Spain will be launching a new low-cost high-speed train service in April 2020. The high-speed rail service named ‘Avlo’ is being introduced to compete with other low-cost services in France and Trenitalia. Services will begin operating between Barcelona and Madrid initially however, there are plans in place for expansion. The cost of this new service which will be significantly cheaper than flying, allowing holidaymakers who want to see more of Spain than the Costa del Sol to travel more easily across the country. Although passengers will have less onboard space than a regular service, fares will be lower. Bookings will need to be made online, and baggage restrictions will apply – much like airlines.
The decision to provide a low-cost service has environmental benefits as the lower fares will encourage travellers to choose rail travel, which produce less green-house gases than planes. Details on prices, ticketing and scheduling are yet to be announced however speaking to the Independent the President of Renfe says Avlo is ‘a low-priced product for consumers which means there is a product for everyone, so that everyone can get on the railway.’
The service is designed to be more inclusive and sustainable for those who travel by road.
Low-cost rail services have faced criticism in the past over fragmented timetables.
Speaking to the Independent international rail expert Mark Smith says “I’m not sure if these are additional or, like Ouigo in France, a cannibalisation of the existing services which has led to fragmentation and gaps in the normal timetable.”
Delays and cancellations can have a negative impact on commuters and holidaymakers. Whilst teething problems are to be expected, it will be interesting to see how this rail service differs from the current services’ available to travellers.
If you are hoping to use the new service when visiting Spain, and plan to pre-book your tickets, make sure you buy a travel insurance policy that will reimburse the cost if you need to cancel your holiday. Not all travel insurance companies will offer this, so check carefully before you buy