A bit of history

The AVE proyect starts in October 1.986, when it is decided to build a new railroad access to Andalucía from Madrid, thinking about the possibility of entablishing a high speed service that afterwards would extend to the remaining important cities, such as Barcelona and Valencia.

In the beginning of the year 1.988 RENFE convokes an international competition to decide which firm is going to build the 24 high speed trainsets, chosing the international gauge for the AVE track.
The result of this competition was the adjudgment of the construction of the AVE trains to the French firm Gec-Alsthom.

After the signing of the contract between RENFE and Gec-Alsthom the first AVE trainset is shown at the4 Belfort factory, France, in October 1.991.

The speed tests are developed with the first AVE trains from Gec-Alsthom in the beginning of the year 1.992, reaching a speed of 335 kph. The commercial working of the AVE line between Madrid and Sevilla on April 21st 1.992 by reason of the next opening of the International Exposition of Sevilla, Expo92.

In its first month in service, The AVE transported more than 100.000 passengers, and by November more than a million passengers have used the AVE trains.

The line between Barcelona and Valencia is being improved at present to put in service six Spanish broad gauge AVE units with a top speed of 220 kph.

Julio Castillo Jr. - jcastjr@telcom.es