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Madrid to Ponferrada

#1
How to get from Madrid to Ponferrada? Where can I find out about the train from Santiago to Madrid in order to book before going?

Thanks very much
 

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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#3
On the RENFE (national rail service) there are two daily trains from Madrid to Ponferrada, one leaving in the afternoon, arriving @10:30 at night,
the other leaving @ 10:30pm arriving in Ponferrada @ 3:30 a.m.

There are more buses than trains with different prices for different times - http://www.alsa.es

07:30 11:45 39,00€ L M X J V S

09:30 14:00 24,14€ L M X J V S D

10:30 15:45 24,14€ L M X J V S D

15:30 20:15 24,14€ L M X J V S D
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#5
Yes - here are the details from Santiago to Madrid.

00852 TRENHOTEL 22:35 07:45 Turista 43.30
Precios CamasTurista: 67.40
Pref. Indiv.:132.00
Pref. Doble.:87.60
GranClIndiv.:176.30
GranClDoble.:120.60

I just did a quick search on Iberia (using 12th May as a thumb-suck date) and the price to fly Santiago to Madrid is 55 € the whole week. Might be better to fly?
 

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#6
I know no one really asked for an opinion on the train vs. plane option, but I just thought I'd throw in my two cents. I have done both from Santiago at the end of the Camino, and I think that even though the train is much slower and maybe even more expensive, there are positives. On my very first camino, we just thought that the train trip itself would help ease us out of the Camino and back into the "real world." I think others have mentioned that, too, as an advantage of long, slow return trips. The train doesn't take you back through camino territory, but it does traverse the meseta of Castilla and you will definitely recognize the scenery. We had a fairly decent meal on the train and it was just kind of relaxing, then on arrival in Madrid we went to a hotel for a couple of days before the actual trip home.

The plane is easy and quick and I've done that as well. I have even flown from Santiago to Madrid and transferred directly to the flight to the US, but that is really a pretty abrupt transition. If time and money were limitless, I'd take the slow route myself and add a couple of days in Madrid at the end.
 
#7
Hi Peregrina

I think the train journey is also the "greener" way compared to air travel, also a way of adjusting to the fact that its back to reality soon... :shock:
 

lauralynn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2016
#8
I also am wanting to book train trips before my camino trip from Madrid to Ponferada. Can I land at Madrid airport at 10:20 am and expect to catch the 11:05 renfe train to Ponferada? Or is that timing too tight?
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#9
Theoretically possible but pretty unlikely I think. The train to Chamartin only takes 11 minutes but can you make it through arrivals and to the station in Terminal 4, and then have the good luck to find a train just ready to leave? Probably not.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#10
I also am wanting to book train trips before my camino trip from Madrid to Ponferada. Can I land at Madrid airport at 10:20 am and expect to catch the 11:05 renfe train to Ponferada? Or is that timing too tight?
The timing is too tight. Zero probability.

I would suggest that you allow at least one hour to deplane, claim baggage, and clear customs.

I'd add slush to the time appreciation because planes rarely arrive on time.

Cercanias is fastest at about 15 minutes to Chamartin but it runs every half hour and only from T4.

Metro runs every 6 - 10 minutes and leaves from both terminal buildings. It takes about an hour with transfers to Chamartin.

Don't forget to add time for buying a train ticket.

So minimum two hours. Yeah, you might beat that timing ... but if you don't you lose your ticket if you bought it in advance.

One other thing ... I can't find a 1105 departure Madrid to Ponferrada. When are you traveling and where are you getting your information?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

lauralynn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2016
#11
The timing is too tight. Zero probability.

I would suggest that you allow at least one hour to deplane, claim baggage, and clear customs.

I'd add slush to the time appreciation because planes rarely arrive on time.

Cercanias is fastest at about 15 minutes to Chamartin but it runs every half hour and only from T4.

Metro runs every 6 - 10 minutes and leaves from both terminal buildings. It takes about an hour with transfers to Chamartin.

Don't forget to add time for buying a train ticket.

So minimum two hours. Yeah, you might beat that timing ... but if you don't you lose your ticket if you bought it in advance.

One other thing ... I can't find a 1105 departure Madrid to Ponferrada. When are you traveling and where are you getting your information?
 

lauralynn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2016
#12
Thank you so much for the info. guess I need another way - I found the scheduled renfe train leaving 11:05 from Madrid at Go Euro website. Also included 9:30, 14:40, 17:30 departures from Madrid to Ponferrada. Basically I am trying to figure how to get from Madrid to Ponferrada ASAP Sunday May 22 after my flight lands at 10:20? Also return from Santiago to Madrid with a flight that departs June 1 at 12:45 pm. Maybe I had better fly from Santiago to Madrid if I don't want to leave at 5am! Any advice :) L
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#13
Thank you so much for the info. guess I need another way - I found the scheduled renfe train leaving 11:05 from Madrid at Go Euro website. Also included 9:30, 14:40, 17:30 departures from Madrid to Ponferrada. Basically I am trying to figure how to get from Madrid to Ponferrada ASAP Sunday May 22 after my flight lands at 10:20? Also return from Santiago to Madrid with a flight that departs June 1 at 12:45 pm. Maybe I had better fly from Santiago to Madrid if I don't want to leave at 5am! Any advice :) L
The Renfe site isn't listing any trains before 1440.

Planning the 1440 is probably a good idea. That gives you 4:20 to get from plane landing to train at Chamartin. That may seem a lot but I have had the miserable experience of flights departing 3 and more hours late ... so maybe not. There are lots of food vendors at Chamartin so 'lunch' is a way to use up time.

Your only other alternative is ALSA bus. And the earliest you can catch is 1430 from Estacion Sur ... so no advantage there.

As for the return ... most airlines recommend that you are at the airport 3 hours in advance ... and few people would recommend less than 2.

The only way to reliably meet that 1045 timing is to be in Madrid the day before. Last train leaves Santiago 1700 31 May 2016.

The 0515 train arrives at Chamartin 1023. It can take up to an hour to take Cercanias to T4 and transfer to T1T2T3 or take the Metro to either of T4 or T1T2T3. The trains run like clockwork but ... sometimes they are late. This is a reasonable plan.

I would not recommend taking a flight from Santiago to Madrid same day to catch another flight. In my experience flying with 3 discount carriers out of several ports the discount airlines have not ever departed within a reasonable time of published schedule ... you can't rely on them if you have otherwise tight timings.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
#14
Hi, lauralynn,
Welcome to the forum! Whariwharangi is our travel guru, and we pay attention when he talks. ;) I agree with him that the earlier connection to the train for Ponferrada was way too tight. There is a great Cercanias train (this is the commuter line) between the airport and Chamartin train station, and it's only 12 minutes. But what may complicate things is that the train only runs twice an hour, once near the hour and once near the half hour. In addition, the train only has a stop in T4, the terminal used by Iberia and its partners (American, BA, etc). If you arrive on an airline that is not in the One World Alliance, you will arrive in T1, 2, or 3 and then have to get the intra-airport bus over to T4 to take the Cercanias to Chamartin.

The metro stops at both T1-3 and T4, but it is much longer and more complicated, involving changes. I love the Madrid metro but would go to great lengths to avoid riding it to the airport. Cercanias is just so much better.

As far as your return trip, if by any chance you haven't yet booked your ticket, you should check into adding on the Santiago-Madrid leg to your round trip international ticket. If it's booked as part of your ticket, you don't have to worry about schedules and missing connections. If you buy a separate ticket, though, and you miss your connection, that's your problem. And the airlines have become increasingly unsympathetic to people who book a leg on a cheapo airline and then arrive late for their international flight home. I saw someone last year who missed her American flight to Dallas, because of a late arrival on one of the discount airlines. Not only did she lose her ticket, she had to buy a new one way last minute ticket and you can bet she was not happy about that! Anyway, that's a long way of saying you should check out the multi-city option, I always fly Santiago to Madrid on an early flight to make my connection home to the US, and I have found that adding the flight adds very little to the cost. But like Whari says, I would never risk making the connection with two separate tickets.

If you already have your ticket, you are pretty much stuck with coming in the night before. Not a bad option, because Madrid is a lovely city and is quite lively at night! Buen camino, Laurie
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#15
The advice from @whariwharangi is spot-on. All I would add is that there is very little difference in journey time between the train and bus. The choice is really about cost and your own preference. Fares vary depending on demand and when reservations are made. Bus will probably be cheaper but I like trains myself. Both bookable online:
renfe.com
alsa.es
 
C

Castilian

Guest
#16
Can I land at Madrid airport at 10:20 am and expect to catch the 11:05 renfe train to Ponferada? Or is that timing too tight?
You would have less than 10 minutes to go to the train station, get your Cercanías ticket and take your Cercanías train... Not an option. By taxi, it's 30 minutes...

I can't find a 1105 departure Madrid to Ponferrada.
Maybe the RENFE web doesn't show it or maybe you looked at one of the few days it doesn't run. It's the 11:05 a.m. train to León plus an Intercity from León to Ponferrada (the one going from the Basque Country to Galicia). Plenty of time in León between trains.

I am trying to figure how to get from Madrid to Ponferrada ASAP Sunday May 22 after my flight lands at 10:20?
Look for the train option departing at 14:40. BTW, it isn't direct, you have to change trains in León.
If you have a drivers' license valid in Spain, you may consider to rent-a-car.

Also return from Santiago to Madrid with a flight that departs June 1 at 12:45 pm. Maybe I had better fly from Santiago to Madrid if I don't want to leave at 5am!
I wouldn't suggest to fly unless you get a single ticket for all the route; i.e.: I wouldn't suggest to fly if you make a separate booking for your flight from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid.

If you want to avoid the early train departure from Santiago de Compostela, you could consider the overnight train out of A Coruña or Ourense (both of them easy to reach from Santiago de Compostela by public transport) but it doesn't run on Saturdays.
 

lauralynn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2016
#17
Hi, lauralynn,
Welcome to the forum! Whariwharangi is our travel guru, and we pay attention when he talks. ;) I agree with him that the earlier connection to the train for Ponferrada was way too tight. There is a great Cercanias train (this is the commuter line) between the airport and Chamartin train station, and it's only 12 minutes. But what may complicate things is that the train only runs twice an hour, once near the hour and once near the half hour. In addition, the train only has a stop in T4, the terminal used by Iberia and its partners (American, BA, etc). If you arrive on an airline that is not in the One World Alliance, you will arrive in T1, 2, or 3 and then have to get the intra-airport bus over to T4 to take the Cercanias to Chamartin.

The metro stops at both T1-3 and T4, but it is much longer and more complicated, involving changes. I love the Madrid metro but would go to great lengths to avoid riding it to the airport. Cercanias is just so much better.

As far as your return trip, if by any chance you haven't yet booked your ticket, you should check into adding on the Santiago-Madrid leg to your round trip international ticket. If it's booked as part of your ticket, you don't have to worry about schedules and missing connections. If you buy a separate ticket, though, and you miss your connection, that's your problem. And the airlines have become increasingly unsympathetic to people who book a leg on a cheapo airline and then arrive late for their international flight home. I saw someone last year who missed her American flight to Dallas, because of a late arrival on one of the discount airlines. Not only did she lose her ticket, she had to buy a new one way last minute ticket and you can bet she was not happy about that! Anyway, that's a long way of saying you should check out the multi-city option, I always fly Santiago to Madrid on an early flight to make my connection home to the US, and I have found that adding the flight adds very little to the cost. But like Whari says, I would never risk making the connection with two separate tickets.

If you already have your ticket, you are pretty much stuck with coming in the night before. Not a bad option, because Madrid is a lovely city and is quite lively at night! Buen camino, Laurie
 

lauralynn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2016
#18
Thanks for all your excellent advice! Thanks to you I am planning on taking the Cercanias airport connecting train (from terminal T4 American which leaves every half hour) to Chamartin station.
Want to now purchase train tickets from (Chamartin station) Madrid to Ponferrada at 14:40 departure. Should I do this on the renfe website? Need to now or when I'm there?
Also considering my 12:45 flight out of Madrid to LAX on June 1. I want to spend max time in Santiago so I will need to fly from Santiago to Madrid that morning. My carrier is American operated by Iberia - I will check with American/Iberia on adding the Santiago to Madrid leg - splendid idea!

Any of you pros have additional comments on renfe website train ticket purchase and/or early flight out (Iberia or other) from Santiago to Madrid (T4 American) for 12:45 departure to US? Timing?
BTW I am taking my daughter on this pilgrimage for her 21st birthday - Yahoo! (leaving 4 kids at home with my hubby)
lauralynn
 
C

Castilian

Guest
#19
Want to now purchase train tickets from (Chamartin station) Madrid to Ponferrada at 14:40 departure. Should I do this on the renfe website? Need to now or when I'm there?
If you book now online on the web of RENFE you are likely to get a discounted fare. OTOH, if by whatever reason you miss your train, you'll lose (some) money (read the policy about changes and cancelations for the fare you book) but with your schedule missing your train shouldn't be a (big) concern.

Booking on the ground you'll have to pay full fare, you may find the train out of Madrid is already full and you'll have to queue at the sales desks (and queues at Chamartín sometimes are long).

Any of you pros have additional comments on renfe website train ticket purchase
The web of RENFE can be tricky. Take a look at www.seat61.com/Spain-trains.htm for info about how to buy RENFE tickets and how to use the RENFE web. That link will help you to book through the RENFE web or through a good alternative web if you are unable to book through the RENFE web.

Another tip: the RENFE web isn't good with options that involve a change of trains along the route. Therefore if the 14:40 option (that involve a change of trains in León) doesn't show on the booking/purchase area of the RENFE web, make a separate search (and booking) for each leg (i.e.: one for the leg from Madrid to León and a later one for the leg from León to Ponferrada).
 

lauralynn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2016
#20
Tried to add Santiago to Madrid plane ticket - too expensive to change; so I need to make a new additional reservation on a carrier out of Santiago.
Any comments on which airline to choose? Need to be in Madrid airport for a 12:45 flight to US June 1.
I will also try to book train tix on renfe website now thanks!
 
C

Castilian

Guest
#21
Any comments on which airline to choose?
You just have two choices (AFAIK):
  1. Iberia Express (www.iberiaexpress.com); a low cost branch of Iberia.
  2. Ryanair (www.ryanair.com); a low cost Irish airline.
Check their webs for info about schedules and fares. Read carefully their terms and conditions to know beforehand the real cost of your flight and to avoid unpleasant surprises. I would fly the day before to play it safe(r) just in case of delays or cancellations.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#22
Thanks for all your excellent advice! Thanks to you I am planning on taking the Cercanias airport connecting train (from terminal T4 American which leaves every half hour) to Chamartin station.
Want to now purchase train tickets from (Chamartin station) Madrid to Ponferrada at 14:40 departure. Should I do this on the renfe website? Need to now or when I'm there?
Also considering my 12:45 flight out of Madrid to LAX on June 1. I want to spend max time in Santiago so I will need to fly from Santiago to Madrid that morning. My carrier is American operated by Iberia - I will check with American/Iberia on adding the Santiago to Madrid leg - splendid idea!

Any of you pros have additional comments on renfe website train ticket purchase and/or early flight out (Iberia or other) from Santiago to Madrid (T4 American) for 12:45 departure to US? Timing?
BTW I am taking my daughter on this pilgrimage for her 21st birthday - Yahoo! (leaving 4 kids at home with my hubby)
lauralynn
The big problem for us NA customers is credit cards not being accepted. Renfe has international sales points. If you are USA try using Petrabax for tickets. Else try Paypal.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#23
Tried to add Santiago to Madrid plane ticket - too expensive to change; so I need to make a new additional reservation on a carrier out of Santiago.
Any comments on which airline to choose? Need to be in Madrid airport for a 12:45 flight to US June 1.
I will also try to book train tix on renfe website now thanks!
Aena Santiago Airport shows airlines and destinations.
http://www.aena.es/csee/Satellite/Aeropuerto-Santiago/es/

Remember to allow time in Madrid to deplane and transfer to your departure terminal. You should still plan on being at the departure terminal two hours in advance.
 

lauralynn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2016
#24
Greatful thanks - I am on it. Plan to purchase Renfe train tix 14:40 train Madrid to Ponferrada May 22.
Plan to purchase plane tix with Iberia 6:45 am Santiago to connect best with my 12:45 Iberia Madrid-US trip same day June 1 return.
Researched overnight train trips - not satisfied with timing and sleeping arrangements for me and my 21 yr. daughter.
Best to enjoy Santiago as long as possible :) lauralynn
 

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