The AVE will arrive in Galicia on December 21. The Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez, announced this Monday on an inaugural trip between Madrid and Orense in which the presidents of Galicia and Castilla y León have also participated that the high-speed section between Pedralba de la Pradería and Pray. A “historic milestone” for the Government that leaves the Galicians cold, however.
Because the opening of the line is 12 years late and incomplete. Leaving Orense aside, there are not fast enough trains and the promised variant of Cerdedo is missing, which will save travel time for the people of Vigo. From its continuity to Ferrol.
In any event, tickets for the new section can be purchased from this Tuesday on the Renfe website.
The AVE to Orense will take 2 hours and 15 minutes, which means a reduction in travel time of 1 hour and 28 minutes. The times to connect Madrid with other Galician cities such as Vigo, La Coruña or Pontevedra will also be reduced.
The frequencies will also be increased. Daily services by direction will go from 6 to 10 in the case of Orense and La Coruña; from 4 to 8 in the case of Vigo; from 5 to 7 for Pontevedra and from 3 to 4 in Lugo. “In a second phase, the journeys to La Coruña will be reduced by 20 more when the Avril de Talgo arrive at the track,” explained Sánchez. In principle, these trains, which have a variable gauge, will be operational on this line at the beginning of next year, which will prevent travelers from making transfers to reach other cities in the region.
The Minister of Transport has been very “satisfied with the work done.” The section between Pedralba and Orense, of more than 119 kilometers, has a complex orography and goes through more than 30 tunnels. The investment in the entire route already exceeds 9,000 million euros.
The minister has also pointed out that next year’s budgets for investments in Galicia exceed 890 million, of which “almost half will go to the railroad.” Sánchez also highlighted the progress of the Atlantic Corridor, which represents “a country strategy to improve the rail connection with the rest of Europe throughout the Peninsula.”
Meanwhile, the president of the Xunta, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has asked that the Avrils arrive before summer, especially because of “the number of passengers that will arrive in Galicia during the Holy Year.” As Feijóo has explained, the tracks “are ready”, but there are no trains “capable of running at these speeds.”
“The AVE has been a priority objective for Galicia for decades,” said the president of the Xunta, who has also asked that the execution of the Atlantic Corridor “be undertaken in parallel to that of the Mediterranean Corridor.” However, Feijóo has also described the trip made this Monday as “historic”.
The president of Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, recalled for his part that the construction of the section has involved “several governments”, thus highlighting the work of Ana Pastor at the head of the Ministry of Development with Rajoy, present at the act of today.
In his words, the new connection «backbone Spain» and is an opportunity to «generate employment». “It is an important advance, but there are still things to do,” he explained in reference to the “infrastructure deficit” in northwestern Spain.
Mañueco has demanded that the Minister of Transport “inform” him of the plans of his department with European funds. “The impulse of our nation must be symmetrical,” said the regional president, who has also called for a boost for the Atlantic Corridor.