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High-speed rail line Madrid-Valladolid opens this weekend

the official opening is on Saturday and the first trains on Sunday. Will more than halve the journey time to 55 mins, Segovia being now 35 mins from Madrid as opposed to >2 hours before. One report I read pointed out this is less than many madrilenos spend commuting every day! The new service will cut journey times further north too, by 90 mins for cities like Santander and Bilbao, though less to Galicia, as Galician lines are not electrified so they have to faff about changing the loco. Times to Galicia will however lessen when a new interchange at Olmedo opens next spring.

This was a major engineering project, with the tunnel through the Guadarrama now the world's 4th longest at 28.3km.

The high-speed lines to Barcelona and Malaga also open this weekend.

I have mixed feelings about this. Everyone's obsessed with speed these days, but I rather liked the old scenic route via El Escorial and Avila.

[Note for British lovers of trivia: the wife of the new Lib Dem leader comes from Olmedo.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7150476.stm
Not many people know that.]
 
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