THIS week marks the 10th anniversary of the AVE high-speed rail link between Valencia and Madrid.

An Ave Train At Valencia's Joaquin Sorolla Station
An AVE train at Valencia’s Joaquin Sorolla station

December 19, 2010 saw the first commercial trip between the Spanish and Valencian capitals, with more than 21.4 million travellers using it since then.

Overtaking air travel as the preferred method of transportation between both cities, the AVE connects Valencia and Madrid in just one hour and 35 minutes, hitting a top speed of 231 kph.

To mark the occasion, Spanish Minister of Transport, Jose Luis Abalos – who was born in Valencia – attended the inauguration of an exhibition this week which pays homage to a decade of the AVE.

During his speech, the minister recalled figures such as the 391 kilometres of track and €6.6 billion investment required for the project, which constituted ‘a feat that transformed both cities by demolishing barriers and enabling social, financial and cultural exchange’.   

Before the health crisis struck, the Valencia-Madrid train connection was used by more than 10,000 passengers on Thursdays and Fridays – the busiest days of the week – with business and leisure as the main reasons for travel.

In addition to its speed, comfort, safety and reliability, users point out the lower carbon dioxide emissions as a key reason for choosing the train over air travel. Experts suggest that since the route was launched, it has prevented the emission of 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Surveys among frequent travellers reveal a level of satisfaction of more than eight over 10.

The development of the AVE in Spain has placed management companies Renfe and Adif among the top firms in the world for railway technology, boasting the most advanced programmes in the EU. 

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