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Photo supplied by Pool Moncloa/Fernando Calvo

Tourists visiting Murcia can now make a quick and convenient side-trip to Madrid following the official inauguration of the Costa Blanca region’s high-speed AVE train service.

Making the inaugural journey between Chamartín-Clara Campoamor train station in Madrid and Murcia del Carmen were prime minister Pedro Sánchez and King Felipe VI, accompanied by the national minister for transport, mobility and urban agenda Raquel Sánchez, the regional presidents of Murcia (Fernando López Miras) and Valencia (Ximo Puig), and the presidents of infrastructure administrator Adif (María Luisa Domínguez) and train operator Renfe (Isaías Táboas).

Photo supplied by Murcia Regional Government

The trip included a stop at Elche’s Elx Alta Velocitat train station, which – together with Orihuela (also in the neighbouring Alicante province and Valencia region) – was connected to Madrid by the AVE service in January 2021. 

Involving an investment of more than €410 million, including the most advanced signalling technology, the new 16-kilometre Beniel-Murcia section reduces the rail travel time between Murcia and Madrid to two hours and 45 minutes, with eight daily journeys scheduled.

Speaking after the official delegation’s arrival, Sánchez said, “Today, on a historic day for Murcia, I want to make a call for the value and meaning of useful politics, politics that sews territories together with the invisible thread of collective progress, politics that makes us look to the future with hope, that is built on respect, agreement and understanding.” 

He said the inauguration also strengthened the national government’s plans to expand the network to the whole of Spain, as part of the country’s commitment to sustainable mobility and territorial cohesion through high-speed rail. “Spain is moving forward with brand-new infrastructures that generate new investments and opportunities, and all its territories are moving forward, guaranteeing equal opportunities for all our citizens, wherever they live.”

In addition, he said, the inauguration represented a new boost for the “Mediterranean Corridor”, which is progressively being deployed towards Cartagena and Almería. “I want to link the government’s desire for territorial structuring and cohesion with the strategic priority of the Mediterranean Corridor… with a record investment of just over €1.7 billion included in the 2023 general state budget for its ongoing development… This is an infrastructure that says a lot about the country we want to be.”

According to Sánchez, the opening of this latest connection, which completes the Monforte del Cid-Murcia line of the Mediterranean Corridor and was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), “consolidates Spain’s position as a global benchmark in major railway projects and reaffirms its leadership as the European country with the most extensive high-speed network. Currently covering more than 4,000 kilometres, over the last four and a half years the network has been extended by eight new railway connections and now incorporates 50 stations offering a high-speed service.

Sánchez also took the opportunity to stress the importance and success of such measures as free travel cards for commuter and medium-distance train users in demonstrating the government’s “firm commitment to the expansion of the high-speed railway as a key contribution to ecological transition through technological innovation”. 

He said the measure, which was introduced in September 2022 and has been extended to throughout 2023, had already benefited nearly 2.5 million passengers and had reduced emissions into the atmosphere by one million tonnes of CO2. “The free season ticket represents a paradigm shift in mobility and also protects the social majority in a context of uncertainty”. 

The extension of this ticket’s availability from 1 January 2023 covers regular users of the upgraded medium-distance Avant train service between Murcia and Alicante (now taking just 50 minutes).

Click here for information about local transport options at Corvera Airport Murcia.

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