Iryo and Renfe high-speed trains at María Zambrano station in Malaga. Salvador Salas
Record number of high-speed trains on offer between Malaga and Madrid this summer

Record number of high-speed trains on offer between Malaga and Madrid this summer

State company Renfe and private operator Iryo will operate up to 21 services per day in each direction between the Spanish capital and the Costa del Sol

Ignacio Lillo

Wednesday, 29 May 2024, 11:03

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The high-speed train track linking Malaga and Madrid will experience a milestone this summer, with the two rail operators currently offering their services on the route scheduling the largest train offer in its almost 17-year history.

For this summer, state company Renfe and privately-owned Iryo, which are (until Ouigo arrives, foreseeably in the second half of the year) the only two operators with commercial services, have scheduled between them between 20 and 21 daily trains, depending on the day and direction. This is the highest number of services that have run along the route since it was opened in December 2007.

In some time slots there will even be two departures of both competitors such as the 8.05am AVE and the 8.09am Iryo, both bound for Madrid.

From 1 June, with the start of the high season, Renfe will offer between 13 and 14 trains per day in each direction, according to the public operator. Among the main changes, the 7.25am AVE Madrid-Malaga, which already runs from Monday to Friday, and the 9.18pm AVE Malaga-Madrid on Sundays, will both become daily services, which means gaining one more service in each direction seven days a week.

Avlo trains, Renfe's low-cost brand, will run in double train unit configurations between the two cities

In total, Renfe will offer eight more AVE trains a week between the two cities, two of which correspond to the Madrid-Malaga route and six to Malaga-Madrid. With all these measures, the total offer will increase by 8,000 seats per week, 13.5% more than in the low season.

Double trains

"Malaga is in fashion", sources from the state-owned public company said, and pointed out that the summer months are the busiest time of the year on the Costa del Sol. In fact, Renfe has always reinforced its services at this time of year, although it used to do so mainly by means of double trains (two train units coupled together), and now, in addition, the frequencies have been improved.

Reacting to Iryo as a competitor, as well as more trains with the rolling stock from the 102 and 112 series has added to extra availability. Technical sources said the availability of extra trains will mean that, as well as having more departures in each direction, there will continue to be double trains on the most important days, such as the departure and return operations for the most important holiday fortnights in July and August, and for Malaga fair, among other big events.

Not surprisingly, for this coming weekend, the first of June, there are already three AVE trains scheduled in double configuration (with 1,300 seats each). "There is more flexibility in the fleet, which means that the summer peaks in Malaga, when demand is at its highest in the year, can be better met". In this way, the high-speed public service between both cities will amount to almost 70,000 weekly seats.

Iryo takes up positions

Meanwhile, private Spanish-Italian operator, Iryo, which is Renfe's only competitor on the route, has also significantly reinforced its offer for the summer season between Malaga's María Zambrano station and Madrid's Atocha, where there will be seven trains in each direction.

A spokesman for the company said the Malaga-Madrid route has been reinforced for two reasons. The first is that, with the works in Chamartín and the Levante routes, frequencies to Valencia have had to be reduced. And, derived from the previous one, comes the second reason: "After an internal analysis we have opted for Malaga, which is giving us excellent results in terms of demand".

Trains on this route have an average occupancy rate of 70%, which is considered very high. However, this reinforcement will be temporary, since when the works are finished, which is planned for the end of July, both Valencia and Malaga will recover their initial services.

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