History of rail transport in Spain
Overview
 
Rail transport in Spain operates on four rail gauge
Rail gauge
Track gauge or rail gauge is the distance between the inner sides of the heads of the two load bearing rails that make up a single railway line. Sixty percent of the world's railways use a standard gauge of . Wider gauges are called broad gauge; smaller gauges, narrow gauge. Break-of-gauge refers...

s and services are operated by a variety of private and public operators. The total route length in 2008 was 15,288 km (8,847 km electrified):

Most railways are operated by RENFE
RENFE
Renfe Operadora is the state-owned company which operates freight and passenger trains on the 1668-mm "Iberian gauge" and 1435-mm "European gauge" networks of the Spanish national railway infrastructure company ADIF .- History :The name RENFE is derived from that of the former Spanish National...

; metre and narrow-gauge lines are operated by FEVE
FEVE
FEVE is a state-owned Spanish railway company, which operates most of Spain's of metre gauge railway.-History:...

 and other carriers in individual autonomous communities. It is proposed and planned to build or convert
Gauge conversion
In rail transport, gauge conversion is the process of converting a railway from one rail gauge to another, through the alteration of the railway tracks...

 more lines to standard gauge, including some dual gauging
Dual gauge
A dual-gauge or mixed-gauge railway has railway track that allows trains of different gauges to use the same track. Generally, a dual-gauge railway consists of three rails, rather than the standard two rails. The two outer rails give the wider gauge, while one of the outer rails and the inner rail...

 of broad-gauge lines, especially where these lines link to France, including platforms
Railway platform
A railway platform is a section of pathway, alongside rail tracks at a train station, metro station or tram stop, at which passengers may board or alight from trains or trams. Almost all stations for rail transport have some form of platforms, with larger stations having multiple platforms...

 to be heightened
Railway platform height
On a railway the platform height refers to the height of a platform above the rail. The value varies between railway systems. A related term is "train floor height" which is the height of the floor of the rail vehicle. There are a wide number of standards for platform heights and train floor heights...

.

Spain is a member of the International Union of Railways
International Union of Railways
The UIC , or International Union of Railways, is an international rail transport industry body.- Brief history :The railways of Europe originated as separate concerns. There were many border changes after World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. Colonial railways were the responsibility of the...

 (UIC).
Encyclopedia
Rail transport in Spain operates on four rail gauge
Rail gauge
Track gauge or rail gauge is the distance between the inner sides of the heads of the two load bearing rails that make up a single railway line. Sixty percent of the world's railways use a standard gauge of . Wider gauges are called broad gauge; smaller gauges, narrow gauge. Break-of-gauge refers...

s and services are operated by a variety of private and public operators. The total route length in 2008 was 15,288 km (8,847 km electrified):

Most railways are operated by RENFE
RENFE
Renfe Operadora is the state-owned company which operates freight and passenger trains on the 1668-mm "Iberian gauge" and 1435-mm "European gauge" networks of the Spanish national railway infrastructure company ADIF .- History :The name RENFE is derived from that of the former Spanish National...

; metre and narrow-gauge lines are operated by FEVE
FEVE
FEVE is a state-owned Spanish railway company, which operates most of Spain's of metre gauge railway.-History:...

 and other carriers in individual autonomous communities. It is proposed and planned to build or convert
Gauge conversion
In rail transport, gauge conversion is the process of converting a railway from one rail gauge to another, through the alteration of the railway tracks...

 more lines to standard gauge, including some dual gauging
Dual gauge
A dual-gauge or mixed-gauge railway has railway track that allows trains of different gauges to use the same track. Generally, a dual-gauge railway consists of three rails, rather than the standard two rails. The two outer rails give the wider gauge, while one of the outer rails and the inner rail...

 of broad-gauge lines, especially where these lines link to France, including platforms
Railway platform
A railway platform is a section of pathway, alongside rail tracks at a train station, metro station or tram stop, at which passengers may board or alight from trains or trams. Almost all stations for rail transport have some form of platforms, with larger stations having multiple platforms...

 to be heightened
Railway platform height
On a railway the platform height refers to the height of a platform above the rail. The value varies between railway systems. A related term is "train floor height" which is the height of the floor of the rail vehicle. There are a wide number of standards for platform heights and train floor heights...

.

Spain is a member of the International Union of Railways
International Union of Railways
The UIC , or International Union of Railways, is an international rail transport industry body.- Brief history :The railways of Europe originated as separate concerns. There were many border changes after World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. Colonial railways were the responsibility of the...

 (UIC). The UIC Country Code
UIC Country Code
The UIC Country Code is a two digit number used to identify member countries of the International Union of Railways . The UIC has issued numbering systems for rolling stock and train stations that both contain the UIC Country Code. The values are defined in UIC leaflet 920-14.-Table of Codes:-...

 for Spain is 71.

History

The first railway line in Iberia was built in 1848 between Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

 and Mataró
Mataró
Mataró is the capital and largest city of the comarca of the Maresme, in the province of Barcelona, Catalonia Autonomous Community, Spain. It is located on the Costa del Maresme, to the south of Costa Brava, between Cabrera de Mar and Sant Andreu de Llavaneres, to the north-east of Barcelona. , it...

  In 1852 the first narrow gauge line was built; in 1863 a line reached the Portuguese border. By 1864 the Madrid-Irun line had been opened, and the French border reached.

In 1911 the first line to be electrified was the Gergal-Santa Fe line.

In 1941 RENFE
RENFE
Renfe Operadora is the state-owned company which operates freight and passenger trains on the 1668-mm "Iberian gauge" and 1435-mm "European gauge" networks of the Spanish national railway infrastructure company ADIF .- History :The name RENFE is derived from that of the former Spanish National...

 was created.

The last steam locomotive was withdrawn in 1975, in 1986 the maximum speed on the railways was raised to 160 km/h, and in 1992 the Madrid-Seville high speed line opened, beginning the process of building a nationwide high speed network.

The current plans of the Spanish government plans to link all the provincial capitals
Provinces of Spain
Spain and its autonomous communities are divided into fifty provinces .In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian , sing. província.*Galician , sing. provincia.*Basque |Galicia]] — are not also the capitals of provinces...

 with high speed rail, with a total estimated length of over 9000 km of high-speed railways for 2020.

Operators

  • Renfe Operadora is the state-owned company which operates freight and passenger trains on the "Iberian gauge
    Iberian gauge
    Iberian gauge is the name given to the track gauge most extensively used by the railways of Spain and Portugal: namely ....

    " and standard gauge
    Standard gauge
    The standard gauge is a widely-used track gauge . Approximately 60% of the world's existing railway lines are built to this gauge...

     networks of the Spanish nationalized infrastructure company ADIF
    Adif
    Adif, an acronym of Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias, is a Spanish state-owned company under the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, charged with the management of most of Spain's railway infrastructure, that is the track, signalling and stations...

     (Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias). Both were formed from the break-up of the former national carrier RENFE
    RENFE
    Renfe Operadora is the state-owned company which operates freight and passenger trains on the 1668-mm "Iberian gauge" and 1435-mm "European gauge" networks of the Spanish national railway infrastructure company ADIF .- History :The name RENFE is derived from that of the former Spanish National...

     (Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles, "Spanish National Railway Network.")
  • FEVE
    FEVE
    FEVE is a state-owned Spanish railway company, which operates most of Spain's of metre gauge railway.-History:...

     (Ferrocarriles Españoles de Vía Estrecha, "Narrow-Gauge Spanish Railways") is another state-owned Spanish railway company, which operates most of Spain's 1250 km (776.7 mi) of narrow gauge rail.
  • EuskoTren
    EuskoTren
    EuskoTren is a commuter rail service which operates in the Basque Country provinces of Biscay and Gipuzkoa. It is one of the three commercial brands of the public society owned by the Basque Government, Eusko Trenbideak - Ferrocarriles Vascos...

     (Basque
    Basque language
    Basque is the ancestral language of the Basque people, who inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. It is spoken by 25.7% of Basques in all territories...

    :Eusko Trenbideak, , "Basque Railways") operates trains on part of the narrow gauge railway network in the Basque Country
    Basque Country (autonomous community)
    The Basque Country is an autonomous community of northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa, also called Historical Territories....

    .
  • Ferrocarril de Sóller
    Ferrocarril de Sóller
    The Ferrocarril de Sóller or FS is an interurban railway and the name for the company which operates the electrified gauge tracks running between the towns of Sóller and Palma on the Spanish island of Mallorca...

     (FS) operates an electrified
    Electrification
    Electrification originally referred to the build out of the electrical generating and distribution systems which occurred in the United States, England and other countries from the mid 1880's until around 1940 and is in progress in developing countries. This also included the change over from line...

      narrow gauge railway on the Spanish island of Majorca between the towns of Palma
    Palma de Mallorca
    Palma is the major city and port on the island of Majorca and capital city of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. The names Ciutat de Mallorca and Ciutat were used before the War of the Spanish Succession and are still used by people in Majorca. However, the official name...

     and Sóller
    Sóller
    Sóller is a town and municipality near the north west coast of Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands of Spain. The town is some 3km inland, from the Port de Sóller, in a large, bowl-shaped valley that also includes the village of Fornalutx and the hamlets of Biniaraix and Binibassi. The combined...

    .
  • Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca
    Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca
    Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca or SFM is a company which operates the metre gauge railway network on the Spanish island of Majorca.The line Palma - Inca was since 1977 the sole remnant of a network that once connected Palma with most of the island...

     (SFM) operates the metre gauge
    Metre gauge
    Metre gauge refers to narrow gauge railways and tramways with a track gauge of . In some African, American and Asian countries it is the main gauge. In Europe it has been used for local railways in France, Germany, and Belgium, most of which were closed down in mid 20th century. Only in Switzerland...

     railway network on the Spanish
    Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

     island of Majorca.
  • Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana
    Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana
    Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana or FGV is a public Valencian railway company which operates several metre gauge lines, in the Autonomous Community of Valencia, in Spain....

     (FGV) operates several metre gauge
    Metre gauge
    Metre gauge refers to narrow gauge railways and tramways with a track gauge of . In some African, American and Asian countries it is the main gauge. In Europe it has been used for local railways in France, Germany, and Belgium, most of which were closed down in mid 20th century. Only in Switzerland...

     lines in Valencia.
  • FGC
    Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya
    Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya , or FGC, is a railway company which operates several unconnected lines in Catalonia, Spain....

     (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya, "Catalan Government Railways") operates several unconnected lines in Catalonia
    Catalonia
    Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

    . It operates 140 km (87 mi) of narrow gauge, 42 km (26.1 mi) of standard gauge
    Standard gauge
    The standard gauge is a widely-used track gauge . Approximately 60% of the world's existing railway lines are built to this gauge...

    , and 89 km (55.3 mi) of Iberian gauge
    Iberian gauge
    Iberian gauge is the name given to the track gauge most extensively used by the railways of Spain and Portugal: namely ....

     routes, two metre gauge
    Metre gauge
    Metre gauge refers to narrow gauge railways and tramways with a track gauge of . In some African, American and Asian countries it is the main gauge. In Europe it has been used for local railways in France, Germany, and Belgium, most of which were closed down in mid 20th century. Only in Switzerland...

     rack railway
    Rack railway
    A rack-and-pinion railway is a railway with a toothed rack rail, usually between the running rails. The trains are fitted with one or more cog wheels or pinions that mesh with this rack rail...

    s and four funicular railways
    Funicular
    A funicular, also known as an inclined plane or cliff railway, is a cable railway in which a cable attached to a pair of tram-like vehicles on rails moves them up and down a steep slope; the ascending and descending vehicles counterbalance each other.-Operation:The basic principle of funicular...

    .
  • Acciona Rail Services, a subsidiary of Acciona
    Acciona
    Acciona, S.A., is a Spanish conglomerate group dedicated to civil engineering, construction and infrastructure.The company was founded in 1997 through the merger of Entrecanales y Tavora and Cubiertas y MZOV. The company's headquarters is in Alcobendas, Community of Madrid, Spain. The company's U.S...

    , operates a coal cargo line between Asturias
    Asturias
    The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain, coextensive with the former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages...

     and the province of León.
  • COMSA Rail Transport
    COMSA Rail Transport
    COMSA Rail Transport is a subsidiary of the COMSA EMTE Group, was created in 2002 by Grupo COMSA to provide comprehensive logistics services, rail freight and passenger.-History:...

    , a subsidiary of COMSA
    COMSA
    Grupo COMSA is a Spanish construction and infrastructure company whose main business historically has been railway infrastructure work. Later the business expanded into more general construction and infrastructure work....

    , operates a cargo line from the Port of Gijón
    Gijón
    Gijón , officially Gijón / Xixón, is a coastal industrial city and a municipality in the autonomous community of Asturias in Spain. Early mediaeval texts mention it as "Gigia". It was an important regional Roman city, although the area has been settled since earliest history...

     to Valladolid
    Valladolid
    Valladolid is a historic city and municipality in north-central Spain, situated at the confluence of the Pisuerga and Esgueva rivers, and located within three wine-making regions: Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Cigales...

    .
  • Continental Rail is dedicated to bringing materials into the gorges
    Gorges
    Gorges, the plural of the French word for "throat", usually refers to a canyon.Gorges is the name or part of the name of several communes in France:* Gorges, in the Loire-Atlantique département* Gorges, in the Manche département...

     of the high-speed lines
    High-speed rail
    High-speed rail is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic. Specific definitions by the European Union include for upgraded track and or faster for new track, whilst in the United States, the U.S...

     in progress
    Progress
    -History:*Progress , the idea that the world can become increasingly better in terms of science, technology, modernization, liberty, democracy, quality of life, etc....

    .

Metro/light rail systems

  • Alicante
    Alicante
    Alicante or Alacant is a city in Spain, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 334,418, estimated , ranking as the second-largest...

     (Alicante Tram
    Alicante Tram
    The Alicante Metropolitan TRAM operates in the Spanish city of Alicante and its surrounding area and, like other narrow gauge railways in the Valencian Community, is run by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana...

    )
  • Barcelona
    Barcelona
    Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

     (Barcelona Metro
    Barcelona Metro
    The Barcelona Metro , part of the public transportation system of Barcelona, Catalonia, is an extensive network of electrified railways that run underground in central Barcelona and above ground into the city's suburbs. Since July 31, 2010, Barcelona Metro system consists of 11 lines with 165...

    /Barcelona Tram)
  • Bilbao
    Bilbao
    Bilbao ) is a Spanish municipality, capital of the province of Biscay, in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. With a population of 353,187 , it is the largest city of its autonomous community and the tenth largest in Spain...

     (Bilbao Metro/Bilbao Tram)
  • Granada
    Granada
    Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

     (Granada Tram) under construction
  • Jaén
    Jaén, Spain
    Jaén is a city in south-central Spain, the name is derived from the Arabic word Jayyan, . It is the capital of the province of Jaén. It is located in the autonomous community of Andalusia....

     under construction September 2010
  • Madrid
    Madrid
    Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

     (Madrid Metro
    Madrid Metro
    The Madrid Metro is a metro system serving the city of Madrid, capital of Spain. The system is the sixth longest metro in the world though Madrid is approximately the fiftieth most populous metropolitan area in the world...

    )
  • Palma de Mallorca
    Majorca rail network
    The Majorca rail network on the Spanish Island of Majorca has three lines to four destinations from the Estació Intermodal/Plaça d'Espanya station in Palma.- TIB :...

  • Malaga
    Málaga
    Málaga is a city and a municipality in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. With a population of 568,507 in 2010, it is the second most populous city of Andalusia and the sixth largest in Spain. This is the southernmost large city in Europe...

     (Malaga Metro) under construction
  • Murcia
    Murcia
    -History:It is widely believed that Murcia's name is derived from the Latin words of Myrtea or Murtea, meaning land of Myrtle , although it may also be a derivation of the word Murtia, which would mean Murtius Village...

     (Murcia's Tram) under construction
  • Parla
    Parla
    Parla is a municipality of the Madrid Metropolitan Area, Spain. It is located in the southern part of the autonomous community, approximately 20 km from the capital, Madrid. , it has a population of 120,182.- History :- Origins :...

     (Parla Tram or VíaParla)
  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife
    Santa Cruz de Tenerife
    Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital , second-most populous city of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the 21st largest city in Spain, with a population of 222,417 in 2009...

     (Metro Tenerife)
  • Seville
    Seville
    Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

     (Seville Metro
    Seville metro
    The Seville metro is a light metro network serving the city of Seville, Spain and its metropolitan area. The system is totally independent of any other rail or street traffic. All stations were built with platform screen doors....

    ) under construction
  • Valencia
    Valencia (city in Spain)
    Valencia or València is the capital and most populous city of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain, with a population of 809,267 in 2010. It is the 15th-most populous municipality in the European Union...

     (Valencia Metro)
  • Vélez-Málaga under construction due to open September 2006
  • Vitoria-Gasteiz
    Vitoria-Gasteiz
    Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital city of the province of Álava and of the autonomous community of the Basque Country in northern Spain with a population of 235,661 people. It is the second largest Basque city...

     (Vitoria-Gasteiz tram)

High speed Standard Gauge

  • Córdoba–Málaga high-speed rail line
  • Madrid–Barcelona high-speed rail line
  • Madrid–Sevilla high-speed rail line
  • Madrid–Valladolid high-speed rail line
    Madrid–Valladolid high-speed rail line
    The Madrid–Valladolid high-speed rail line opened for commercial service on 23 December 2007 and is the first instalment of a high-speed rail corridor in the north and northwest of Spain...

  • Madrid-Valencia high-speed rail line

Rail links with adjacent countries

Andorra
Transport in Andorra
Andorra is a landlocked country in Europe, whose transport infrastructure is largely road-based.-Railways:Andorra has no railways, although the line connecting Latour-de-Carol and Toulouse, which in turn connects to France's TGVs at Toulouse, runs within of the Andorran border...

 - no rail system in Andorra France
Rail transport in France
Rail transport in France is mostly operated by SNCF, the French national railway company. France has the second largest European railway network, with a total of 29,901 kilometers of railway...

 - yes - break-of-gauge
Break-of-gauge
With railways, a break-of-gauge occurs where a line of one gauge meets a line of a different gauge. Trains and rolling stock cannot run through without some form of conversion between gauges, and freight and passengers must otherwise be transloaded...

 / (new high-speed lines will link without any break-of-gauge) Portugal
Rail transport in Portugal
Several companies provide rail transport in Portugal.* Comboios de Portugal* Fertagus* Lisbon Metro* Porto Metro* Metro Transportes do Sul‎ Portugal is a member of the International Union of Railways...

 - yes - same gauge Gibraltar
Transport in Gibraltar
Gibraltar has a limited public transport system, due to the small size of the territory and the impact of the constitutional dispute with Spain.-Private transport:...

 - no extant rail system in Gibraltar Morocco
Rail transport in Morocco
Rail transport in Morocco is operated by the ONCF. It is the continent's second most developed rail transport system, after South Africa's.-Main connections:...

 - no - proposed undersea tunnel
Strait of Gibraltar crossing
A Strait of Gibraltar crossing is a hypothetical bridge or tunnel spanning the Strait of Gibraltar that would connect Europe to Africa.The Spanish and Moroccan governments appointed a a to investigate the feasibility of linking the two continents...

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