Tuesday, 7 February 2023, 10:35
Monday, 6 February, was a day marked in red on the calendar for railway enthusiasts in Malaga. At exactly 3.30pm a Frecciarossa ‘Red Arrow’ 1000 train could be seen arriving at platform four of the city’s María Zambrano station at the start of its commercial testing stage, ahead of its paying-passenger service starting on 31 March.
This is the first time that a unit from Iryo, the private operator that will soon begin operating on the high-speed line between the Costa del Sol and Madrid , has been seen in commercial simulation tests at the terminal, but only with drivers for the moment. Until now, there have been some journeys that started or ended at the city-centre terminal, but only for technical checks and always at night.
At the controls was Cristina, a train driver from Barcelona, although based in Madrid, for whom it was also her first trip to Malaga. She will be one of the professionals assigned to the route, just one year after joining Iryo, having previously worked on the line between the Spanish capital and Barcelona.
In total, there were four drivers who made this first training journey. As they explained, they are going to do tests throughout the week operating the same schedule; and then they will continue with other tests until 31 March, when the Iryo train is expected to carry paying passengers for the first time. A few days before, it will carry members of the media and local authorities on its maiden voyage with passengers.
The high-speed train service of Iryo, the first private operator on the line between Malaga and Madrid, will start on 31 March with two departures in each direction. But, from then on, the frequencies will increase, first to three and then to between four and five journeys per day, especially during the summer.
To start, for the month of April, the scheduled offer will be two daily trains: departing from Madrid’s Atocha station at 7.55am and 2.55pm; and from Malaga María Zambrano, at 11.30am and 8.45pm, according to the information available on the Spanish-Italian operator’s reservation website.
At the end of May, three scheduled frequencies are already listed: from Madrid, at 7.55am, 11.45am and 8:55pm. And from Malaga, at 8.10am, 11.30am and 6.45pm.
In June the daily departures from each city will increase to four: From Madrid they will do so at 7.55am, 11.45am, 2.55pm and 8.55pm. While from Malaga they will be at 8.10am, 11.30am, 3.20pm and 6.45pm.
Starting in July is when the maximum offer will be reached this year with five daily Frecciarossa trains in each direction: from Atocha they will depart at 7.55am, 11.45am, 2.55pm, 4.55pm and 8.55pm. And from Malaga María Zambrano they will leave at 8.10am, 11.30am, 3.20pm, 6.45pm and 8.45pm.
After the summer, the frequencies will be reduced to four again, although they are likely to be reinforced again next Christmas.
Regarding prices, the promotional launch offer is still in force, which offers many seats at 18 euros; although the average fares for the month of April already range from 34 to 48 euros each way on weekends (Friday to Sunday).
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