Spain - General Information
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/Burgos, Madrid - Medina del Campo - Zamora - Ourense, Madrid - Córdoba - Sevilla/Malaga/Granada, Madrid - Zaragoza - Barcelona - Perpignan, Madrid - Zaragoza - Huesca, Madrid - Cuenca - València/Alacant/Murcia and Madrid - Toledo lines.
RENFE launched a low-cost Avlo high speed service between Madrid and Barcelona in June 2021. Madrid to València services started 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.
- Ouigo, a separate subsidiary company of SNCF (French Railways), started running between Madrid and Barcelona from 10 May 2021.
- Iryo, the brand name of ILSA, a joint venture of Trenitalia and Air Nostrum, started running between Madrid and Barcelona from 25 November 2022, to València on 16 December 2022 and to Málaga and Sevilla on 31 March 2023. Madrid - Albacete and Alicante/Alacant services are scheduled to start on 2 June 2023.
The Elipsos agreement between SNCF and RENFE, which was the basis for cross-border services between France and Spain, formally ended at the end of 2022.
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.
numeric 71, alpha E
- The planner for RENFE Main line services defaults to a drop-down list of principal departure and arrival stations.
- To make a query on all stations (except those served only by Cercanias (suburban) services) use the main line services planner and click on Ver todas las estaciones in the bottom right hand corner. This brings up an alphabetical list of stations. Click on the relevant letter and select the departure station. The system defaults to showing only stations served by direct services from the selected departure station. If the destination is not shown, click on lista completa de estaciones.
Note (a) neither option will initially advise if the potential journey is disrupted, e.g. long term engineering works. This will only be revealed if 'Query and Buy' is selected: a warning triangle then appears to the left of the ticket options and hovering the cursor over the triangle will reveal the issue, El servicio... autobus etc, etc
(b) requesting "Query and Buy" frequently results in the screen hanging and no answer displayed. Once this occurs click on the basket for "Internet Price" immediately above "Query and Buy" and a different screen displays any warning triangle, plus prices for all journeys deemed possible that day, not just the requested service...
Note that some surprisingly long routes are served only by Cercanías (suburban) services, so these should be checked if a station cannot be found in the journey planner. The longest is probably the 112 km long, rural Murcia - Lorca Sutullena - Águilas route, at present under long term closure as much of it is being rebuilt as part of the Murcia - Almeria high speed line.
- RENFE Cercanías services then select the region required.
- Cercanías AM (Ancho Métrico) the metre gauge former FEVE services along the north coast.
- Euskotren Euskadi - the Basque Region. Choose the mode of transport required.
- FGC Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya.
For stations which are hard to find, an alternative source of apparently accurate information is the ADIF website. Enter the station name; further down the page this brings up is a tab showing departures and arrivals, but only forward from the time of your search. This gives either Cercanias or AVE/Media Distancia services, but not both...
As at September 2022 RENFE was in the process of launching a new App named dōcō, which will encompass travel by train, taxi, motorcycle, scooter and hire car, and in the future Metro, bicycle and bus. It will apparently enable users to choose parameters such as the fastest journey or the most sustainable and then suggest routes and modes of transport.
- RENFE: No known downloadable timetable is available for RENFE.
- RENFE Ancho Métrico - the former FEVE lines: the downloadable timetable seems to have been discontinued.
- EuskoTren: Horarios de Tren and select the line required.
- FGC: Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya Select the required line from the list.
- FGV (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana): ex FEVE Lines around Valencia here, or Tram/Train from Alicante via Benidorm to Dénia. For the latter there is no timetable per se, just a list of departures from Station Timetables on their Journey Planner page.
- SFM: Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca Click on 'ENG' then the 'Timetables / Fares' tab.
- 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
- ADIF: Current closures and a list of disrupted services.
- RENFE: Some information is provided in English on the 'Alerts' page but it is extremely limited and may apply only to international traffic with France. Use the Renfe al día/Avisos page in Spanish, select the required region and translate it by means of Google Translate.
- RENFE former FEVE services: Limited information at the RENFE FEVE Page.
- EuskoTren: 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.
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
- European Railway Atlas (All-Europe Edition) by M.G. Ball.
- European Railway Atlas (Regional Series - Spain and Portugal) by M.G. Ball.
- A map dated 2022 is available on Geotren.
- Useful maps exist on ADIF's Network Statement page: scroll down to "Mapas de la Red Ferroviaria de Interés General" for the link to a downloadable PDF file plus elsewhere on their website here.
- Thorsten Büker's Iberia Map, with enlargements for Barcelona and Madrid. Although these remain on-line, the Büker maps are no longer being maintained regularly. Version date March 2018.
- Some useful maps and plans are available on the via libre website but last additions/upload dates are 2015.
- Maps and Plans - Spain.
- Some AVE line diagrams with stations, junction names and distance are linked in the individual AVE line pages from this wiki
- Former FEVE System ; Cercanías and Overall route maps.
Following the fiasco of the new rolling stock for the FEVE network being too large for the tunnels on the network, it was announced that travel on the network in the Asturias and Cantabria will be free of charge until the new stock starts coming into service in early 2026.
Anybody contemplating travel in Spain is strongly advised to make their reservations before leaving their home country to guarantee travelling on the train of their choice as one 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. Note that when booking an inter-city journey, a free Cercanías (commuter) ticket can be requested for the networks in both the origin and destination or if quoted on it as a "Combinado Cercanias", the ticket barcode will open barriers.
Usually fares are more expensive at busy times, but on Madrid Cercanías (commuter) 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 60s the annual [or since at least early 2023] three year Tarjeta Dorada which gives significant discounts on ordinary fares, including on Cercanías and FEVE services. The Tarjeta Dorada reference number can be entered into ticket machines to obtain the discount, though some machines only display this option in the Spanish language setting but note on most Cercanias machines that the Tarjeta Dorada discount is only available by presenting a Spanish Resident "credit card" version, with no option offered when using the English language setting. Also note if you buy any paper Cercanias ticket that a small fee is added as it is has a chip and can be re-loaded [in the same Cercanias area of purchase] but whether a chip paper Tarjeta Dorada ticket can be reloaded is not known...
Tickets can be purchased on the RENFE Apps - there are separate Apps for 'Renfe Cercanías' (commuter) and 'Renfe' main line services. Experience shows that both require a good quality internet connection to work reliably. The Tarjeta Dorada reference number can be stored in the App for use by the registered user.
RENFE does not offer any type of network ticket. However, the RENFE Spain Pass enables non-residents to purchase a predetermined number of journeys up to 10 within one month at a flat rate, but from the 2023 prices this is an option only if long high speed journeys are planned as it is more expensive than a One Country Pass. Note it has features potentially making it attractive but a ticket must still be obtained for the actual journey:
- 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.
- Reservations can be made on any train with available seats. Unlike other passes, there are no quotas for Spain Pass holders; the number of seats available for other passes can be quite low, resulting in it being impossible to obtain a reservation.
- 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.
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 Burgos/León/Ourense (15km short of there), Madrid and Barcelona (- Girona - French border)/Huesca, and Madrid and Valencia/Alacant/Murcia are 1435 mm gauge, as is also the new freight access to Morrot (Barcelona) port. The high speed lines between Ourense and Santiago de Compostela and between Plasencia and Caceres are 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 supposedly 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.
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.
|Granada, Cerrillo de Maracena||2023?||Talgo/CAF||Madrid - Almeria Altaria services via Antequera SA|
|Campomanes (North of Pajares tunnel)||Nov 2023?||Talgo/CAF||Madrid - Asturias region services|
In Use (Oldest first)
|Cerbère||1952||Axle changer||Freights to & from France|
|Hendaye||1950||Axle changer||Freights to & from France|
|Sevilla Majarabique||1993||Talgo||Was used for Madrid - Cádiz and Huelva services but thought to be now out of use.|
|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 services. Madrid - Granada services ceased in 2015 and had no need to change gauge when they resumed.|
|Sevilla Majarabique||15 June 2009, replacing one dating from 1999||CAF||Madrid - Cádiz and Huelva, plus from 2 August 2021 the Torre del Oro Barcelona - Cádiz service. Was used by the Cádiz - Jaén high speed service, withdrawn after 27 July 2013.|
|Alcolea [east of Córdoba]||15 June 2009 - 27 July 2013. In use again 5 October 2020||Talgo/CAF||Cádiz - Jaén high speed service, which was withdrawn after 27 July 2013. However use resumed from 5 October 2020 by the Torre del Oro Barcelona - Sevilla service (extended beyond Sevilla to Cádiz from 2 August 2021).|
|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. Temporarily out of use from 13 September 2022 when through services between Madrid and Archena-Fortuna withdrawn for engineering work.|
|León Mercancias [at Vilecha]||30 September 2015||Talgo/CAF||Madrid - Asturias services; high speed services to and from the Monforte de Lemos line|
|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/CAF||Madrid - Galicia services running beyond Ourense|
|Burgos Rosa Manzano||22 July 2022||Talgo/CAF||Madrid - Basque region (Bilbao/Irún) and Barcelona - Galicia services|
Out of Use for Passenger Traffic or Dismantled (Most recently out of use first)
|Valdestillas||22 December 2007 - 22 July 2022||Talgo/CAF||Madrid - Bilbao/Irún services. Out of use since opening of the high speed line to Burgos.|
|Madrid Chamartin||2007 - 1 July 2022||Talgo/CAF||Gijon/Santander - València/Alicante services. Out of use since opening of the standard gauge tunnel through Madrid and now disconnected.|
|Madrid Puerta de Atocha||1992 - 1 July 2022||Talgo||Gijon/Santander - València/Alicante services. Out of use since opening of the standard gauge tunnel through Madrid.|
|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 and now removed.|
|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) was planned to be completed in 2022 but was still in progress in late 2023.
Ourense - Monforte de Lemos is being converted from 3000 V DC to 25 kV AC as at December 2023. Monforte de Lemos - Lugo and the new Plasencia - Caceres broad gauge line are to be 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.
Comprehensive information for the high speed network exists on the Ferropedia website.
Lists of current and former lines with km distances for stations at Federación Castellano Manchega de Amigos del Ferrocarril .
- 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).
- Ferrocarrils 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 750V dc in progress from Creueta, 1000 mm gauge).
- Ferrocarril de Sóller: Palma - Sóller (Mallorca). 914 mm gauge. Electrified at 1200 V dc.
- Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca (SFM): Palma - Sa Pobla and Manacor (1000 mm gauge).
- The Museo del Ferrocarril de Asturias in Gijón has a short ~ 150 m dual 60/75 cm passenger carrying demonstration line for industrial locos.
- Euskotren - Museo 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.
- Pargue Temático de la Minería y el Ferrocarril de Utrillas: in Utrillas north east of Teruel; restored 3.2 km of the former mine line connecting the Santa Bárbara Pozo (shaft) with the Carbón Lavadero (washery); 600 mm 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:-
- Barcelona Metro [and tramway] at TMB Website.
- Bilbao Metro at Bilbao Metro.
- Madrid Metro at Metro de Madrid.
- Malaga Metro at MM Website.
- Palma Metro at Metro Palma.
- Sevilla Metro at Metro de Sevilla.
- Valencia Metro at Metrovalencia.
Basic line diagrams and other details can be found at the UrbanRailNet website
A track plan for the Barcelona system is available on the cartometro.com site.
Alacant/Alicante, A Coruña (suspended since 2011), Barcelona, Bilbao, Cádiz (a 1668mm gauge tram/train which shares RENFE tracks between Cádiz and Rio Arillo and is part of the Cercanías network), Granada, Jaén (after a brief period of operation in May 2011, a resumption of services seems highly unlikely), 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 cartometro.com site.
Some links are also available on the Sinfin.net site.
Recent and Future Changes
Changes in 2024
Changes in 2023
- The León - Asturias high speed line between La Robla (Bif. Pajares) and Pola de Lena (- Oviedo), including the 24.6 km Pajares tunnel, opened to public traffic on 30 November 2023, following a ceremonial opening the previous day. It opened as a broad gauge line, but with some mixed gauge track installed. As at that date, from León to Bif. Pajares there were dual gauge sleepers but mostly with only broad gauge rails. From Bif. Pajares, dual gauge rails were fully installed, as far as could be observed. Where the new line joins the old line, just south of Pola de Lena, the new line was broad gauge only, but on gauge convertible sleepers. The old main line over the Pajares Pass remains in use by one Regional train a day each way between Valladolid and Gijón until at least 31 March 2024. It is unclear if, when the passenger service is eventually withdrawn, it will also close to freight traffic.
- The single track 1668 mm gauge Xàtiva - L’Alcúdia de Crespins - Moixent - La Encina line (re)opened on 9 September. Xàtiva - Moixent closed on 16 May 2022, when the Cercanias service from Valencia was withdrawn temporarily for engineering work on the line. The section west of Moixent closed on 20 May 1992 (when the double track 1668 mm gauge line between Xàtiva and La Encina opened); it has reopened as far as an end-on junction with the double track line, about 5 km east of La Encina. The double track line east of this point closed on 9 September for regauging to 1435 mm and conversion to a high speed line.
- The Huesca - Canfranc line is closed from 19 June until May 2024 for engineering work.
- The final section of the FGV Alicante/Alacant - Dénia line from Gata to Dénia reopened on 16 January.
Changes in 2022
- The high speed line west from Orihuela towards Murcia opened on 20 December.
- The new 4.3 km section of 1668 mm gauge line in tunnel between El Clot Arago and Montcada opened on 11 December. The new station Sant Andreu station opened, replacing the former Sant Andreu Comtal.
- The Ourense - Monforte de Lemos line closed on 21 November for conversion to 25 kV. It was scheduled to reopen in July 2023, but is not now due to open until April 2024.
- The heavily delayed Trambahía (Tranvía Metropolitano de la Bahía) 1668 mm gauge Cádiz tram-train system finally opened on 26 October. It shares the RENFE tracks from Cádiz to Rio Arillo and then diverges on a separate branch.
- The 1668 mm gauge line between El Clot Arago and Montcada closed on 17 September for work on the new route in tunnel
- Albacete - Archena-Fortuna closed temporarily on 13 September owing to engineering work in the Murcia area; however one pair of through broad gauge services (Madrid to Archena-Fortuna on Fridays, Archena-Fortuna to Madrid on Sundays) restarted from an unknown date. Archena-Fortuna to Murcia continued to be served by buses.
- Sevilla Cercanías line C-2 to Cartuja (which ceased running on 15 March 2020) reopened on 5 September.
- Madrid Cercanías line C-9 (the 18km long metre gauge Cercedilla - Los Cotos line, which ceased running on 15 March 2020) reopened on 3 September.
- The FEVE branch from El Berrón to Pola de Laviana closed to all traffic from 1 September until 15 March 2023 for track renewal. There will be partial closures between El Berron and Gijón from 1 September 1 2022 until 15 July 2023.
- The old single track Costablanca tunnel line between Martorell and Castellbisbal, closed in the 1980s, reopened on 20 August, enabling closure of the new double track line for conversion to mixed gauge.
- The (Valladolid -) Venta de Baños - Burgos high speed line (91.3 km, suitable for both passenger and freight traffic) opened on 22 July. It was supposed to be available for test running by summer 2018 but substandard work on Frandovínez viaduct required that to be demolished and rebuilt, delaying the opening by several years.
- Aranjuez - Cuenca, the last section of the 'classic' Aranjuez - Utiel (- Valencia) line, closed on 20 July, with trains being replaced by bus services.
- 44 km of the existing line between Cáceres and Bif. Peñas Blancas, north of Mérida, were permanently closed on 15 July to enable the new high speed line to be connected to the existing line southwards, in readiness for the public opening of a new section of the high speed line on 19 July. This is just a temporary phase, pending the opening of the next section south, the 'baipas Mérida', at some future date.
- The next section of the FGV Alicante/Alacant - Dénia line from Teulada to Gata re-opened on 13 July 2022.
- The 7km long third, standard gauge Madrid cross-city tunnel between Atocha and Chamartín, linking the existing AVE lines north and south of Madrid opened on 1 July. There are initially 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 requires 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 enables some services from the south to be diverted to Chamartín but with no stop (or indeed platform or passenger access) at Atocha. The line involves use of three different signalling systems: LZB and ERTMS/ETCS Levels 1 and 2. It is understood that services to and from València are diverted in this way as well as the through services to/from Valladolid and north thereof. At the same time the second pair of tracks on the 28km section between Puerta de Atocha and Bif. Torrejón de Velasco (junction for the line to Valencia and Alicante/Alacant) was brought into use.
- The Valencia Cercanias line (route C2) between Xàtiva and Moixent closed on 16 May for the modernisation and electrification of the Xàtiva - L'Alcúdia de Crespins section. The closed Moixent-La Encina section will reopen on 9 September 2023, to act as the main line while the current main line is converted to 1435mm gauge.
- Avant regional high-speed services between Granada and Malaga started on 4 April, resulting in the opening to traffic of the south <> east curve at Antequera Santa Ana.
- EuskoTran tram services started running over the 2.3 km section; Atxuri - Bolueta [former Euskotren tracks] from 25 March.
- Owing to engineering work closing the line between Murcia and Archena-Fortuna, an additional high speed train was provied between Oruihuela and Madrid via Alicante from 28 February, thus opening the south - east curve at Monforte del Cid to passenger service.
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.
- The Torre del Oro Barcelona - Sevilla service was extended to Cádiz on 2 August.
- Services to Almería, cut back to the former station of Huércal-Viator on on 14 November 2018, were reinstated on 28 July.
- Special trains ran from Sevilla to Estadio Olimpico (on the closed line C2 to Cartuja) on on 14 and 19 June for Euro 2020 football matches which had been deferred a year.
- 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.
For details of older changes dating back to the year 2004 see Spain - Older General Information.
Standard gauge lines
- Work started in March 2022 on the 3.9 km link between the Trambaix and Trambesòs networks in Barcelona. Completion is planned in late 2023 and passenger service in the first quarter of 2024.
- Palencia - Alar del Rey (- Santander) high speed line: work started on the first section in July 2021. The 1668mm gauge line north of Alar del Rey will be upgraded.
- Murcia - Almería 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. ADIF is forecasting completion of the track work to Almería in 2024. Electrification work between Murcia and Lorca started in mid 2023.
- València and Castelló de la Plana: work should have started in 2019 on construction of this high speed line,
- 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.
- It is understood that the Madrid - Almeria service will be diverted via the LAV to Granada and then the gauge changer at Cerrillo de Maracena, north east of Granada. This will very probably mean that Linares-Baeza - Moreda will lose its passenger service.
- 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 was scheduled be completed in 2022, but this has not occurred.
- 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
- The line between Chinchilla and Murcia, closed for engineering work since September 2022, may reopen in February 2024.
- On 29 June 2022, ADIF invited tenders for the extension of Madrid Cercanías line C-4B by ca. 10 km from Colmenar Viejo to Soto del Real. This would be a reopening to passengers of this section of the former Directo de Burgos.
- Martorell - Castellbisbal is being converted to mixed gauge
- Construction began in 2015 of a new 4.5 km rail link between Barcelona-El Prat Airport Terminal 1 and El Prat de Llobregat. It was to be completed in 2018 and was later expected some time in 2022. However, a contract for the trains was awarded only in September 2022, so it is unlikely to open until 2025.
- 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 originally 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. Seven new 740m long passing loops were commissioned in September 2023 and this will be followed by electrification work.
- The extension of the Plasencia - Badajoz "línea de altas prestaciones" from Bif. Peñas Blancas to Aljucén (- Mérida) and Bif. San Nicolas (- Badajoz) was expected to open in late 2022 but this will supposedly now happen in December 2023. Electrification of the isolated Plasencia - Caceres - Badajoz section was scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2023.
- There are plans to divert the main line through Valladolid into a tunnel with a new underground station. The earthworks of a new 1668 mm freight bypass to the east are complete. in April 2022 ADIF invited tenders for tracklaying and electrification of the line, which will be suitable for passenger traffic.
Metre gauge lines
- On the FEVE line from El Berrón to Pola de Laviana work has been in progress for several years on diverting the line between La Felguera and Sama into a tunnel. It is now scheduled to be effected in 2024.
- The Generalitat Valenciana has authorised FGV to request tenders for a connection linking the the TRAM d'Alacant Luceros terminus with a new underground station at the RENFE station.
- The scheme to convert the León - Asuncion-Universidad section of the FEVE León - Bilbao line into a tramway has been abandoned and reinstatement of a single track metre gauge heavy rail line back into León was initiated early in 2014. However work was suspended because of technical difficulties and is also believed to have been abandoned. It will therefore remain served only by 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. Work will start on installing the track and overhead electrification in autumn 2023 so it seems unlikely to be completed until mid 2025 at the earliest.
Lines with a limited future
A number of lines have had passenger services severely pruned, and some lines may close.
- The new Pajares tunnel, on the main line between León and Oviedo opened to public traffic on 30 November 2023. The 'classic' line over the Pajares Pass between La Robla and Pola de Lena will apparently carry a Regional service until 31 March 2024, but after that its future as a passenger or even freight-carrying line is uncertain.
- The 'classic' line between Medina del Campo via Zamora to Puebla de Sanabria (on the former main line to Ourense) carries one train a day each way, subsidised by the Castilla y León region. The line between Puebla de Sanabria and Taboadela (near Ourense) has no booked traffic and is at grave risk of total closure.
- 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.
- The Madrid - Almeria service will be diverted via Cordoba and the high speed line to Granada and then (via a gauge changer) the 'classic' line to Almeria. This will almost certainly mean that Linares-Baeza - Moreda will lose its passenger service. Indeed, it is thought there may be no freight traffic, so the line may close completely.
- Huelva - Zafra: although this line has been substantially re-laid, both the local service between Huelva and Jabugo-Galaroza and that to Zafra are under threat of withdrawal; the latter is no longer an IC service to/from Madrid
- 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 Valladolid. The service beyond Cercedilla was drastically reduced from 16 November 2008 but no further reductions have occurred.
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.
- 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.