The test runs on the Madrid – Seville high-speed line are taking place at night to avoid interfering with Renfe's commercial operations.
The prototype train has already exceeded 200km/h during initial testing, the first step in a lengthy process which is expected to conclude with the train being certified for operation at a maximum commercial speed of 360 km/h.
To date, few details of Avril's specification have been released. The train offers increased capacity, with a 3+2 seating arrangement in a single deck accommodating 600 passengers in a 200m-long train.
Avril is the first Talgo high-speed train to be developed entirely with the international market in mind and not specifically in response to the needs of Renfe. Talgo's two previous high-speed platforms, Talgo 350 (which is certified for 330km/h operation) and Talgo 250 were designed to meet Renfe's requirement for a high-speed train capable of serving the Madrid – Barcelona route in 2h 30min, and for dual-gauge sets able to operate on the conventional broad-gauge network as well as standard-gauge high-speed lines.
Avril is also Talgo's first train to be equipped with distributed traction. Although the manufacturer has declined to give further details, it was previously reported that motors will be distributed along the three outer cars at each end of the train (IRJ September 2010 p55).
Sources directly involved in the test runs also confirmed to IRJ that some key elements of the Avril product family are already being incorporated into the T350 trains being manufactured for the Mecca -Medina high-speed line in Saudi Arabia.