Maiden High Speed Trip

Giugiaro

Member
Joined
4 Nov 2011
Messages
779
Location
Valongo - Portugal
Hello everyone!

I decided to go ahead and try travelling for the first time on high speed rail.

I booked a trip between Barcelona and Madrid, on the Renfe AVE, on October 18.
The ticket was acquired for 16€, at a time and price neither Ouigo nor Avlo could beat (somehow).

The plan is to fly in to Barcelona on Vueling during the morning and travel from the Airport to B. Sants, having lunch along the way if I can.
Once on Madrid I'll be spending the night there, and will fly back home the next morning, on Ryanair.


Unfortunately, due to COVID, I won't take the train neither to and from Spain, as I could have the option to take the Lusitania to Coimbra, instead of spending the night in Madrid.
At the time of booking I also didn't know that the Celta Porto-Vigo would be brought back to full timetable this next Monday, October 11, so that was also put off the table.

So that'll be it. For less than 80€ in bookings I'll be travelling above 220km/h for the first time in my life.
 
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RailUK Forums

Giugiaro

Member
Joined
4 Nov 2011
Messages
779
Location
Valongo - Portugal
Hey there everyone!

Just got back from Spain after a short flight between Madrid Barajas and Porto.

The journey went well and I finally did my 300kph run. The train in question was a Renfe Class 103 doing the AVE 3142 from Barcelona - Sants to Madrid - Puerta de Atocha.
The ticket included both inbound and outbound Cercanías connection to the HSR station, so my transfer from the Airport to Sants, and from Atocha to my Hostel was all free.

Speaking of free, that isn't exactly a word applied to a lot of normal commodities you'd find on a regular train. Renfe charges for almost everything except the use of the toilet and... headphones?

I also got to experience the airline like experience that Spain applied to their HSR. With ticket control both at the station entrance and the platform entrance, an x-ray luggage surveillance along the way, and segregated arrival and departure platforms at both the start and end of the journey. The whole concept seemed to have been very expensive to Spanish taxpayers, and it certainly isn't very user friendly when you're in a rushed connection between HSR and Conventional Rail, and vice-versa.

The interior was quite nice, and I felt comfortable along the way. I've noticed that the Renfe 103 has seats that can be rotated towards the direction of travel, which I wished the Portuguese Pendolinos had!
I was, as well, very surprised at the lack of USB sockets for charging phones or Schuko plugs, considering the age we live in currently. I don't remember well, but maybe I had to pay extra to be placed in seats that do have those sockets?

I also got to experience the very strict control that Spain has over photography and filming, which left me empty-handed throughout the experience. I really wanted to take my time exploring the OuiGo TGV Duplex and other HS trains that Renfe has, while they were stopped at the terminus stations, but not only they weren't physically accessible, staff also kept me from staying in the space for too long, without either boarding the train or leaving the station.

Also, I should point out that these stations, including the ones at both airports and city centres, are very heavily staffed and are also very helpful and kind.

I think this is good enough to get a gist of what the journey was.
Anything, just ask below, and I'll answer!
 

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