The Spanish government continues to trim train travel times within its borders, with the goal of having 4,350 miles of high-speed track in operation by 2010 with all provincial capitals four hours from Madrid and six and a half hours from Barcelona.
Travel time from Madrid to Barcelona on the AVE train will soon shrink from four to three hours. Once the final section of the high-speed track is completed between Camp de Tarragona and Barcelona this spring, the train will travel at 186 miles per hour. When the latest version of the European Train Control System is in place, the AVE trains will operate at 199 mph, eventually reaching speeds of 219 mph, in turn reducing the trip to two hours and 30 minutes.
The trip time between Madrid and Segovia also was reduced from two hours to just 30 minutes, while the Madrid-Valladolid trip saw a decrease from two and a half hours to 55 minutes. Just before Christmas, the last section of the Córdoba-Málaga AVE line opened and the current four-hour trip from Madrid to Málaga in the southern region of Andalusia dropped to two and a half hours.
Rail Europe will have AVE information on its web site, though a firm date has yet to be set. Visit http://www.raileurope.com/.