A third train operator joins Spain’s big battle for customers on Friday with the launch of Iryo’s low-cost service between Madrid and Barcelona.

Iryo joins French-owned Ouigo and Renfe’s Avlo in offering budget high-speed train journeys in the country.

The end of the long-standing Renfe monopoly in 2021 has seen fares fall by up to half on routes where Ouigo has been competing.

Iryo- run by Italy’s main train operator, Trenitalia, in association with Spain’s Air Nostrum and Globalvia- will have a fleet of 20 red-coloured trains costing €800 million.

It claims they are the ‘most sustainable, fastest and quietest trains in Europe’ with 5G mobile phone access.

The company’s debut this Friday(November 25) will see it run 16 daily round-trips between Madrid and Barcelona at hourly intervals.

It will roll out a Madrid to Valencia service on December 16 before a major spring expansion.

March 31 will see the opening of the Madrid-Cordoba-Sevilla/Malaga link followed by Madrid to Alicante trains on June 4.

The total Iryo investment comes in at over €1 billion and it wants to carve out a 30% share of the rail travel market.

Ticket prices start from €18 but some lower promotional prices are available.

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