Page 9 - Vía Libre Special - 25 Years of Spanish High Speed Rail
P. 9

               One of the platforms of Puerta de Atocha station
               where you can see a Series 100 AVE composition in
                          the original AVE livery.

                 The passengers

                  The initial forecast for 1992 called for a
            million and a half passengers, rising to 3,675,000          Power head of a Series 100 AVE
            in 1993. Despite the initial scepticism surrounding        at Ciudad Real station (April 1992).
            high speed rail travel in Spain, these forecasts were
            comfortably beaten.
                  one month before the line’s inauguration,
            160,000 seat bookings had been taken for the six
            months that the Seville Expo was to last. Receipts
            from advance sales up to the date of the first
            commercial service averaged between eleven and
            twelve million pesetas a day. Prices  ranged from
            6,000 to 16,500 pesetas for end-to-end journeys.
                  The aim of onboard service was to compete
            with air travel. hospitality was provided (included
            in the price of the ticket depending on which class
            was chosen), along with a cafeteria car, video
            service plus four individual music channels, daily
            papers and magazines, family areas with tables
            and games for kids, phone booths, and seats and
            toilet facilities adapted for people in wheelchairs.
            All these services may seem commonplace today
            but back then they were major innovations which
            had never previously been offered as an integral
            part of a rail service.
                  operation began with six services a day
            in each direction which were soon to prove
            insufficient. The first trains left from each end of
            the line at 7.00 h and the last arrived at Sevilla
            Santa Justa at 22.55 h and at Madrid-Atocha at       At-seat dining service in a passenger carriage of a
            23.57 h.                                               Series 100 AVE composition (October 1994).
                  The Spanish railway system was able to
            meet the tough challenge it had set itself with the   Madrid and  Seville  was  completed.  The  first  in
            punctuality that today characterizes its high speed   a long and brilliant chapter of Spanish railway
            services; one day after the official inauguration   history, one which changed rail travel for ever       years of Spanish high speed rail
            on April 20, 1992, coinciding with the opening of   and has significantly contributed to the country’s
            Expo, the first commercial AVE journey between    development.

                                                                   Vía Libre • Special 25th Anniversary of the AVE Edition  9
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