DESPITE Spain's economic woes, the country's love affair with high-speed trains is far from over. As IRJ went to press, the candidates best positioned to win the general election on December 20 all had one thing in common: a commitment to continue the massive investment in the AVE network while promising to keep a tight control over the public deficit in 2016.
RENFE started commercial service in the Olmedo - Zamora section of the Madrid - Galicia high - speed line on December 17 with a single return service which will cut travel time for the 232km Madrid - Zamora trip by 22 minutes to 1h 33min.
BARCELONA could double its current tram ridership and save €2m each year in bus operating costs if a project to connect the city's two currently separate light rail networks if a short link along Diagonal Avenue becomes a reality.
THE government of Costa Rica has confirmed its intention to push forward with a project to develop rail backbone for the metropolitan area of its capital city, San José, after Mr Guillermo Santana, the president of rail authority Incofer, announced the allocation of Colón 3.5bn ($US 6.58m) from the 2016 budget for planning.
THE Valladolid - Palencia - León high-speed line was opened to traffic on September 30, a day after it was officially inaugurated by Spanish prime minister Mr Mariano Rajoy and less than a week after the opening date was confirmed.
A Girona court this week finally granted TP Ferro, the build-operate concessionaire for the high-speed line between Figueres, Spain, and Perpignan, France, protection from creditors and placed the company under receivership. Despite the administration procedure, the company says that passenger and freight services will continue to operate as normal on the 44.3km line until at least March 2016.
SPANISH infrastructure manager Adif has awarded a consortium of Alstom, CAF and Siemens a €63m contract to install ERTMS on the recently-opened Atlantic Corridor in Galicia, and on a section on the Ourense - Santiago high-speed rail line where an Alvia train derailed in July 2013, resulting in 79 deaths.