Renfe has begun to incorporate to the line of High Speed Alicante-Madrid the modern AVE S-102 trains of Talgo, thus replacing the “old” Almston that have covered the line since 2013 and were controversial due to the fact that since August 2018 they circulated slower, due to the fact that the company decided to improve its engines, which had become obsolete after 26 years of use. The incorporation of the new trains has been progressive since this month of February and, as this newspaper has been able to know, on March 7, 90% of the AVE that circulate between Alicante and Madrid will already be of the S-102 series, with which will recover the maximum top speed of 300 km / hour, and not the current 270 km / hour, which caused delays of up to 20 minutes in travel times. As of March 7, the direct, non-stop, intermediate AVE will make the trip in 2 hours and 10 minutes and the rest, according to the stops (Villena, Albacete and Cuenca), in 2 hours 20 minutes and 2 hours 40 minutes.
The mobility restrictions due to covid have reduced, for the moment, the supply of AVE trains between Alicante and Madrid to six trains in each direction, for the eleven that circulated until March 2020. In total, there are on offer between 3,800 and 4,000 daily seats, but the measure of travelers it is 800 a day, 20%. The Almston trains that are replaced have been in operation since 1992, they were remotorized before reaching Alicante but they have become old.
On February 26, 2005, the AVE S-102 trains, built by the Talgo-Bombardier consortium, began to circulate on the Madrid-Zaragoza-Lleida line. The complete series is made up of a total of 16 vehicles. Comfort is one of the characteristic features of the 102 series trains. The train has twelve cars, although it can admit up to a maximum of 23, in which there are Preferential and Economy class cars and one fitted as a cafeteria. It has a capacity for 316 travelers, thirty-seven fewer than its twin, the S-112. The seats are folding, with footrests and swivel, so that they can be oriented in the direction of travel, except those at the ends of each car and those in the meeting room. Each wagon has video monitors that, in addition to the usual entertainment programs, provide information on the route and the train’s situation thanks to GPS technology. It also has WiFi connection.
The trains replace the AVE S-100 that served the Alicante-Madrid corridor since 2013 when they arrived from Seville and whose engines are 26 years old and have a useful life of forty. In August 2013, Renfe approved a plan to improve the engines by reducing the maximum top speed from 300 km / hour to 270 km / hour, which significantly increased travel time. The speed reduction meant that the shortest travel time between Madrid was 2 hours 10 minutes with a stop in Albacete. The longest, 2 hours 40 minutes, when the train also stopped in Villena and Cuenca. The 23 trains of the 100 series of AVE that Renfe currently has in circulation provide service, in addition to the Madrid-Alicante, Madrid-Castellón corridor and some of the services between Madrid and Barcelona and Madrid-Seville and their engines have a life useful 40 years.
Until the pandemic, the AVE connecting Alicante with Madrid had become a granary for travelers, after having gained two million passengers with an average annual growth of 4%.
High speed has been a revolution when it comes to traveling between Alicante and the capital of Spain. In 2013, the train absorbed 77% of the market for 23% of the plane. Today, the train absorbs 81.4% of the market, and the plane 19% of which almost one hundred percent is from passengers in connection with other destinations.
On the other hand, and in terms of the average speed of the trains, the 99 km / hour of the old Talgo that covered the route 25 years ago are far away. The average speed of the AVE with Madrid is so far 220 km / hour, so far – the reduction in speed will be noticed the third fastest in Spain after Madrid-Barcelona (248) and Madrid-Valencia (231).
Fewer commuter trains due to works in Murcia
Renfe reduces from Monday and for two weeks from March 1 the offer of commuter trains between Alicante and Murcia and has modified the schedules due to the works of the Mediterranean Corridor planned by Adif in the accesses to Murcia, between February 22 and March 5. With the new schedule, 6 commuter trains are suppressed, 2 in the direction of Alicante and 4 in the direction of Murcia, and the schedules of nine trains on that line are modified. 41 trains will circulate on weekdays instead of the usual 47 between the two cities.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.