Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Today I'm travelling to the town of Lleida, 1h from Barcelona by high speed train or 3h by conventional train.
 It's cold in the morning this time of the year here, but during the day it gets much warmer.
 It's not easy to navigate between different train types in Spain. AVE is pure highspeed for long distances using standard gauge railways, S-103 train here on the photo (rear). Alvia is also highspeed for long distances but they are using both standard and Iberian railways, which means lower speeds. Avant is the high speed for short distance, here on the photo it is S-114 train that I will take today.
Avant is using 4 different trains, S-104 is the most typical built by Alstom/CAF in 2003 (derived from Pendolino), S-114 is also built by Alstom/CAF but in 2009 (and derived from new Pendolino, aka ETR610 in Italy). There is also S-121 from CAF used on some lines in the north-west of Spain, and S-103 used on the line Barcelona-Figueres Vilafant.
 S-114 is as mentioned a derived version of Italian ETR 610 (also available in Switzerland and Poland). This version is non-tilting and capable of speed up to 250km/h. There are only 4 coaches in this train.
 I'm taking the train from Barcelona Sants. In the morning there are several long distance trains ready for departure, here is TGV Duplex for Paris and S-130 Alvia train for Vigo.

 It's clear that the main station in Barcelona is too small for the rush hour amount of trains, unfortunately the new Sagrera station seems to not going to open as planned 2019.
 Avant has only 2nd class and not bar service.
 In the train I took, I think there were about 10-15 passengers. The train has 236 seats.

 The map of important destinations in Spain and the current location of the train.
 The trip I'll will use entirely the high speed line Barcelona-Madrid until Lleida. There is one stop along the way in Tarragona.
 Passing over the conventional line.

 In some parts the high speed and conventional lines are just next to each other like here nearby Vilafranca del Penedès.
 Passing by Class 448 near L' Arboç station
 El Vendrell

 Roda de Berà
 Probably the closest to the sea part of the line since Barcelona.

 Not really 250km/h but very close
 Passing by historic railway line from Roda de Barà to Reus, opened in 1884 and closed in 1992.
 Arriving to Tarragona station
 The new high speed line station is located outside the town of Tarragona.

 The line turns now north west

 After warm and sunny the weather turns now to be cold and foggy.
 The flatlands near Lleida is famous for its foggy weather during the winter, there is even a tourist agency promoting the fog in Lleida to attract more tourists here.
 Lleida is the second largest city in Catalonia after Barcelona.

 Lleida station has both standard and Iberian gauge tracks. Avant train here is using terminus standard gauge track.

 Lleida is also terminus for the FGC line to La Pobla de Segur. The line was about to be closed in 1980, but now it is operated completely by Catalan railways FGC.
 Since 2016 there are two new Stadler GTW trains (FGC Class 331) operating on the line.
 Here promoting Port Aine ski resort

 There are five daily Avant services Barcelona-Lleida.

 S-130 train I saw earlier in Barcelona, now it has also arrived here.
 It is a Talgo 250 train, a high-speed dual-gauge, dual-voltage trainset consisting of 11 Talgo VII tilting coaches and two power cars, nicknamed patitos (ducks), due to the shape of the train nose.
 The trip from Barcelona to Vigo must be one of the longest trips in Spain, the travel time is 13h36min and train is passing through Zaragosa, Pamplona, Burgos, Leon among other places.

 Lleida Pirineus station
 La Seu Vella cathedral and Església de Sant Joan

 The cloister of La Seu Vella.
 Seu Vella is located on a hill and it is the symbol of the city.

 It's winter in Spain as well.
 Renfe Class 448 is used for Media Distancia and Regional Exprés services. This train is used for R13 line from Barcelona to Lleida as Regional Exprés taking 3h.
 Renfe Class 440 and 447
 Second FGC Class 331 train has arrived
 This version of Stadler GTW is built for Iberian gauge
 20min before departure I can enter the platform for my train back to Barcelona.
 It is Alvia service from Irun to Barcelona. The train is a Renfe Class S-120 manufactured by CAF/Alstom in 2004 and this dual-gauge train is capable of changing gauge without stopping at 30 km/h.
 My train stops at Camp de Tarragona
 My train is waiting for a passing train.
 4 tracks are using platforms while 4 others do not, they are intended for high speed trains without stopping.
 Here is one S-103 Velaro E passing by.

 Approaching Barcelona

 Inside the 1st class coach of S-120


 Turkish TCDD HT65000 train is based on S-120
 I'm back in Barcelona, and so does the sun and warmth.
 Columbus Monument
 Another kind of Columbus

Estació de França from 1929 was once the major station in Barcelona
 Located near the sea
 Today there are no trains from here to France

 Renfe Class 451 (to the left) and Renfe Class 252 locomotive (to the right)
 Class 252 locomotive are derived from DB Class 120 and part of the Eurosprinter family of Siemens.
 There are two long distance trains from Estacio de Franca, one of them is Talgo service to Seville.
 The other one is Euromed to Alicante operated with S130 trains.

 I'm leaving the station with Rodalies train.

 The line has some parts outside with views of famous Barcelona buildings
 Changing trains at Passeig de Gracia. The original station from 1902 was not underground and lines were linked directly with the lines to Girona and Tarragona. In 1950s it was decided to build a new underground station and cover all the tracks along Aragó street.
 S130 train to Alicante
 Renfe Class 448
 Renfe Class 449
 I'm taking Rodalies line R1 to Mataró, the line was opened in 1848 as the first railway to be built in the Iberian Peninsula.
 It's a beautiful line along the coast.

 Mataro station.
 Renfe Class 447

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