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Madrid-Barcelona High-Speed Train Traffic +13% In 1st Half

More hot transportation news from the Continent. This report is found on Dow Jones newswire.

MADRID -(Dow Jones)- Passenger numbers on the high-speed Madrid-Barcelona rail corridor increased 13% in the first half of the year, Spanish national rail company RENFE said Thursday.

In a press release, RENFE said 598,300 passengers used the high-speed service between Spain’s most important cities during the period, up from 528,700 a year earlier.

The rail link, that currently joins Madrid and Barcelona in four and a half hours, is a threat to the shuttle service Spanish airlines Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana SA (IBLA.MC) and Spanair operate between the two cities.

Currently, the air shuttle has the edge over the train, because it is faster and attracts the majority of business travelers that go back and forth between the two cities. However, RENFE expects to slash the travel time between Madrid and Barcelona to just two and a half hours.

Air carriers anticipate a drop in the number of passengers, but they will keep the same number of flights and use smaller aircraft. Sound familiar?

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Filed under: International High Speed Rail

6 Responses

  1. Andrés says:

    Hello from Spain.
    Althougth Renfe Operadora said that they’re have been increasing travellers on Madrid-Lleida-Barcelona High Speed Line, they’re loosing much passengers on this line.
    Thats because Renfe Operadora have put all the Talgos (Altaria) to Madrid via the HS line, so some towns had been without direct service to Madrid.
    Renfe Operadora has increased so much te price to travel from Madrid to Barcelona, and they had lost some passengers, that actually travel by bus, or by car.
    The raise of passengers has been due only by people who travells by air, and now travel with train, because Iberia, Spanair, Air Europa and Vueling that are the company’s of the ‘Pont Aeri’ from Barcelona to Madrid had very high prices, and the train, althougth had a high price (about 60€ in 2007, about 35€ in 2002) aircraft travellers had pass to the train, that reaches Madrid or Barcelona city centers only in 35 more than a plane.
    Aircrafts used in ‘Pont Aeri’ route still with Airbus-319, Airbus-320, Boeing 737-800 (Air Europa) and MD 82/83/87 (Spanair), MD 87/88 (Iberia) or Boeing 717 (Spanair).

    I can tell you that Renfe Operadora, is loosing passengers on every routes, because they’re cancelling some trains (all nigth train that are not Talgo except the “Estrella Galicia” had been cancelled), direct services from Alacant to Irún/Bilbao now doesn’t exists, and they’re increasing too much the price of the train, going down the quality. So they’re loosing more passengers than gaining, and all passengers losts now travel by bus.

    Also, Renfe Operadora has canceled contract with most of they freigth clients, having the clients to go by road.
    This includes about 80 trucks per train carryng steel, containers, milk, ¿clay? .
    In January 2006, Renfe Operadora increased so much the price to the ‘clay’ transporters of Puerto de Escandón and Teruel, that were making 2 or 3 trains daily in each direction, from Puerto de Escandón (Teruel) to Moncofa (Castelló) .
    They transport ‘clay’ to brick factories of Moncofa,Vila-Real (Porcelanosa) and Almassora.
    By that decision Renfe Operadora had put 80 very loaded trucks by direction each day in the same route.

    Renfe Operadora is very expensive, and Renfe Operadora is dying, they don’t make trains go, they only want to make money and more money.

    I had to tell that Renfe is going down and can lost some passengers when in 2009 passenger transport are opened to other operator (Acciona has been serving some coal trains that renfe abandoned, Continental Rail is serving daily trains from València to Madrid with containers that Renfe had abandoned), there are some roumours that Ford will had its own freigth operator, and that some freigth routes will be operated by Comsa.

    Excuse me for my bad English, and salutations from València; (Spain).

  2. jose says:

    Andrés, all that isnt surprising. Renfe knows the mid/long range HST euro-network is the way to go. Thats why they need to ensure a leading position with AVE’s. That means a huge investment (€ 16.000 million so far or 23,733,590,447 in USD). In the other hand, now that Acciona is coming, is expected they will take those services and finally compete…

    Greetingas…and excuse my bad english too!!

  3. rob says:

    Andres and Jose, this is not really bad news. The same company cannot provide great high-speed long-dtsance train service, short range trains, as well as freight operations. Better to have separate firms specialize in each area.

    In the case of Spain, it seems RENFE will specialize in the medium/long range pasenger train services, other freight firms will take over the goods transport, and buses/cars will handle short-range passenger movement.

    Maks sense, cant expect one company to do everything! As long as there in enough track to do it all: that should be the ONLY role of the Spanish govt, make sure there is enough track available to provide good passenger as well as freight service (without the two interferig with each other)… then let various private operators divide up the services as they see fit.

  4. OatSpain says:

    High Speed Train is a competitor of airplain, not bus. Normal train could be a competitor of the bus. Classic trains don’t require the enormous infrastructure of High Speed Trains ( long bridges and tunnels to make the routes as linear as possible to allow high speed) and operates at speed only slightly faster than buses and cars (and it is compensated with the slower acceleration).

    Spain’s future train plan is ambicius in HST but it has forgotten normal trains.
    As Spaniard, I hope that our goverment changes and remember that, and upgrades classic trains too to compete to bus and cars.
    It is important for a future of scarce oil.

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