High-Speed Lines

Madrid - Seville Line


A way of making Europe.

The works have been co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with funding of 267.3 million euros.


Map of the Madrid-Seville line and its main area of influence

The Madrid-Seville High-Speed Line is an important backbone for communications across the regions (Madrid, Castile-La Mancha and Andalusia),

In addition to the cities on the line (Madrid, Ciudad Real, Puertollano, Cordoba and Seville), the Toledo and Malaga high-speed lines also branch from it. Moreover, thanks to gauge changers, the railway traffic of Cadiz, Huelva, Malaga, Granada and Algeciras can also enjoy benefits from this line, including improved travel times and better service.

From 1992 to 2011, 56 million people have travelled on the AVE, between Seville and Madrid, and more than double, 118 million, on different trains running on this first high-speed line in Spain.


Train on viaduct

The main challenge for this first Spanish high-speed line was its construction, but equally important was the challenge of maintaining and improving the infrastructure and the rail services, applying high quality standards.

In this regard, the history of this line is marked by awards and prizes received for service that has achieved the status of excellence according to the existing quality yardsticks. Examples are the European Quality Award, the highest award related to quality management and business excellence in Europe, obtained for service in 1998, and the European Seal of Excellence, certifying an evolution of continuous improvement in management, awarded by the Quality Management Club to the AVE in 2000.

Another significant example is that, 15 years after opening, as a result of learning, experience and improved management, the cost of maintenance per kilometre of track of the High-Speed Network had been reduced by around 50 percent, despite an increase in traffic of some 300 percent.


AVE train and tracks

The Madrid-Seville high-speed line, designed for speeds of up to 300 km/h, is now at its best performance level, several improvement projects having increased its quality levels since it was commissioned.

Pioneering technologies of their time were installed on this line, such as the LZB, which continuously monitors speeds, with two-way data transmission between track and train, making automated train driving possible. There are plans for future implementation of the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS), which will allow higher security features and increased speed.

 On 23 April 1993, an Ave Series 100 (100-015) train set an historic Spanish railways speed record, reaching 356.8 km/h, with no modifications to the vehicle. The tests allowed commercial operation at 300 km/h in 1994, reducing the previous journey time between Madrid and Seville by 40 minutes. This record was surpassed 13 years later on the Madrid-Barcelona line. On the night of 15-16 July 2006, a Series 103 (103-002) train set the current Spanish speed record of 404 km/h, also with an unmodified train.

With respect to the track, important work has been done to improve the cambers on different sections, allowing an increase in speed from 250 to 300 km/h, without any affect on comfort levels or increased aggressiveness on the track.

Improvements to adapt to new high speed standards include such work as changing to the 25 kV 50 Hz AC electrification system and installing telecommunications via GSM‑R

Finally, rail traffic control has been significantly modernised with the DaVinci System, one of the most advanced traffic systems in the world, which integrates all of the systems making up the elements of a Control and Regulation Centre into a single application.

Worker in the CRC (Control and Regulation Centre)


  • Length: 471 km
  • Track gauge: UIC (1,435 mm)
  • Maximum Speed: 300 km/h
  • 32 Viaducts. Total length of 8,355 metres
    The two most important are the viaduct built for the Ciudad Real line, which at 930 metres is the longest of all, and the viaduct crossing the Tajo and Guadálmez rivers, which is 800 metres long and has 78 metre-high piers.
  • 17 Tunnels. Total length of 16,030 metres
    The longest of them is 2,540 metres long
  • Electrification: 1 x 25kV 50Hz AC
  • Signalling: ASFA200 and LZB
    Planned installation of ERTMS
  • Telecommunications: Digital Train-Ground based on GSM-R
  • 5 passenger stations:
    Madrid Puerta de Atocha, Ciudad Real, Puertollano, Cordoba and Sevilla Santa Justa
The tropical garden at Madrid Puerta de Atocha, in 1992