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Iryo, Spain's latest express rail company, connects nation's three largest cities
Wednesday, November 30, 2022 @ 10:05 AM

A THIRD rail company has begun operations in Spain, intensifying competition for the State transport firm RENFE - which held a monopoly until early 2021.

Now covering the Madrid-Barcelona route, Iryo will launch its Madrid-Valencia line in December, and serve four new locations in Andalucía by April 2023 (photo: Iryo)

Since train services were opened up to outside providers just under two years ago, the no-frills express Ouigo line, owned by French rail board SNCF, has begun expanding, forcing RENFE ticket prices down.

Already, travelling by train between Spain's main cities and along its most heavily-frequented medium-distance commuter lines averages 43% cheaper than prior to 2021 – and now a third operator is likely to see even greater price wars.

RENFE's express AVE service, which covers distances of 350 kilometres in 90 minutes, is a comfortable and convenient way to travel, but for those who are not concerned about extras such as on-board Wi-Fi or additional luggage allowance, its AVLO is a more basic, cheaper alternative.

Ouigo launched in 2021 on Spain's busiest commuter route, between Barcelona and Madrid, and has recently opened another service between Valencia and Madrid – in both cases, tickets start from €7 or €9.

The firm plans to expand, offering connections between Alicante and Madrid via Albacete, between Sevilla and Madrid and Málaga and Madrid, with stops in Córdoba.

Since Friday, the latest service provider, Iryo, has been operating on the Barcelona-Madrid route, with five return journeys a day, covering the distance in a maximum of two hours and 45 minutes.

The first Iryo train left Madrid's Atocha station at 06.45 on Friday, arriving in Barcelona at 09.15.

With the AVE, AVLO, Ouigo and Iryo links, this line is now very well served by express trains – a total of 35 per day in each direction, leaving at different times, with an aggregate daily capacity of 13,500 passengers.

If demand increases, seat numbers may rise accordingly.

Iryo's next inter-city link will start on Friday, December 16 between Valencia and Madrid, and from March 31, 2023, will branch out to Sevilla, Málaga, Antequera (Málaga province) and Córdoba, connecting all of these with Spain's capital.



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