The initial contract is worth €786m, including €337m for 15 330km/h Avril trains and €449m for 30 years’ maintenance with options for 15 additional trains and a further 10 years’ maintenance. If both options are exercised, the total value for the contract will reach €1.491bn..

Each train will seat 521 passengers with 80% of seating in tourist class, where there will be a 3+2 layout, and 20% in business class, which will feature a 2+2 seating configuration. All seats will be adjustable to face the direction of travel and equipped with LED screens in the headrests.

At least 10 of the variable-gauge trains will be allocated to international services, and will therefore be equipped with three different electrification systems and multiple signalling systems including ETCS, TVM 430, Asfa Digital, and LZB.

Talgo and CAF emerged as front runners for the contract last week. Bids were also submitted by Siemens and Alstom.