Barcelona (ACN).- Travel time by high-speed train between Barcelona and Madrid is reduced as of Monday to 2h. 30 min thanks to the implementation of a new navigation system. Direct trains between the Catalan capital and Madrid are benefiting from the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), a common navigation system for high-speed trains throughout Europe. Trains will reach a maximum speed of 310 km/h at certain points of the 621 kilometres journey between the two cities. From December, the new system will be used by all high-speed trains linking both cities. With this move, the managers of the Spanish train operator RENFE are hoping to overtake air travel between Madrid and Barcelona. Currently, when considering only high-speed train and planes, passengers still prefer flying, but rail is the first option for 45.6% of the passengers. The air connection between Madrid and Barcelona is the busiest regular route in Europe and it used to be the busiest in the world, ahead of the one between São Paulo and Rio do Janeiro.
Direct high-speed trains between Barcelona and Madrid will save eight minutes thanks to the ERTMS system, which started to work with commercial trains on Monday. The system will gradually be used by the rest of the trains circulating on the high-speed line between Madrid and Barcelona. By December, all trains on the corridor will be using the ERTMS, according to the Spanish Ministry of Transport.
The first train linking Barcelona and Madrid in 2h 30 min left Barcelona-Sants at 6.30 a.m. on Monday morning and arrived at 9.00 at Madrid-Atocha. The first train in the other direction left Madrid at 7 a.m. and arrived at 9.30 a.m.