February 24, 2011

High Speed Rail - My Trip Aboard an AVE S-103

I am spending a lot of time aboard commuter rail these days and that reminded me of my trips across Spain aboard Renfe's AVE (Alta Velocidad Espa├▒ola). High speed rail is still a fantasy for us in the U.S. I am not even sure I will ever see one built in my neck of the woods. It was really a treat to have a chance to experience this great form of transportation in such a beautiful place as Spain. Renfe maintains a fleet of high speed trains that reach many parts of the country in a matter of hours. I traveled from Barcelona to Madrid a total of 386 miles in 2 hours 38 minutes and that meant I got to travel in an AVE S-103 (Siemens Velaro E). On 15 July 2006, an S-103 achieved a top speed of 403.7 km/h (250.8 mph) on that same route. A record for unmodified commercial trains. OK, so it is not cheap and is way slower than a plane, but what a unique experience.

The are a few more photos in my archives... And a separate post about Madrid's Atocha train station.

Sleek AVE S-103 was our ride for the afternoon.

We traveled Business class on our way out to Madrid and Turista (Tourist) on the return trip to Barcelona.

Like a jetliner but roomier and you can stretch your legs by walking to the bar and get something to drink...

Or just enjoy the world go by...

That is an indicated 186 MPH.

My phone GPS was very handy to figure out where we were along the route.

Regional railway

 Nice cabin. Video monitor could be a bit larger...

Control console.

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