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Spanish contradictions

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Planned AVE railway in Galicia, SpainIn Spain, the high speed rail network is being extended into the province of Galicia, and the works include an AVE station in the city centre of Ourense.

The new high-speed Ourense Alta Velocidad Española (AVE) train station will be built over the existing track level, integrating a bus station and parking area below.
Ourense is a city [of] just over 100,000, the capital of the province of Galicia, and the third most populous city in the province.

The amount of money involved in building a high speed rail station, integrated with a central transport interchange, must be enormous. Is it about transport, Keynesian economic stimulus, or prestige?

Nevertheless, it makes an interesting comparison with Britain’s HS2 scheme – in which

  • Coventry (population 300,000) would be by-passed by high speed rail,


  • Birmingham (population 1,000,000) would only be served by a dead-end high speed station, remote from its existing New Street and Snow Hill stations.

If one applied the ‘Ourense principle’ of stopping intercity trains at places with a population of 100,000 to Great Britain, the result would be (more-or-less) the West Coast Main Line, with its current stopping pattern. So ‘HS2 española’ would be stopping at Birmingham Calle Nueva, Sandwell y Dudley, Wolverhampton (etc).

Renfe S-104 AVE trains have a maximum speed of 250 km/h

S-104 high speed train, by Femenias, CC-BY-SA 3.0 (

The AVE system also makes use of trains with wildly different maximum speeds – which destroys capacity. As is the case with Britain’s HS1, this isn’t a problem, because the lines aren’t used very much.

Written by beleben

January 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm

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