Alicante to Madrid

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mac

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In Spain next week and the wife wants to go Madrid for a few days, where is the best place to get tickets and how much should we be paying Alicante to Madrid return?
 
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richardderby

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there are some advance tickets available on Renfe for 37 euro each way (£27), these are called 'promo' fares. for a little extra, you can travel 1st class (Preferente) on AVE high speed trains, which usually includes access to the Club lounge, alcoholic drinks (incl Cava :D), and a light meal according to the time of day. this will cost around 65 euro one way (£48). you can mix and match class of travel each way...
all Renfe tickets allow tranfers on other local trains, including the Benidorm tram for no extra charge.

book here for English.
http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html
 

embers25

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there are some advance tickets available on Renfe for 37 euro each way (£27), these are called 'promo' fares. for a little extra, you can travel 1st class (Preferente) on AVE high speed trains, which usually includes access to the Club lounge, alcoholic drinks (incl Cava :D), and a light meal according to the time of day. this will cost around 65 euro one way (£48). you can mix and match class of travel each way...
all Renfe tickets allow tranfers on other local trains, including the Benidorm tram for no extra charge.

book here for English.
http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html

I used loco2 recently for tickets from Madrid to Valencia (the same line as Alicante but for the last bit where the Alicante line breaks off) and it was very easy and cheaper than Raileurope of course, whilst matching Renfe. The Madrid lounge was very nice, as was the AVE but bear in mind you get no food on AVE on Saturdays but the fare is around 10 euro less to reflect that. Line is 300kph for significant parts and is vaguely scenic although it does pass through numerous completely abandoned places which feels quite surreal. The high speed station en route is also in the middle of nowhere!
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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I used loco2 recently for tickets from Madrid to Valencia (the same line as Alicante but for the last bit where the Alicante line breaks off) and it was very easy and cheaper than Raileurope of course, whilst matching Renfe. The Madrid lounge was very nice, as was the AVE but bear in mind you get no food on AVE on Saturdays but the fare is around 10 euro less to reflect that. Line is 300kph for significant parts and is vaguely scenic although it does pass through numerous completely abandoned places which feels quite surreal. The high speed station en route is also in the middle of nowhere!

A new AVE line opened today, extending the Madrid-Valladolid line to Leon (about 170km).
They are still building new lines like mad, despite (or because of) the recession.
One of the Alicante-Madrid services runs through Madrid and on to Santander, presumably via the gauge changers at Atocha (standard to broad) and Chamartin (back again!).
A fascinating operation.

EDIT:
I've found a piece on the new AVE line Valladolid-Leon. http://spanishnewstoday.com/new-ave...vice-to-palencia-and-león-opens-_28833-a.html

The new line is not so impressive when you read the small print.
It is single track! Structures are for double track but only one laid.
It currently lacks ERTMS, so is limited to 200kph using standard fixed signals using the Spanish ASFA system.
I'm not sure what distance of standard gauge is in use, as no mention is made of gauge changers at the end of the new line.

Edit 2:
Another piece which gives more detail on the route and the gauge changers: http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/...ew/valladolid-leon-high-speed-line-opens.html
 
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mac

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there are some advance tickets available on Renfe for 37 euro each way (£27), these are called 'promo' fares. for a little extra, you can travel 1st class (Preferente) on AVE high speed trains, which usually includes access to the Club lounge, alcoholic drinks (incl Cava :D), and a light meal according to the time of day. this will cost around 65 euro one way (£48). you can mix and match class of travel each way...
all Renfe tickets allow tranfers on other local trains, including the Benidorm tram for no extra charge.

book here for English.
http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html

How do you get it to stay in English?
 

richardderby

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How do you get it to stay in English?
once you pass from the translated home page, it transfers over to Spanish bizarely...
copy/ paste and google translate definately comes in handy.
i have booked heaps of tickets on RENFE, but you need to concentrate, and have the time...
 
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mac

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Got it to work eventually, cheap tickets 1st class for roughly £38 each way.
 

mac

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Update travelled on the 0840 from Alicante walked in the carriage to be greeted with the smell of leather, lovely clean seats with a good meal and only 5 passengers. Train early at each stop and got up to 298 km/h over a large mileage.
Coming back on the 1215 total different no leather no food full carriage still early but never went over 246km/h.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Update travelled on the 0840 from Alicante walked in the carriage to be greeted with the smell of leather, lovely clean seats with a good meal and only 5 passengers. Train early at each stop and got up to 298 km/h over a large mileage.
Coming back on the 1215 total different no leather no food full carriage still early but never went over 246km/h.

The 0840 would have been an AVE train (300kph, standard gauge only).
The 1215 back would be an Alvia dual-gauge train (came from Santander with 3 changes of gauge before you boarded at Atocha).
They are limited to 250kph. I would guess you got the Talgo/Bombardier version (S130) with the funny nose.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RENFE_Class_130
 
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I travelled from Madrid Atocha to Santander on the 1035 ex Alicante last Wednesday, at the exceptional promotional price of 31.50 euros in Preferente. The barrier staff were rather suprised I wanted to travel from Atocha as the departure from Chamartin is 55 mins later! Heavily loaded Alvia 130.04 arrived in the terminal platforms, but there were very few passengers travelling forward that I could see, in Preferente at least. After departure at 1325 we went southbound through the gauge-changer and then reversed; the driver walking through the train to change ends. It was quite surreal running non-stop through the Cercanias broad-gauge tunnel to Chamartin where we picked up a moderate load of passengers. Departure was at 1420, running through the gauge-changer to the north of the station to gain the standard-gauge again!

Valladolid is in a state of flux with much tidying up to be done of the standard / broad gauge configuration, with various temporary connections in place. The gauge-changer to the north of the station has been removed and the 'Norte' main-line trains from Bilbao / Irun now exclusively use the southern one. The High Speed Line to Venta de Banos is double-tracked with left-hand running (in homage to the 'Norte', or because ERTMS has yet to be installed?). A 'third-side' has been constructed here, currently trackless, for the future HSL on to Burgos.

The situation on to Palencia, junction for Santander, is less than optimal shall we say, with the HSL becoming single-track. Our train gained the broad_gauge again through another gauge_changer to join the 'third-side' at Venta de Banos (used by the 'Camino de Santiago' Irun/Bilbao to Vigo/ A Coruna through train). Palencia station has two standard gauge platforms now, but now only one broad_gauge which seems a bit limiting.

The line to Santander is impressive, going 'over the top' with the Alvia romping up the gradients.There has been much track relaying but it is still desperately slow. Santander is going to loose out on the high speed revolution as the HSL from there to Bilbao (and so on to Madrid) has been cancelled.

I took Brittany Ferries 'Pont Aven' back to Plymouth, which I highly recommend - a very pleasant cruise with the Bay of Biscay fortunately very calm!
 

LNW-GW Joint

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I travelled from Madrid Atocha to Santander on the 1035 ex Alicante last Wednesday,

A very interesting account.
I was there a month ago on the Santiago-Madrid hybrid Alvia S-730 train (but I got off at Medina in order to reach Salamanca).
I couldn't see Network Rail coping with dual gauge/dual voltage/dual signalling/dual mode trains...
If you haven't seen it there's a VERY good technical description of the evolution of the gauge changers, in English:
http://www.vialibre-ffe.com/pdf/Track_gauge_changeover.pdf
 

ooo

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A very interesting account.
I was there a month ago on the Santiago-Madrid hybrid Alvia S-730 train (but I got off at Medina in order to reach Salamanca).
I couldn't see Network Rail coping with dual gauge/dual voltage/dual signalling/dual mode trains...
If you haven't seen it there's a VERY good technical description of the evolution of the gauge changers, in English:
http://www.vialibre-ffe.com/pdf/Track_gauge_changeover.pdf
We do have Third Rail and Overhead wire on the same service with Thameslink
 
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