It was an important date in what can be considered a true story of success and it merited a celebration: it is now 15 years since the AVE high-speed train began operating between Madrid and Malaga and revolutionised travel between the Spanish capital and the Costa del Sol by reducing the journey time to just over two and a half hours.
Since its inauguration on 23 December 2007 more than 30 million passengers have used the AVE service.
The anniversary was marked at Malaga's María Zambrano station by representatives of the government, the Chamber of Commerce, Fundación Malaga, Renfe and Adif and the launch of a new book on the history of the AVE in Malaga and what it has meant for the province.
This year the AVE has been used by around three million passengers, almost the same figure (96%) as those who travelled on this service in 2019, a record year. Since then the frequency of the Madrid-Malaga service has been reduced due to the pandemic.
Among the passengers on the AVE’s first journey from Madrid to Malaga 15 years ago were the then prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and the Minister for Public Works, Magdalena Álvarez.
At the anniversary celebration the government representative in Malaga, Francisco Javier Salas, said the AVE had marked a before and after in the development of Malaga as it is today. The project to bring the high-speed rail service to Malaga cost 2.53 billion euros and was financed by the government and EU funds.
Salas also pointed out that the AVE had made a major contribution to the environment over these 15 years, because if the 30 million passengers (to put it in context, that is almost 18 times the population of Malaga province) had used their cars they would have produced 1.4 million tonnes of CO2. The AVE has therefore played an important role, he said.