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Spain's Murcia finally has a high-speed train: What you need to know

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 20 Dec, 2022 Updated Tue 20 Dec 2022 09:09 CEST
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AVE’s arrival in Murcia, which will link the region with Madrid through Alicante, hasn’t convinced many in a region that’s home to 1.5 million people, among them 250,000 foreigners. (Photo by DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP)

It’s taken nearly two decades for the Spanish region of Murcia to get a high-speed AVE train linking it to the capital, but after years of delays, it finally hits the tracks on Tuesday December 20th. Here are the prices, stops and why the service is controversial.


It’s taken 19 years and four months for it to become a reality but Murcia, an often-overlooked coastal region nestled between Alicante and Almería in the southeast, finally has a train linking it to the Spanish capital. 

Spain’s King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez both travelled on the inaugural journey between Madrid and Murcia on Monday December 19th, and from the next day onwards Renfe will operate the service for the general public.


"We’re putting an end to an unfair and prolonged isolation, we’re settling a historic debt," Sánchez said about the €1.9 billion rail project that further develops the so-called ‘Mediterranean Corridor’.

Murcia, together with Extremadura, are the regions with the worst railway systems in Spain, even though the country’s rail infrastructure is among the most extensive in the world. 

Although the new AVE should help to address Murcia's rail isolation, there are locals that remain unsatisfied.

How many trains a day and how much will tickets cost?

Renfe has programmed eight daily AVE services, four in each direction between Murcia and Madrid, which amounts to 2,824 daily seats. 

Half of the services start or end at Madrid’s Chamartín-Clara Campoamor station and stop in Orihuela and Elche in Alicante province. 

It will take two hours and 45 minutes to complete the 400-km journey. 

The other four daily services depart or reach Madrid’s Atocha station and stop in Elche, Alicante city and Villena (all in Alicante province) as well as in Albacete and Cuenca in Castilla-La Mancha. As there are more stops, this service takes three hours and 25 minutes.


During a press conference on Monday, PM Pedro Sánchez announced that Spain's free train ticket scheme will be applicable to the mid-distance service between Murcia and Alicante.

READ ALSO: How to get free train tickets in Spain 

Since December 14th, 10,600 Madrid-Murcia tickets for December and January have already been sold.

There are 30,000 seats up for grabs for a reduced price of €19 on the Renfe website. 

However, those who don’t manage to bag a cheap promo ticket can expect to pay up to €100+ for the full Madrid-Murcia trip.

What do the critics say?

AVE’s arrival in Murcia, which will link the region with Madrid through Alicante, hasn’t convinced many in a region that’s home to 1.5 million people, among them 250,000 foreigners. 

They’re critical about the fact that the new route will take longer and be more expensive than the service that connected the Murcian city of Cartagena with Madrid via Chinchilla.

The fact that the new AVE doesn't stop in Murcia's two other most populous municipalities - Cartagena and Lorca - is also a sticking point.

This comes after work done on the line plunged the region into a sort of ‘railway blackout’ for three and a half years. 

Murcia city residents weren’t happy about the fact that planned construction would involve the building of a 9-kilometre wall that would pass through the city and split it in two, referring to it as "the wall of shame".

There were huge protests calling for the new railway lines to instead run underground in Murcia city centre to avoid creating urban accessibility problems, demands which officials ended up meeting.



The Local 2022/12/20 09:09

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