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RENFE Operadora
Locale Spain
Dates of operation January 24, 1941 (1941-01-24)
A new Cercanías Civia unit near Puerto Real (Cádiz)
AVE Class 100 train at Cordoba station

Renfe Operadora is the state-owned company which operates freight and passenger trains on the 1668-mm "Iberian gauge" and 1435-mm "European gauge" networks of the Spanish national railway infrastructure company ADIF (Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias).



The name RENFE is derived from that of the former Spanish National Railway Network, RENFE (Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles) created on 24 January 1941 with the nationalization of Spain's railways. As per EU Directive 91/440, RENFE was divided into Renfe Operadora (operations) and ADIF (infrastructure) on 1 January 2005. At the same time, the existing RENFE double-arrowed logo (nicknamed the "galleta", Spanish for biscuit), first introduced in 1971 and facelifted in 1983, with a sans-serif font and again in 2000, with a mixed case italic font, has been replaced by a dark purple lower-case wordmark designed by Interbrand, and also replaces some of the separate logos used by the other sectors, although the old RENFE logo remains in use in some stations in Spain and on maps to indicate a RENFE station.

The Railway Sector Act of 2003 separated the management, maintenance and construction of rail infrastructure from train operation. The first activity is now the responsibility of a new public company, Administrador de Infrestructuras Ferroviarias (ADIF), while Renfe (full name: Renfe Operadora) owns the rolling-stock and remains responsible for the planning, marketing and operation of passenger and freight services (though no longer with a legal monopoly).

Renfe Operadora inherited the management model of the business units of the old RENFE, which made Renfe Operadora responsible for the operation of the following passenger and freight services. In January 2006, Renfe Operadora restructured the main business units into four:

  • Dirección General de Servicios Públicos de Cercanías y Media Distancia: responsible for commuter services (Cercanías), medium-distance high-speed rail AVE services and medium-range regional services (Regionales and Media Distancia). However, control of some Cercanías services are transferred to Spain's Autonomous communities.
  • Dirección General de Servicios de Larga Distancia: responsible for long-distance intercity and high-speed rail services (except medium-distance AVE services and Media Distancia, which is managed by the above business unit.
  • Dirección General de Servicios de Mercancías y Logística: responsible for freight services.
  • Dirección General de Fabricación y Mantenimiento: responsible for rolling stock maintenance and manufacture (also known as Integria)

The Spanish State railways are currently engaged in a major transformation and modernisation process to keep up with the liberalisation of railway transportation elsewhere in Europe. Key to this effort is a major overhaul of their dated ICT (information and communication technology) systems through an ICT renewal project scheduled for completion at the end of 2010 under the responsibility of Corporate Director of Information Systems Oscar Gomez Barbero. So far the company has introduced improvements to their internet ticket sales and adopted new ICT management practices within a "more industrial" organisational model, though Mr Gomez has publicly acknowledged the difficulties in transforming what still remains a very hierarchical organisation.


Map of the Spanish rail network as it was in 2005, with colour-coded track types. Renfe Operadora operates in broad and standard gauge lines.

The company operates some 15,000 km of railways, 7,000 km of them electrified. Most of which are constructed to the broad "Iberian" gauge of 1668 mm, the same as that used in Portugal but wider than the gauge of 1435 mm which is standard in France and most of western and central Europe. The newer high-speed (AVE) network, however, has been built to the international standard gauge of 1435 mm gauge in anticipation of its eventual connection to the rest of the European railway system. For this reason, the 1435-mm gauge is generally termed "European gauge" in Spain.

The Spanish high-speed system is called AVE. (Alta Velocidad Española, Spanish High Speed). The logo incorporates a feature which resembles a bird (ave in Spanish). The high-speed lines are built to the standard European gauge (1435 mm).

Construction of the high-speed rail line between Madrid and Seville began in 1988 and operation commenced in 1991. Train speed on the Seville line is 300 km/h. The second high-speed rail line, from Madrid to Barcelona, was completed in 2007 with the inaugural service commencing at 6 am February 20, 2008. The operational speed on this route is 350 km/h. The greater part of the line, from Madrid to Lleida, was put in service on October 11, 2003, with connection to Huesca from Zaragoza. The third high-speed line, Madrid - Toledo was opened in November 2005, followed by the spur from Córdoba to Málaga as far as Antequera in 2007. Another high-speed route from Madrid to Valladolid was opened in 2007, and other lines to Valencia and Lisbon are being designed. The route Madrid-Galicia is under construction between the major Galician cities.

Other lines operated by Renfe include Alaris, a moderate-speed line between Madrid and Valencia.

In addition to intercity transport, Renfe operates commuter train systems, known as Cercanías (or Rodalies in Catalonia and Cercanías-Aldirikoak in the Basque Country), in eleven metropolitan areas, including Madrid and Barcelona. The former was targeted in the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings. While the latter and some of the regional trains going to Barcelona have been without service since 20 October 2007. In some cities Renfe shares the market with other commuter railway operators, such as FGC in Barcelona.

Passenger rolling stock

Renfe Operadora counts on the following rolling stock and commercial products inside of its two divisions that contain services of travellers:


D.G.S.P. Cercanías y Media Distancia

Renfe 446 EMU in Bilbao.


  • RENFE Class 440 EMU
  • RENFE Class 440R EMU
  • RENFE Class 442 EMU
  • RENFE Class 446 EMU
  • RENFE Class 447 EMU
  • RENFE Class 450 EMU
  • RENFE Class 451 EMU
  • RENFE Civia (RENFE Class 462, 463, 464 and 465) EMU
  • RENFE Class 592 DMU

Media Distancia:

  • RENFE Class 432 EMU
  • RENFE Class 440 EMU
  • RENFE Class 470 EMU
  • RENFE Class 444 EMU
  • RENFE Class 448 EMU
  • RENFE Class 448R EMU
  • RENFE Class 592 DMU
  • RENFE Class 593 DMU
  • RENFE Class 594 DMU
  • RENFE Class 596 DMU
  • RENFE Class 598 DMU
  • RENFE Class 104 EMU
  • RENFE Class 130 EMU

D.G.S.P. Larga Distancia

Grandes Líneas services and Largo recorrido
Service Rolling stock Route(s) Image
Conventional RENFE traditional services, with conventional rolling stock
Diurno Locomotive + Passenger cars Basque Country <> Galicia / Salamanca
Estrella Locomotive + sleeper cars Atlántico
Costa Brava
Pío Baroja
With the disappearance of the steam and the generalization of electric trains and diesel, some have improved their rolling stock whilst others originally conserve the original rolling stock for the service.
Alaris RENFE Class 490 Madrid <> Valencia
Madrid <> Castellón
Madrid <> Gandía
Madrid <> Oropesa de Mar
Barcelona <> Valencia
Barcelona <> Alicante
Altaria Locomotive + Talgo cars IV/VI/VII Madrid <> Cádiz
Madrid <> Huelva
Madrid <> Algeciras
Madrid <> Granada
Madrid <> Alicante
Madrid <> Cartagena
Madrid <> Murcia
Alvia RENFE Class 120 Madrid <> Pamplona
Madrid <> Logroño
Madrid <> Hendaya
Madrid <> Irún
Barcelona <> Vigo
RENFE Class 130 Madrid <> Alicante
Madrid-Puerta de Atocha <> Barcelona-Sants
Barcelona-Sants <> Málaga-Mª Zambrano
Barcelona-Sants <> Zaragoza-Delicias
Barcelona-Sants <> Sevilla-Santa Justa
Arco Locomotive + conventional passenger cars refitted for 200 km/h operation García Lorca Barcelona <> Extremadura/Andalucía 697Alzira.jpg
AVE RENFE Class 100 Madrid-Puerta de Atocha <> Sevilla-Santa Justa Renfe clase 100.JPG
RENFE Class 102 Madrid-Puerta de Atocha <> Huesca
Madrid-Puerta de Atocha <> Zaragoza-Delicias]
Estación de Madrid-Chamartín <> Valladolid-Campo Grande
Madrid-Puerta de Atocha <> Málaga-Mª Zambrano
Talgo 350.jpg
RENFE Class 103 Madrid-Puerta de Atocha <> Barcelona-Sants
Barcelona-Sants <> Málaga-Mª Zambrano
Barcelona-Sants <> Zaragoza-Delicias
Barcelona-Sants <> Sevilla-Santa Justa
Renfe clase 103.JPG
Euromed RENFE Class 101 Barcelona <> Valencia <> Alicante Em03 1382 VLC nrd.jpg
Intercity RENFE Class 448 Madrid-Chamartín <> Hendaya Intercity - 22Diciembre2007.jpg
Talgo Locomotive + Talgo cars III/III-RD/IV/VI/VII Catalán Talgo Barcelona <> Montpellier
Covadonga/Finisterre Barcelona <> Galicia/Gijón
Mare Nostrum Cartagena <> Montpellier
Miguel de Unamuno Barcelona <> País Vasco/Salamanca
Barcelona <> Lorca
Barcelona <> Murcia
Madrid <> Galicia
Alicante <> Galicia
Madrid <> Almería
Madrid <> Badajoz
Madrid <> Bilbao
Talgo III irun 3.jpg
Trenhotel Locomotive + Talgo cars and sleeper cars Antonio Machado
Francisco de Goya
Joan Miró
Pau Casals
Rías Gallegas
Salvador Dalí

See also


External links


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