bilbao Metro L3 line, thus withdrawing services between Bilbao Atxuri and Kukullaga.
  • The Antequera Santa Ana - Granada line opened to traffic on 26 June 2019 but only for 1435 mm gauge high speed services. It comprises a ca 62 km 1435 mm gauge new line from Antequera Santa Ana to Venta del Rayo, with mixed 1435/1668 mm gauge on the existing line thence to Granada. The original 1668 mm gauge line closed to all traffic on 7 April 2015 for the conversion to mixed gauge. This (re)opening also resulted in withdrawal of the Talgo service between Granada and Madrid via the 'classic' main line, closing once again the curve between Moreda station and Bif. Almeria.
  • The line between Bobadilla and Algeciras reopened from 14 May, having been closed since 21 October 2018 owing to storm damage.
  • The Valencia Cercanias line (route C2) between L’Alcúdia de Crespins and Moixent, closed on 2 March 2010, reopened on 15 May.
  • The Variante de Camarillas, an 18.6 km cutoff between Agramón and Cieza on the Albacete - Murcia line, opened on 21 March. The former route via Calasparra closed completely on 2 March to allow the new line to be connected.
  • SFM electric services from Enllaç to Manacor commenced on 8 January and the purely interchange station at Enllaç closed. All train services on Mallorca are now electric.

Older Changes

For details of older changes dating back to the year 2004 see Spain - Older General Information.

Future changes

Standard gauge lines

  • León-Asturias high speed line: La Robla - Pola de Lena (- Oviedo) including the Pajares tunnels, was originally scheduled to enter service in 2014. However, signalling and electrification contracts were awarded only in 2014, and the project has been subject to many issues: geological, funding and indecision on which gauge to use. It is now to be a standard gauge tunnel, with one track mixed gauge and a gauge changer at Campomanes, south of Pola de Lena. Further delays were caused by a landslide at Campomanes. A diesel laboratory test train ran through the tunnel on 20 September 2021, the first train to do so. However, electrification, signalling, telecommunications and automatic train protection systems have yet to be installed, so the suggested opening in 2023 seems most unlikely.
  • Almería - Murcia high speed line: in September 2021 tenders were invited for the 31 km Lorca - Pulpí section, one of the last outstanding stretches on this line.
  • València and Castelló de la Plana: work should have started in 2019 on construction of this high speed line, which might be finished by 2022, although this seems most unlikely.
  • The third, standard gauge Madrid cross-city tunnel between Atocha and Chamartín to link the existing AVE lines north and south of Madrid, was announced as opening during "in the second half of of 2020" but a year after this there is no news. This was the first time in ten years that the Government had committed to a specific date! When the new tunnel opens there will initially be no platforms at Atocha. The plans for Atocha include building new underground platforms serving the line to Chamartín. However, these will be in a box underneath the existing westernmost platforms, which will require their temporary closure during the construction phase. This requires that some services calling at Atocha are diverted during this period to reduce the demand for platform space. To accommodate this a “temporary” single track bore has been constructed to the east of where the platform box will be. This will enable some services from the south and east to be diverted to Chamartín but with no stop (or indeed platform or passenger access) at Atocha. It is understood that services to and from València will be diverted in this way.
  • The (Valladolid -) Venta de Baños - Burgos high speed line (91.3 km, suitable for both passenger and freight traffic) was supposed to be available for test running by summer 2018 but substandard work on Frandovínez viaduct required it to be demolished and rebuilt. This was completed in 2019 and the required load tests were successfully carried out. Tracklaying, overhead wiring and signalling were to have been completed in the first quarter of 2020. Driver training was in progress in October 2020 and the line was expected to open in spring 2021. However, this is now expected in March 2022.
  • A new curve is being built at Almodóvar del Río, to avoid Avant services between Sevilla and Granada/Málaga having to reverse at Córdoba. The projected opening date is not known.
  • Avant regional high-speed services between Granada and Malaga will not start until the new station of Antequera Ciudad is complete. This would result in the opening to traffic of the south <> east curve at Antequera Santa Ana.
  • It is understood that the Madrid - Almeria service will be diverted via the LAV to Granada and then the gauge changer to be built north east of there. This will very probably mean that Linares-Baeza - Moreda will lose its passenger service.
  • The LAV between Orihuela Miguel Hernández and Murcia had not yet opened as at December 2021, following the opening towards Monforte el Cid.
  • 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 only in May 2019 were tenders invited for the work on the last section between Sagunto and Castellon. This should be completed in 2022.
  • 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.
  • 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.

1668 mm gauge lines

  • Following the reopening of the Valencia Cercanias line between L’Alcúdia de Crespins and Moixent on 15 May 2019, it is thought that all services were to be diverted over this line whilst the parallel main line is closed for conversion to 1435 mm. However no information was available as at December 2021.
  • The first part of the Bay of Cádiz tram-train system was expected to open in 2018, but this had not occurred as at December 2021.
  • Construction began in 2015 of a new 4.5 km rail link between Barcelona-El Prat Airport and El Prat de Llobregat. It was to be completed in 2018 but is now expected some time in 2022.
  • Zaragoza - Teruel - Sagunt (Port). Upgrade work is in progress, including removal of speed restrictions between Teruel and Barracas and provision of more freight loops. This was to be completed in 2020. In January 2021 tenders were invited for electrification of the line at 25 kV 50 Hz in order to be compatible with the sections of high speed network designed for mixed traffic. The work was expected to take 24 months.
  • Following abandonment of the Madrid - Caceres - Merida - Badajoz (- Lisboa) high speed line, the Spanish section has been scaled back considerably. All that is being 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 enabling trains to either call at or avoid Plasencia. Opening was planned for 2019 but there was no sign of progress as at December 2021. Electrification of this isolated new Plasencia - Caceres - Badajoz section was planned to start in 2020.
  • There are plans to divert the main line through Valladolid into a tunnel with a new underground station. Construction started on a new 1668 mm freight bypass to the east but the current situation is unknown.

Metre gauge lines

  • The scheme to convert the León - Asuncion-Universidad section of the FEVE León - Bilbao line into a tramway has now been abandoned and reinstatement of a single track metre gauge heavy rail line back into León was initiated early in 2014. However this work was suspended because of technical difficulties and is now believed to have been abandoned. It will therefore remain a bus service for the foreseeable future.
  • A new 4.2 km Euskotren cross-city route through Donostia/San Sebastian, between Lugaritz and a point south of Amara, is under construction. It will replace the present Amara terminus, avoiding the need to reverse there. Completion is scheduled in 2022.

Lines with a limited future

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

  • In early January 2022, the Ministry of Transport announced the XCuenca plan, which proposes to close the 214km Tarancón – Cuenca – Utiel section of the conventional non-electrified Madrid – Cuenca – Valencia line.
  • The 'classic' line between Zamora and Puebla de Sanabria (- Ourense) carries one train a day each way, subsidised by the Castilla y León region.
  • Cáceres – Valencia de Alcántara reopened on 15 December 2021, after being closed for almost 2 years. With just one train each way on 3 days a week, its future must be very insecure.
  • It is understood that the Madrid - Almeria service will be diverted via the high speed line to Granada and then the gauge changer to be built north east of there. This will almost certainly mean that Linares-Baeza - Moreda will lose its passenger service. Indeed, it is thought that there may be no freight traffic, so the line may close completely.
  • Salamanca La Alamedilla – Vilar Formoso [Portugal]: the Madrid - Lisboa Tren Hotel is still suspended as at December 2021 and may be withdrawn altogether, leaving this line with no service.
  • 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 was thought to be threatened by Avant services to Segovia Guiomar station on the high speed line to Vallodolid. The service beyond Cercedilla was drastically reduced from 16 November 2008 but no further reductions have occurred .

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 and Granada; Madrid - Zaragoza - Camp de Tarragona - Barcelona; Madrid - Zaragoza - Huesca; Madrid - Cuenca - Valencia - Castellón/Castelló; Madrid - Valladolid - León; Madrid - Albacete - Alicante/Alacant; Barcelona - Sevilla and Malaga. Also the international services: Madrid - Barcelona - Marseille; Barcelona - París, Lyon and Toulouse.
  • Euromed: High speed trains between Barcelona, Valencia and Alacant.
  • Intercity: This term seems now to be applied to loco hauled trains of Talgo articulated stock on the following routes: Madrid - Algeciras/Almeira/Badajoz, Barcelona - Valencia/Murcia/Cartagena/Lorca and Albacete - Cartagena.
  • Alvia: High speed trains which operate on both 1668 mm and 1435 mm gauge lines on the following routes: Madrid - Valencia - Castellón; Madrid - Albacete - Murcia - Cartagena; Alicante/Alacant - Madrid - Vigo, A Coruña, Gijón and Santander; Madrid - Sevilla - Cádiz; Madrid - Huelva; Madrid - Segovia - Salamanca & Zamora; Madrid - Vigo - Pontevedra; Madrid - A Coruña; Madrid - Valladolid - Bilbao and 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/Salamanca; Madrid - Toledo/Puertollano; Calatayud - Zaragoza; Barcelona - Lleida; Barcelona - Figueres Vilafant; Málaga/Granada - Córdoba - Sevilla; Ourense - Santiago - A Coruña; Valencia - Requena Utiel; Madrid - Cuenca.
  • Trenhotel: Overnight trains with additional facilities, such as showers. Madrid - A Coruña and Ferrol; Barcelona - A Coruña and Vigo; Irún/Madrid - Lisboa. All overnight trains are currently suspended and may never resume.
  • Media Distancia: Interurban local train.
  • 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