The new section, which opened to traffic on October 27, cost €898m, and expands the Spanish high-speed network’s total length to around 3567km.

The section reduces travel times between Madrid and the major Galician cities, including 24 minutes to A Coruña, 31 minutes to Vigo, 39 minutes to Ourense, 41 minutes to Santiago de Compostela, 1h 2min to Lugo and 1h 26min to Pontevedra.

In addition, the new section allows for a higher frequency of traffic along the route, with services between Madrid and Ourense, Santiago and A Coruña now operating at a frequency of four trains per direction per day. The Madrid - Pontevedra service will operate six times per day both ways, the Madrid - Lugo service will operate five times per day, and the Madrid - Vigo service four times daily.

Renfe plans to further increase the frequency of services once demand recovers to pre-Covid levels.

This frequency increase is supported by the introduction of new services, including a Madrid - Santiago - Pontevedra train, which provides a direct Vilagarcía de Arousa - Madrid connection for the first time.

Additionally, new services between Santiago and A Coruña, Santiago and Vigo and Ourense - Lugo have been introduced, and the previously weekday-only Vigo - A Coruña service will also operate on weekends.

Castellon station upgrade

Spanish infrastructure manager Adif AV also began work on Phase II of upgrades to Castelló de la Plana station in Valencia on October 26.

The work, which is part of the wider Castellón - Valencia section of the Mediterranean TEN-T corridor, is centred around the northern end of the station, and will be carried out overnight to minimise disruption.

The project includes the installation of 1435mm and 1668mm mixed-gauge track to enable the through operation of freight services between southern Spain and the rest of Europe. The work includes the installation of five new mixed-gauge turnouts and around 1000 sleepers, upgrades to catenary, station electrification and platform signage.

The work is being co-funded by the Spanish government and the European Union (EU), through its Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

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