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Spanish railway history: Wikis


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AVE Tarragona-Madrid.jpg
High speed AVE train, Madrid-Barcelona line.
National railway RENFE
Infrastructure company Adif
Major operators RENFE, FEVE, EuskoTren, FGC, FGV
System length
Total 14,781 km (9,184 mi)
Electrified 8,760 km (5,440 mi)
Broad gauge
1,668 mm (5 ft 5+23 in)
11,829 km (7,350 mi)
Standard gauge
1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
998 km (620 mi)
Metre gauge
1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in)
1,926 km (1,197 mi)
Narrow gauge
914 mm (3 ft) 
28 km (17 mi)
3000 V DC Main network
25 kV AC High-speed lines, recent electrification
Longest tunnel Sierra de Guadarrama, 28.4 km (17.6 mi)

Rail transport in Spain operates on four rail gauges and services are operated by a variety of private and public operators. The total route length in 2004 was 14,781 km (8,791 km electrified):[1]

Most railways are operated by RENFE; metre and narrow-gauge lines are operated by FEVE and other carriers in individual autonomous communities. It is proposed to build or convert more lines to standard gauge, including some dual gauging of broad-gauge lines, especially where these lines link to France.



The first railway line in Iberia was built in 1848 between Barcelona and Mataró[2] in 1852 the first narrow gauge line was built, in 1863 a line reached the Portugeuse border. By 1864 the Madrid-Irun line had been opened, and the french border reached.[2]

In 1911 the first line to be electrified was the Gergal-Santa Fe line[2]

In 1941 RENFE was created.[2]

The last steam locomotive was withdrawn in 1975, in 1986 the maximum speed on the railways was raised to 160km/h, and in 1992 the Madrid Seville high speed line opened[2], beginning the process of building a nationwide high speed network.

The current plans of the Spanish government plans to link all the province capitals with high speed rail, with a total estimated length of over 9000 km[3] of high-speed railways for 2020.


EuskoTren units in Amara station, Donostia / San Sebastián.
  • 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).
  • FEVE (Ferrocarriles Españoles de Vía Estrecha, meaning Narrow-Gauge Spanish Railways) is a state-owned Spanish railway company, which operates most of Spain's 1,250 km (780 mi) of metre gauge railway.
  • EuskoTren (Eusko Trenbideak/Ferrocarriles Vascos – Basque Railways) operates trains on part of the narrow gauge railway network in the Basque Country.
  • Continental Rail. Is dedicated to bringing materials into the gorges of the high-speed lines in Progress

Metro/light rail systems

Bilbao metro.

Rail links with adjacent countries

See also




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