CULTURE SPAIN: MADRID TO VALENCIA AVE (HIGH SPEED TRAIN!)
Very soon it will be possible to travel from Madrid to Valencia in a little over 90 minutes! This is great news – and finally connects the capital of Spain with its third largest city, in a time and way that justifies Valencia’s growing importance (and prestige) as a European city renowned for its commerce, sport and art.
Until the 19th of December travelling from Madrid to Valencia will continue to take a somewhat wearisome 3 hours 45 minutes. This is enought to dissuade most people from travelling between Madrid and Valencia for the day – let alone the thought of flying to Madrid and then taking a train to Valencia. Or vice versa, of course!
However, a train trip of only one hour 35 minutes between Madrid and Valencia – a journey of 391 kilometres? That is a different thing altogether!
Cutting the time of the train journey between Madrid and Valencia by more than a half has been made possible by the opening of a new high velocity train service (the AVE or Alta Velocidad Espanola). This requires a ‘bespoke’ train line and is the one from Madrid to Valencia I have seen being constructed over the past few years. It has somewhat fascinated me, as it seems to slice its way, like an arrow, across the Spanish countryside.
I say ‘like an arrow’ because this line is going to be carrying a high speed train between Madrid and Valencia that can travel up to 350 kilometres per hour – although it will normally be going a slightly more sedate 330 kph!
The Madrid to Valencia AVE will carry a rather appropriate maximum of 365 passengers divided into two sections. There will be 4 club class coaches, accounting for 71 seats, and 8 tourist class coaches with 294 seats. The whole train will be some 200 metres long with two ‘tractors’ doing all the work.
RENFE are Spain’s national rail service (rather like British Rail of old in the UK -before it was broken up) and are rightly proud of their newest ‘baby’. Because of this, or perhaps for PR purposes, they are kindly giving away 50,000 tickets to the Madrid to Valencia AVE at greatly reduced prices. If you want to travel between the 19th December 2010 and the 9th January 2011, you can buy tickets for the Mdrid to Valencia AVE at up to 60% off!
So, if you fancy a ride on one of the world’s newest high speed trains then contact RENFE and get a cheap ticket whilst you can. Certainly, you should not hang around – at the last count RENFE had sold 34,000 tickets virtually within the time it took to announce that an offer was available!
The Madrid to Valencia AVE, when going direct will take 1 hour 35 minutes. However, when not direct it will stop at Albacete, Requena/Utiel and Cuenca and take 1 hour 50 minutes. There will be thirty trains a day with (you guessed it!) fifteen going each way. For the record, in Madrid, you will need to go to the Estación Puerta de Atoche and in Valencia the Estación del Norte.
Finally, RENFE expect 3 million passengers a year to use the new Madrid to Valencia AVE. I have no idea how they came to this conclusion but, if correct, it would suggest that you should book well ahead if you think that you will need to travel by train between Madrid and Valencia, once the AVE is up and running.
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