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OUIGO, low cost trains of SNCF arrive in Spain

Ouigo’s low-cost high-speed trains are conquering the Spanish market. At a press conference attended by the CEO of Voyages SNCF, Alain Krakovitch, and the President of Ouigo Spain, Hélène Valenzuela, announced the launch of a new line between Barcelona and Madrid on March 15, 2021. Zoom on this new offer, which promises to offer tickets on average “50% cheaper than Renfe”.

5 return trips per day

Last November, the SNCF was attributed running rights in Spain. Namely, five return trips per day between Madrid, Aragon and Catalonia. Five others between Madrid and the Valencia region. And finally, the last five between Madrid and Andalusia. The railway company will thus start with the Madrid-Barcelona line next March, before launching a Madrid-Valencia/Alicante line towards “late 2021-early 2022” and Madrid-Cordoba-Seville/Malaga in 2023. As stated by Hélène Valenzuela, “this line is just the beginning, we will then expand very quickly to Valencia, Alicante, Malaga… to cover a large part of Spain very quickly. »

Ouigo  Spain
© Ouigo

Although the railway company has decided to keep the brand name “Ouigo”, the TGVs will not be entirely a “copy-paste” of the French model. Indeed, in order to “take the best to meet the expectations of Spanish passengers”, the 14 duplex TGV trains will accommodate 509 passengers. Built by Alstom, they will have an Ouibar, unlike its tricolour big brother. The objective of the railway company announced by the Spanish official “to democratize high speed in Spain on average” with prices “50% below the usual prices”.

Three months late due to COVID-19

With a launch normally scheduled for December, Alain Krakovitch revealed that he had accumulated “three months of delay on the preparation of the train sets with Alstom and on their homologation”. Currently, still in the process of equipping certain train sets, the company is planning to sell 30,000 tickets per day. This competition is likely to overshadow the Spanish historical operator. Namely, the Renfe. Indeed, the latter had announced the launch of its own low-cost TGV offer next April. A project unfortunately delayed due to the pandemic.

It should also be noted that Ilsa, the subsidiary resulting from the merger between the Italian railway company Trenitalia and the Spanish airline Air Nostrum, should also launch new trains in the Spanish market by 2022. For information, Trenitalia and Renfe also aim to land in France by launching a Lyon-Marseille line on the Spanish company’s side and a Paris-Lyon-Milan line on the Italian company’s side.

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