NATIONAL operator Renfe has joined high-speed open-access operator Iryo, Basque regional operator Euskotren and Catalonia Government Railway (FGC) to form the Spanish Association of Passenger Rail Companies (AEEFV).

By speaking with one voice for the sector at home and abroad, the new association aims to contribute to regulatory change, support and defend rail for its environmental and social benefits, and develop policies to support modal shift to rail.

Iryo president, Mr Carlos Bertomeu, has been appointed as the first president of AEEFV. The post of director general has been filled by Ms Sonia Araujo, director general of national passenger business Renfe Viajeros.

The association will work to ensure that measures taken to mitigate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will continue and are extended in scope. It is also set to lobby in favour of measures to cap or reduce energy costs.

In the high-speed sector, AEEFV will develop proposals to change the current access charging regime for a new model that will enable operators to reach the common goal of carrying 50 million passengers a year.

“The liberalisation of the passenger rail market has given rise to new operators who, even if they have to compete, also share a common interest in improving the working of the sector,” says Renfe president, Mr Isaías Táboas.

According to Táboas, the new association will bring together the efforts of its members “so that their proposals would have more weight than if they were each presenting them individually.”

  • The European Commission approved this week a €1.8m Spanish government scheme to support private rail freight companies that operate diesel locomotives with the increasing cost of diesel caused by the geopolitical crisis.