High speed trains in Spain reach new maximum

The AVE – top speed 300 km/h

The Minister for Transport, Magdalena Álvarez, confirmed this week that Spain’s high speed train, the AVE will travel at a maximum speed of 300 km/h although the new AVE trains can reach top speeds of 350 km/h.

She ruled out the possibility of trains between Barcelona and Madrid travelling over 300 km/h. Initially there had been plans for the AVE Madrid-Barcelona to reach maximum speeds of 350 km/h by 2004.

The announcement was made in Atocha station in Madrid following the AVE’s arrival from Tarragona in which the AVE reached a top speed of 300 km/h for the first time. The journey took just over 2 ½ hours, cutting 15 minutes off the previous time.

The Minister for Transport also announced that there would be test runs of the AVE to Sant Joan Despí station in Barcelona and that tests would continue until December 2007. When the AVE is finally in operation from Barcelona, the 4 Catalan capitals will be connected to high speed rail links by a system of shuttle trains.

Álvarez mounted the Ave in Tarragona at the beginning of this week accompanied by the President of Renfe, José Salgueiro and the President of Railway Infrastructure, Antonio González. The train left at 13.45 pm and arrived in Atocha 5 minutes earlier than expected at 16.10 pm making just one stop at Zaragoza Delicias. This is the first time that the Ave has reached 300 km/h.

Álvarez said that rail fares would be the same for the whole of Spain and season tickets would be introduced according to demand, the same goes for the shuttle service in Catalunya.

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