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Plane to Atocha to High Speed!

neverlost4good

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April 2015
My plane is scheduled to land at 7:30 a.m. I am carrying my pack (no checked luggage). I have purchased my high speed train ticket to Pamplona that leaves at 10:30 a.m. I have that free commuter ticket attached to my high speed ticket. Here's the plan:

I'm sitting near the front of the plane. Take that mile long walk down to customs (or is it immigration?). Head out the door of T1 and catch the airport shuttle to T4. Follow signs to Renfe. Scan my ticket (gives me free passage on airport train). 30 min to Atocha. Hope that the train dumps me off near the high speed terminals! Find my train...breathe.

I go over this in my mind nightly. Has anyone else done this with 3 hours between landing with 30 min before train departs? I'll report back afterward. ;-) I wish there was a video out on this.
 
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In three hours between arrival and my train to the Camino I’ve had time to stop off in Madrid at the sporting goods store to buy walking poles and bought food for the train several times. I think it helps I’ve done this before so it’s second nature now. My flights have been on time or at most just a few minutes late so I feel you’ll be fine if your plane is on time.
There is also AirPort Express bus #203 from Terminal one to Atocha for 5 euros that leaves every 15 minutes and takes about 30 minutes to Atocha.
I always take the subway into town, do my shopping and then subway to the train station.
 
The Cercanias trains come in to a separate area at Atocha, but it isn't far to get to the other city- to- city tracks. You don't have to be waiting for the train 30 minutes ahead. Sometimes they don't even post the tracks that early..

In Atocha Station there are a set of tracks upstairs and also a set downstairs. When you go to the security checkpoint at the train station someone will look at your ticket and tell you if you are supposed to be on the upper or lower level to catch your train to Pamplona. I think we were on the lower level last summer. We were not on a high speed train, but we took the 7:30 am train.

There's very little seating to wait inside security so mostly people are just standing where they can see the monitors.

What is the plan in Pamplona? Will you stay the night or take a cab right away to SJPDP or Roncesvalles or are you starting in Pamplona?

Edit: Train station at T4 is on the lowest level. You are looking for the Cercanias tracks, not the Metro.
 
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The Cercanias trains come in to a separate area at Atocha, but it isn't far to get to the other city- to- city tracks. You don't have to be waiting for the train 30 minutes ahead. Sometimes they don't even post the tracks that early..

In Atocha Station there are a set of tracks upstairs and also a set downstairs. When you go to the security checkpoint at the train station someone will look at your ticket and tell you if you are supposed to be on the upper or lower level to catch your train to Pamplona. I think we were on the lower level last summer. We were not on a high speed train, but we took the 7:30 am train.

There's very little seating to wait inside security so mostly people are just standing where they can see the monitors.

What is the plan in Pamplona? Will you stay the night or take a cab right away to SJPDP or Roncesvalles or are you starting in Pamplona?

Edit: Train station at T4 is on the lowest level. You are looking for the Cercanias tracks, not the Metro.
I'm walking the route in Sept. , flying to Madrid and train to Pamplona. . I have checked Rome to Rio for transportation to SJPP and taxi/private transport looks to run about $300.00. Is there a less expensive ride strategy?
 
I'm walking the route in Sept. , flying to Madrid and train to Pamplona. . I have checked Rome to Rio for transportation to SJPP and taxi/private transport looks to run about $300.00. Is there a less expensive ride strategy?
If you arrive before noon there is a bus once a day in the summer. Or join forces with a couple of other pilgrims you will meet on the train and share a taxi.

Edit: the 7:30 train will get there in time for the bus. Or just start your Camino from Pamplona as many do.
 
The Cercanias trains come in to a separate area at Atocha, but it isn't far to get to the other city- to- city tracks. You don't have to be waiting for the train 30 minutes ahead. Sometimes they don't even post the tracks that early..

In Atocha Station there are a set of tracks upstairs and also a set downstairs. When you go to the security checkpoint at the train station someone will look at your ticket and tell you if you are supposed to be on the upper or lower level to catch your train to Pamplona. I think we were on the lower level last summer. We were not on a high speed train, but we took the 7:30 am train.

There's very little seating to wait inside security so mostly people are just standing where they can see the monitors.

What is the plan in Pamplona? Will you stay the night or take a cab right away to SJPDP or Roncesvalles or are you starting in Pamplona?

Edit: Train station at T4 is on the lowest level. You are looking for the Cercanias tracks, not the Metro.
Perfecto! This is just what I needed to know: the location of the trains, thank you! As I have walked the Pyrenees before, I'm starting this Camino from Pamplona the following morning, walking only 16kms. Thanks for your help! ;-)
 
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I’ve never actually managed to figure out how to use the free Cercanias journey before or after a long distance train ride. Am I over-thinking the problem? Do you just scan your train ticket at the Cercanias barrier?
 
I’ve never actually managed to figure out how to use the free Cercanias journey before or after a long distance train ride. Am I over-thinking the problem? Do you just scan your train ticket at the Cercanias barrier?
According to a video (which was very helpful), when you purchase a high speed train, your QR code will give you access to the Cercanias train. There should be one turn style (sp?) that has a large QR sticker on it, that will read your free ticket. Video:
 
Tickets themselves have a little QR code up in the corner or you can do it from your phone. Only a few of the Cercarias gates at each station have a scanner in Madrid so sometimes there is a line. You have to look for the one with a scanner. The others just have the slot to insert your ticket.

In January we had to get 12 of us through the single scanner at the station when we returned to Madrid from Santiago and it took some of the students more than one try to scan so it was a bit of a traffic jam at that one scanning gate.
 
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I'm walking the route in Sept. , flying to Madrid and train to Pamplona. . I have checked Rome to Rio for transportation to SJPP and taxi/private transport looks to run about $300.00. Is there a less expensive ride strategy?
I bought my bus ticket from Pamplona to SJPP before I arrived in Spain through Trainline. Because there is only one bus at noon it could sell out, I didn't want to take the chance plus the bus ticket is cheap.
 
Sometimes they will add buses if the line is popular. Not sure about this particular route though. In 2022 we went to San Sebastian from Pamplona during San Fermin and there were 6 buses going to San Sebastian at the same time instead of just one.
 

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