The Iryo Red Arrow has been undergoing tests for months. / josé manuel guerrero

Malaga is still missing out on low-cost, high-speed rail services

Three operators are working routes in Spain at present, but none of them come to the capital of the Costa del Sol... yet


Three low-cost, high-speed train operators are working routes in Spain at present, but none of them come to Malaga - yet.

The Avlo, which is Renfe’s version, operates in Barcelona and Valencia and no date has been set for it to come to the Costa del Sol. Ouigo, the first private operator, from the French company SNCF, only runs beween Madrid, Zaragoza and Barcelona and although it had planned to begin operating in Malaga as soon as possible. This has now been postponed because there is a connectivity problem between the communications systems of its trains and those on the line between Madrid and Seville, which use an old system which the trains are not equipped for. For the moment, it is not known when this problem will be overcome.

The first low-cost option available in Malaga will be Iryo, which will become the first private operator of a high-speed train between Malaga and Madrid. One of is colourful Frecciarossa (red arrow) 1000s train units has been undergoing tests between Malaga and Cordoba for months, and can be seen near the workshops at Los Prados. The objective of these tests is to certify the safety and speed of these trains.

The Ilsa company, which has the concession for one of the two privately-run high-speed services (the other is Ouigo) estimates that it will begin operating in Malaga in early 2023. It will be using a fleet of ETR 1000s, made by Hitachi and Bombardier. These trains have a maximum speed of 360 kph, although in Spain they are unable to travel that fast due to the type of track.