HIGH-SPEED train travel has become significantly cheaper in Spain over the last few years, new figures show. 

A study by Trainline suggests the liberalisation of high-speed routes, which is now shared between three operators, has led to more competitive prices. 

The independent platform, which sells train and bus fares across Europe, says the cost of the trip between Barcelona and Madrid, for example, has reduced by 65% since 2019. 

The popular route now costs an average of €35, falling by 22% in the last year alone. 

Renfe launches new high-speed rail route in Spain connecting Madrid with Alicante and Murcia
Renfe launched its own low-cost service in a bid to compete with new rivals

It comes after the public railway company Renfe was forced to lower prices after new competitors entered the market. Renfe launched Avlo, its own low-cost offering, in June 2021.

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It came just one month after the arrival of Ouigo, the low-cost carrier operated by France’s public SNCF company, which began operating in Spain in May 2021. 

Then in November 2022, Italian state-owned firm Trenitalia introduced its own service, called Iryo. 

While Iryo was marketed for business clients, offering internet connection and restaurants onboard, its prices were still very attractive and have remained as such. 

Other factors have also contributed to lower prices in recent years, including the need to entice passengers back after the Covid pandemic. 

But the price wars have led to losses for all three operators, leading them to demand Adif give them cheaper tariffs for access to the railway networks. Adif is a public company which manages Spain’s railway infrastructure. 

Ouigo, the French 'low-cost' AVE to link Spain’s Madrid and Andalucia with five daily frequencies
Ouigo, the French ‘low-cost’ carrier which is helping bring train prices down in Spain

To cover the losses, Ouigo has been forced to reduce the number of services over the winter period. 

Meanwhile, the increase in carriers and trains on the networks has caused an increase in breakdowns and delays. 

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According to Trainline, one in four trains now arrive later than expected. However, prices are continuing to fall on routes with more than one operator. 

In the last year alone, Madrid to Alicante has decreased by 47%, standing at an average of just €29. 

The Madrid-Valencia route now costs an average of €23, down 44% on 2022, while Madrid-Malaga is around €44, representing a year-on-year price drop of 37%. 

Finally, both Madrid-Seville and Madrid-Cordoba have fallen in price by 35% since last year, standing at €42 and €37 respectively.

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