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March 15, 2017

AVE Class 103


A very well made video by YouTube user Mikhail@Novgorod showing various types equipment on the Córdoba to Málaga High-Speed Line

I have already written about some of the Siemens Velaro family of high-speed trains in earlier posts, but I wanted to dedicate this one to the Velaro E (for España), or more commonly known as the AVE (Alta Velocidad Española or Spanish High Speed) Class 103.


A Class 103 towards Barcelona on the outskirts of Madrid

On the outside, the Velaro E looks almost identical to the ICE 3, which is a product jointly developed by a number of companies in Germany. However, due to licensing issues, Siemens re-developed components on the ICE 3 it did not make, thus completing the Velaro platform of high-speed trains. The Velaro E also received an upgrade in the traction department, in order to cope with the demand for higher acceleration and maximum speed by Renfe (the Spanish national railway company). As a result, the AVE Class 103 is authorized for service at 350 km/h (217 mph), making it one of the fastest trains in the world (however, the current top speed in revenue service in Spain is capped at 310 km/h or 193 mph).

Velaro E bogie.jpg
De bigbug21 - Trabajo propio, CC BY-SA 3.0, Enlace

Renfe currently has a fleet of 26 sets of the Velaro E.

March 8, 2017

Renfe Class 446 and 447



I've had the fortune to go on yet another getaway to the not-so-distant country of Spain, where conventional lines use the Iberian gauge of 5' 5-21/32''. Although it was devoid of any long-distance train trips, I still had the pleasure of experiencing the suburban Cercanías service in Madrid.

Hugh llewelyn 180 (5553135644).jpg
The Class 446, De Hugh Llewelyn - 180 Uploaded by Oxyman, CC BY-SA 2.0, Enlace

The Renfe Series 446 and 447 make up a portion the current Cercanías fleet. Since they look almost identical from the outside, I'm lumping them together in this post. In reality, though, the two series differ considerably mechanically.
In a nutshell, the Series 447 is lighter and faster. They have more modern electric motors that help them accelerate more rapidly (more details on Class 446 here and Class 447 here).

The two series are compatible in multiple-unit, if necessary, and up to 4 sets can be coupled together at a time.