Ouigo announces plans to expand its high-speed train services to more destinations in Spain

Image of an Ouigo high-speed train.

Image of an Ouigo high-speed train. Credit: OUIGO.

The French railway operator Ouigo announced this Monday, May 29, that it had notified the National Commission for Markets and Competition (CNMC) of its intention to expand its presence in the Spanish high-speed network.

The news was broken by Hélène Valenzuela, the head of the company in Spain. She was attending a conference on the liberalisation of rail passenger transport organised by the body in charge of monitoring competition in the markets.

Taking advantage of the recent arrival of high-speed rail in the Murcian region, Ouigo intends to incorporate new rail routes to the cities of Elche in Alicante province and also into Murcia, in the Levante corridor.

This move comes after the company formalised its arrival in Alicante a few weeks ago. It plans to provide two round-trip services a day, making four frequencies in total, as reported by lainformacion.com.

According to Valenzuela, the links with Elche and Murcia are technically ‘affordable’ and she insisted that she believes the market ‘is going to work’.

To these destinations would be added the entry into the North corridor with new services from Madrid to Segovia and Valladolid, although they must first be reviewed by the CNMC.

Both destinations are classified as Public Service Obligations (OSP) and are subsidised by the State as Medium Distance services.

For this, they must pass a market test, as established by community regulations. These new services would not arrive before the year 2025 added the company.

Meanwhile, Ouigo is working to finish deploying the services to which it committed in the first liberalisation package which contemplated its arrival in Andalucia.

Specifically, it involved train services to the cities of Malaga and Sevilla, although it is foreseeable that the trains will also stop in Cordoba.

The arrival of the French double-decker trains is scheduled for the second half of 2024, once they have been approved on the high-speed line to Andalucia, which has a different signalling system from the rest of the network.

Ouigo has subsequently had to design a solution so that the system integrated into its units (ERTMS) is compatible with the one installed on the tracks (LZB).

The company’s original growth plans contemplated its arrival in Galicia. That is something that could be formalised with the signing of the second framework agreement for the entry of competition that was announced today by Adif. Lisbon in Portugal is another possibility, a route that received institutional support from the European Commission.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com