SPANISH minister for transport, mobility and the urban agenda, Ms Raquel Sánchez Jiménez, has announced the completion of the final section of the Madrid - Galicia high-speed line. Operation on the Pedralba de la Pradería - Ourense section will begin on December 21 and will reduce travel times between Madrid and the Spanish region by an hour. Tickets go on sale on November 23.

National operator Renfe and infrastructure manager Adif AV are completing final tests on the section, the most complex portion due to the topography of the region. More than 60% of the section runs through tunnels or over bridges to cross the Galician Massif mountain range.

The project included the construction of a 101km line from Pedralba de la Pradería to Taboadela, and the upgrading of the 16km Taboadela - Ourense section.

Jiménez joined the regional presidents of Castile, Leon and Galicia and other authorities and journalists for a test journey from Madrid to Ourense on November 22. The inauguration is due to take place on December 20, with commercial services beginning the following day.

The standard-gauge line will allow AVE services with a commercial speed of 300km/h to operate directly to Ourense. However, class 130 and 730 Alvia gauge-changing trains, which have a commercial speed of 250km/h, will be required to operate on Iberian gauge lines from Ourense to A Coruña, Ferrol, Lugo, Pontevedra and Vigo. Renfe is completing certification of the first variable-gauge trains capable of operating at 330km/h which will further reduce travel times between Madrid and the Galicia region.

The line will initially reduce journey times to:

  • Madrid - Orense: 2h 15min with AVE, 2h 40min with Alvia
  • Madrid - Santiago: 3h 20min
  • Madrid - La Coruña: 3h 51min
  • Madrid - Pontevedra: 4 hours
  • Madrid - Vigo: 4h 16min, and
  • Madrid - Lugo: 4h 46min.

The 110km section of the Madrid - Galicia line between Zamora and Pedralba de la Pradería opened on October 26 2020.

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