Renfe is going to have to cut its AVE and AVLO high-speed service offer by around 20% this summer due to another delay in the delivery of Talgo’s Avril trains, capable of running both on fixed gauge and variable gauge, suitable for for high speed. The delivery should have taken place before this summer, but the Basque company has delayed it again, so they will not be able to cover the needs of Renfe, they informed EL PAÍS in official sources.
In particular, the routes most affected are those that link Madrid to the Atlantic cities of Galicia (Vigo, A Coruña and Santiago de Compostela), which already circulate by high-speed rail (international gauge) to Ourense and connect with the rest of the destinations by Iberian gauge but thanks to the Avril trains it could reach speeds much higher than the current Alvia ones, cutting the travel time considerably, according to the commitment made by the central government with the Xunta.
In fact, during a press conference last March with the mayor of Vigo and president of the FEMP, Abel Caballero, the Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez, pointed to the commitments made by Talgo to continue “maintaining the idea and the forecast that they can arrive in Galicia during the summer of this year”. However, the owner of Transport has just admitted the delay, completely attributable to the manufacturer, without giving a fixed date for commissioning.
The variable gauge trains of the 106 series, according to the name of Renfe, will be able to circulate at maximum speeds of 300 kilometers per hour on any type of track, improving the 250 km/h of the current Alvia. The new commercial offer announced by Renfe at the end of 2021 contemplated the extension of frequencies (direct or via link) of the AVE to Galicia and a reduction in travel times that can range between 54 minutes and one hour and 44 minutes, depending on the destinations.
Renfe Operadora acquired a total of 30 Avril units in 2016 from Talgo, of which fifteen correspond to the standard gauge, dedicated solely to circulating on high-speed lines, and the other fifteen, with sliding wheels and dual tension, which allows them to operate indistinctly by high-speed infrastructures and by conventional ones. Avril trains allow transporting up to 600 passengers per convoy, providing greater profitability, with the distribution of 3+2 seats, with which passengers are gained. There is also a reduction in energy consumption of 30%.
But not only Galicia will be affected. Renfe will only be able to provide 80% of the services that were provided in 2019. The point is that, with more lines (Madrid-Orihuela from February 2021, Madrid-Ourense from December 2021 and Madrid-Burgos from July 2022) and without the new Talgo trains, frequencies must be reduced on the Madrid-Seville, Madrid-Málaga, Madrid-Valencia, Madrid-Alicante, Madrid-Zaragoza-Barcelona and Madrid-León lines.
The public company will apply to Talgo the sanctions provided for in the contract signed in 2017 until the delivery of the equipment, which may be delayed until the end of this year and even the beginning of 2023, the same sources reported. A Talgo spokeswoman consulted by this newspaper has declined to make any comment.
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