SPAIN’S low cost high-speed train war goes up an extra gear in November as Italian-Spanish owned firm Ilsa launches its service.

The company, under the brand name of Iryo, has brought forward its start from 2023 with the first trains running between Madrid and Barcelona.

Ilsa is a joint venture company formed between Spain’s Air Nostrum, and Italy’s main train operator, Trenitalia.

It joins existing budget operators Renfe and Ouigo, which is a subsidiary of French company, SNCF.

After the November launch, the next Iryo trains will run from Madrid to Valencia and Alicante.

Iryo is investing €793 million in rolling stock from Bombardier and Hitachi.

20 trains will make up the fleet with 65 drivers.

Ilsa president, Carlos Bertomeu, said the only question remaining was which day in November would see the start of services.

“It will not take long, we will start in November with offers”, said Bertomeu.

In a reference to Iryo’s bold livery, Bertomeu hoped that ‘God willing, there will be many red trains’.

Test runs are already being carried out.

Iryo’s plans also include a Madrid to Sevilla route, with connections to Cordoba and Malaga.

The operator aims to get at least a 30% share of Spain’s high-speed train passengers.

No details over ticket prices for November’s launch have been announced.

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