Spanish rail operator RENFE has started to sell tickets on its new low fare “Avlo” trains. Starting promotional prices are as low as 5 euros each way, but long-term fares will be in the range of 10 euros to 60 euros. The initial route will link Barcelona with Madrid with four daily roundtrips, but RENFE expects to add to the network as it receives necessary trainsets. Those trainsets will be the same as those used on regular-priced AVE services, operating at 300 kph, but with interior layouts to reflect the lower-price focus. Tickets are available online at avlorenfe.com, currently available only in Spanish (but Google translate works well).
Avlo is, at least in part, a reaction to the French SNCF announcement that it will start operating its low-fare high speed OUIGO trains within Spain next year. In case you haven’t followed, the Europeans are in the process of developing an “open access” rail travel environment where the nation—or a nationwide organization—owns and operates the track system and individual rail operators pay to use the track system. Open-access operators are already big in Austria and Germany, and the U.K. has operated on a similar franchise system for decades.
— Ed Perkins, editor
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