Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New personal best

There have been high speed trains in Spain for a long time. As visitors to the Seville Expo in 1992, before we met, Maggie and I both went on the one that links Seville and Madrid. Until today that was the last time for either of us.

On December 19th this year the newest AVE or high speed line was opened between Madrid and Valencia with a spur off to Albacete. This now makes Spain the country with the second longest system of high speed rail links in the World, after China.

Albacete is only an hour and a half by road from Culebrón and at just 22€ for the round trip it sounded like a good way to pop into Cuenca for lunch. At one point the speed indicator inside our carriage showed us as doing 301 kph. As the take off speed for a Boeing 747 is 290 kph that must mean today I set a new personal land speed record. The journey only took us 30 minutes and though I can't find any detail about the rail distance between these two provincial capitals the road distance is 160 kms.

To be honest the train wasn't that spectacular inside; it looked like a train. From outside the locomotives are impressive though. Apparently they use the Talgo series 112 on the route. The loco has been nicknamed "the duck" though I have no idea why!

New stations have been built in both towns as the AVE runs on a different gauge to the majority of Spanish trains. The station in Albacete includes a small shopping centre and multi screen cinema. We ate miguelitos there, a cake speciality from the nearby town of Roda. I recommend them.

And the lunch in Cuenca was good too if a little hard on the wallet. I tried another local recipe called morteruelo which is based around hare, pheasant, chicken and pig's liver mashed up into a paste. Maggie played it safe with roast lamb.


jeremy said...

are you aware of lots of opposition from environmental groups to the AVE tracks ........

and us cyclists are being excluded bit by bit too ......... no more regional expresses in burgos, only the media distancia, which we're suppose to be limited to 3 bikes per train.

scran sounds good!

Chris Thompson and Maggie Brocken said...

Hi Jeremy: No I wasn't aware of any environmental concerns. Is it something apart from the fact that train tracks involve moving mountains, get in the way animal movements etc? Generally I thought environmentalists approved of trains as mass transit systems which are reasonably energy efficient and take up much less space than motorways and the like.

On the bikes the RENFE website it certainly looks like bikes are a bit unwelcome. It seems to be space related - no more goods wagons or guard's vans I suppose because that's not saleable space.

Rob Innis said...

You do understand the name 'patos' no?

Chris Thompson and Maggie Brocken said...

I wrote it in English Rob. I hear we Brits are famed for our sense of irony! Yours, Donald