Spain’s new low-cost high speed train launches with €5 offer after Covid delay

Spain's new low-cost high speed train launches with €5 offer after Covid delay
Spain's new low-cost high speed trains are called Avlo. Photo: Renfe
It was supposed to launch in time for Semana Santa last year but thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide lockdown, Spain's new low-cost, high-speed route between Madrid and Barcelona was stopped in its tracks long before its inaugural journey.

Now, a year since Renfe first offered cut price tickets on its brand new bright purple trains, the rail operator has a new date for the launch.

Named Avlo – presumably to reflect that they are a low cost version of the more upmarket Ave trains – the route will launch on June 23th.

The operator is offering cut price tickets of €5 for journeys between June 23rd until December 11th for those who book before January 31st.

And for those people who bought tickets last year for trips that they were never able to take, Renfe are offering the opportunity to swap them for new tickets at no extra cost.

Once the initial bargain offer is over the price will vary between €10 and €60 for the 621km (386 miles) journey between Madrid and Barcelona.

Ticket prices will be at least 25 percent cheaper than the current service between Madrid and Barcelona and would operate not from Barcelona-Sants station in the centre of the Catalan capital but from a new hub in El Prat de Llobregat, a satellite town near the airport.

The new trains will be easily noticeable as the streak across the countryside between Spain's two biggest cities as they have been painted in Renfe's signature purple colour. They also have a silver strip running along the top and are adorned with turquoise and orange decorative stripes. And the doors have been given a bright, Easyjet-style orange finish.

Renfe announced back in February 2018 that it was planning to launch this low-cost alternative to its fleet as a means of getting more Spaniards off the roads and onto the train tracks.

The initial route of the trains will be from Madrid to Barcelona, with five trains going in each direction every day.

Each train has a 20 percent more capacity than current AVE trains because they have taken out the Preferente carriage and the dining car.

The current AVE service hurtles between the two cities in under three hours reaching a speed above 310 km/h.

The route was inaugurated in 2008 and competes with flights between the two cities  but tickets cost an average of €98 each way, although cheaper deals are available to savvy travellers who book in advance.

The new budget service is designed to attract a younger generation who generally make the journey by coach, explained Spain’s transport minister when the route was announced.

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