SPANISH rail officials have snubbed homegrown firms and awarded French and Italian businesses contracts to run services on Spain’s highspeed train network from December next year.
Adif, Spain’s railway infrastructure manager, dished out contracts to France’s public railway company SNCF and Italy’s Trenitalia in the meeting last week.
Spain’s public train company kept its contract for the busiest route, which will see it operating 48 trains a day.
But other Spanish companies which were hoping for a slice of the mainland’s railway network walked away empty handed.
The Motion Rail Consortium which is made up of two Spanish firms, Talgo and Globalia as well as private equity providers Trilantic Europe and Andalucian Eco Rail failed in their bids to run train services.
As part of its contract Renfe will launch a low cost highspeed train between Madrid and Barcelona from April next year, with tickets available to purchase from January.
Trains between Spain’s two main cities currently cost €52 on average. The new low-cost service will offer discounts of 40%.
Spanish train bosses say the entry of new operators into the train network will create 66 extra journeys a day across the railway network.
There will be 61 trains between Madrid, Cordoba, Malaga and Sevilla, a 75% increase from the current 35.
There will also be cheaper tickets on both the Madrid to Barcelona line and Sevilla to Valencia connection.
Renfe, SNCF and Trenitalia emerged as winners because they were the only three firms bidding on the lines who already owned their own highspeed trains.
The other competitors would have had to rent or buy their trains, making it difficult for them to operate them with sufficient frequency.