Rail News


November 10 , 2021

Low-cost high-speed AVLO to run Madrid-Valencia route for 'Fallas' fiesta

Think Spain 
26 October, 2021 (Spain)

A CUT-PRICE no-frills version of Spain's express AVE train, launched earlier this year, is set to run a new route ahead of spring 2022 – between Madrid and Valencia.

High-speed AVE rail links, covering long distances in less than half the time it would take to drive them – the 350 kilometres between Valencia and Madrid, for example, takes just 90 minutes – is very convenient and comfortable, but quite expensive for those who simply want to get from A to B without ceremony; these passengers would be more likely to take the Larga Distancia 'snail rail', which makes this same journey in six hours with a change midway and costs around half the price.

Now that Spain's train services have been opened up to competition for the first time in their history, rail board RENFE will have to work harder to keep customers, and one of its key strategies is the AVLO, or low-cost AVE.

The first-ever AVLO train set off on June 23 from Figueres-Vilafant station in the province of Girona at 05.35, stopping at Barcelona Sants station en route to Madrid Atocha, whilst another left Atocha for Figueres via Barcelona at 06.20.

One-way tickets back then started at €7, and have barely risen since, although full-facility peak-time trips can cost as much as €65.

AVLO trains have no buffet car, although they do have vending machines, and the fare covers a small cabin bag and personal bag.

Extras, such as on-board Wi-Fi, seating with plugs for charging phones and laptops, flexible travel times and dates, and additional luggage attract a further fee.

At present, the AVLO only runs on the Madrid-Barcelona route – Spain's busiest long-distance commuter trek by rail, road and air – with four connections in either direction daily which stop in Guadalajara, Calatayud (Zaragoza province), Zaragoza, Lleida and Tarragona.

One train daily runs from Madrid as far as Girona and Figures, and one other starts from Figueres and stops at Girona on the way to the capital.

The journey takes around two-and-a-half hours.

Next year, though, a second route will be added, between Madrid and Valencia, in time for the latter's huge mid-March Fallas fiesta.

This is celebrated all over the province of Valencia and in a handful of towns in those of Alicante and Castellón, ending late at night on March 19, although the events and monuments in Valencia city are on a much larger scale than elsewhere in the region and the festival runs for about a week, rather than four days as in other towns.

It is not yet clear whether the AVLO Fallas link will only be in place for the duration of the fiesta, or whether it will continue – albeit at a reduced frequency – year-round.

Minister for mobility, transport and urban agenda, Raquel Sánchez, presented a preliminary analysis report on the high-speed line from Madrid to Valencia, which takes in Castellón, this week, but more details are expected to be revealed nearer March.

Two other low-cost express rail connections are set to cover the Valencia-Madrid route from next year – one of which is Ouigo, the French no-frills line owned by the SNCF, due to start operating from spring 2022, and the other is Ilsa, although no dates have as yet been confirmed.


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