Trains - High-speed long-distance trains AVE

AVE Train © Renfe
AVE Class 102 Train


It is no exaggeration to say that the AVE (Tren de Alta Velocidad Española), which started in 1992 in time for Seville's Expo, changed the face of Andalucia. Suddenly, you could get to Madrid from Seville in two hours 20 minutes, without either having schlep out to the airport, or sit on an ordinary train for between six and nine hours. The services, which run on special standard gauge lines, are frequent and reliable, famously offering a refund if your train is more than five minutes later than its scheduled arrival time on the Seville - Madrid route. (On other AVA routes it is 50% for 15min delay and full refund for half hour delay.)




It is advisable to buy tickets in advance. This can be done on the RENFE website or by an online agent whose website is fully operational in English. have partnered with ACP Rail for online RENFE tickets and reservations.  You can also order tickets by phone, at the station itself, or at a RENFE appointed high street travel agent for a small commission.

You can buy your ticket up to 60 days before your travel date. In the first two cases, you are either given a booking reference, which you then use to print out the tickets themselves from a machine at the main station, or you can print them out at home.

If you're travelling at the weekend or on a holiday or puente (long weekend), it is even more important to buy your ticket beforehand as the station may well be extremely busy, and seats may sell out.

AVE train sets:

Class 102, built by Talgo of Madrid with Adranz (now Bombardier) power car technology since 2005. The 2 power and 12 passenger car train has earned the nickname 'pato' (duck) from the aerodynamic shape of the fronts. Each set consist of 6 tourist coaches (four seats wide), 3 preferente coaches, and 2 club (three seats wide) coaches and a cafe car. Powered by eight 1300 horsepower motors the sets have an intended top speed of 330 km/hr.  The record of 364 km/hr was acheived in trails in June 2004. Since May 2007 the trains travel with a target top speed of 300 km/h.

Class 103, built by Seimens of Germany within their Valero range since 2006. The 8 car sets incorporate driver and passenger integrated cars at either end. Four of the eight cars have underfloor power units with two powered bogies each. They were ordered primarily for the Madrid - Barcelona route, however the distributed power system has proved effecient for inclines and thus, they have also be allocated to the Madrid - Malaga route. They are certified to run at 350 km/hr, and in a trial on 16 July 2006 one reached 403,7 km/hr (a rail speed record for Spain and a world record for a non modified unit).  Renfe have 26 Class 103 AVE units.   

Class 100, built by Alstrom of France as a variation of their TGV technology and were the first to be introduced to Spain in 1992 for the Madrid - Seville route.The entire fleet was refurbished in 2007. The sets are made up of two power cars with two motorised bogies each and eight passenger cars with shared bogies. In trails it reached 356 km/hr. The units are also now used on the Avant fast medium distance services.

General info

Three classes are available, Club, Preferente and Turista. If you're travelling at a busy time on a crowded train and your journey is a long one or you want the space to work, it might be worth paying the extra for more space and comfort. Preferente class is less expensive at weekend. Meals are included with club and preferente. Weekdays there is a trolly cafe servise to all seats, at weekends snacks are server only from the bar. Free car parking (24hrs single tickets and 48hrs return tickets) at your departure point for club and preferente . In all classes you get headphones for the audio/video service. There is a quiet coach on the train where mobile phone amd electronic games are not allowed. Small pets under 10km may travel in a special carrying case. Bicycles must ne demounted and be inside a case as with ski or gold equiptment.  

AVE - High Speed Train Routes
AVE - High Speed Train Routes

AVE routes in Andalucia

  • Madrid to Cordoba from 1 hr 40 min, every 30-60 minutes
  • Madrid to Seville from 2 hrs 20 min, every 60 minutes, stops at Ciudad Real, Puertollano and Cordoba
  • Madrid to Málaga from 2 hrs 30 min, every 60-120 mins, stops at Cordoba, Antequera and Puente Genil
  • Barcelona to Málaga 
    from 5 hrs 40 min, two services daily, stops at Tarragona, Zaragoza, Cordoba, Puente Genil and Antequera.
  • Barcelona to Seville
    from 5 hrs 25 min, two services daily, stops at Tarragona, Lleida, Zaragoza, Ciudad Real, Puertollano and Cordoba.
  • Valencia to Sevilla  
    from 3hr 50 min, two services daily, stops at Córdoba, Puertollano, Ciudad Real and Cuenca.
  • Seville to Málaga
    from 1hr 55 min, nine AVANT services daily, stops at Puente Genil and Antequera.

AVE Stations in Andalucia 

This page was about High speed AVE train services, also check Fast Long Distance, Regional, and Cercanias (local).