Spanish Transport Minister Óscar Puente has unveiled major plans for the expansion of high-speed trains in Spain. He announced during a visit to Valladolid that Avlo, Renfe’s low-cost provider, will start running between Gijón, Valladolid and Madrid in 2024.
It is a nice step in the expansion of high-speed train mobility to the north-west of the country. This is currently an area less well served by low-cost options than other regions. Avlo’s operations will begin when the new Avril trains start operating on the Gijón – Madrid line. This will facilitate access to cheaper high-speed services for Asturian residents. Apart from Avlo, French company Ouigo, known for its competitive fares, also has plans for two daily routes by 2024.
With the recent opening of the high-speed line to Asturias, which runs as far as Pola de Lena and then ‘just’ continues for the final stretch to Gijón, the minister underlined the importance of adding these trains for both frequencies and accessibility.
Public transport discounts, promoted by the government and the Junta de Castilla y León, have helped make the routes to Valladolid and Segovia among the busiest, giving a significant boost to regional and national mobility. Puente stressed that the new services planned for 2024 are an important step in the strategy to extend the high-speed network to regions previously less accessible. He also mentioned that more than 22 million passengers have been carried by high-speed trains since the launch in 2009.
The arrival of Avlo and Ouigo services to Gijón and Valladolid means more options for users. And, furthermore, a likely reduction in ticket prices, thanks to competition and government incentives. Regular passengers of these trains, many of whom commute daily to Madrid for work, can benefit from more affordable fares. Consequently, the number of bookings for the most popular times is expected to increase significantly.
This progress in transport infrastructure is evidence of the Spanish transport ministry’s commitment to improving and democratising access to high-quality and competitive train services. Óscar Puente’s announcement shows not only his commitment to modernising the means of transport, but also his desire to consolidate an inclusive and accessible high-speed network for all Spaniards.