Technical tests are now underway on the railway link between Madrid and Barcelona using Italian high-speed Frecciarossa 1000 trains.

This is the last step before the final approval is given to Italy’s state railway company, FS Group, to operate these trains on the Spanish infrastructure, thereby providing the domestic market with a competitive service.

The tests are being undertaken by ILSA, a consortium owned by Trenitalia (FS Italiane Group) and Spain's Air Nostrum (Iberia Group).

Simone Gorini, CEO of ILSA, considers Spain "a country at the global forefront in our benchmark industry, with one of the largest and most modern rail infrastructure networks and a forerunner in innovation, electrification and rolling stock.” After 30 years of high-speed in Spain, “we are going to reach a new standard for the 21st century consumer in terms of personalisation, digitisation and sustainability. We want to transform the train travel experience, with the railway as the mode of transport for a more sustainable future, positioning ourselves at the centre of a multimodal concept of mobility”.

The FS Group Spanish division will be known as Iryo, with services scheduled to launch later this year, between November and December. In addition to Madrid and Barcelona, the Frecciarossa trains will also run to Sevilla, Malaga, Valencia, Zaragoza and Alicante.

In addition to Spain, the FS Group started its initial transborder link connecting Milan and Paris in December last year, the first foreign railway firm to operate within the high-speed market in France. 

The expansion followed European Union legislation removing obstacles to a single European rail area, standardising regulations within national passenger-rail systems.

In Spain, Iryo plans to offer a service of a three-hour journey between Barcelona and Madrid. Tickets will initially go on sale in the autumn, The Mayor reports.

As well as high-speed performance, the train’s principal features also include sustainability. The Frecciarossa is nearly completely recyclable, permitting 80% lower carbon dioxide per passenger per journey, according to the Environmental Impact Certification (EPD).

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