A variety of different train services rush down the high speed line from Madrid to Sevilla:
When travelling between most cities by train there is only one logical option, though on other journeys there is a choice between different trains or alternative routes. If different options are available you can use the info to decide which is best for you.
2hr 21min - 2hr 48min
Until September 30th the journey time will be extended by around 25 mins due to maintenance work on the high speed line.
The work is also temporarily reducing the number of AVE/Alvia departures to:
Monday - Friday = 12 x trains per day
Saturday = 9 x trains
Sunday = 11 x trains
Plus a daily avlo service
ShowMeTheJourney earns a small commission on Trainline ticket sales. It can be a particularly good option for comparing high speed train operators in Spain, as it sells tickets for the AVE, iryo, Ouigo, avlo and Euromed trains.
Renfe is the national rail operator in Spain and it has recently simplified the range of tickets it sells for express and regional train journeys in Spain.
Which is convenient as there are big savings to be made if you book ahead online.
Final Destination: Seville ( the AVE and avlo trains); Cadiz or Huelva (the Alvia trains)
Most trains also call at: Cordoba
The train service between Madrid and Sevilla/Seville is split between
(1) AVE services, which comprise most departures
(2) Alvia trains, which travel on beyond to Sevilla to serve Cadiz or Huelva.
(3) low cost, more basic avlo services, which call at all of the stations on the high speed line.
The Alvia trains match the speed of the AVE trains; the differences in journey times between the faster and slightly slower trains is due to the number of station calls made by each departure on the journey between Madrid and Sevilla.
The trains will be travelling at more than 280 km/h for virtually the entire journey between the Madrid suburbs and the outskirts of Sevilla.
Taking the alternative avlo services
SMTJ has yet to travel by the alternative avlo services, this is the info page for these services on the renfe website.
They are scheduled to depart from Madrid Atocha daily at 17:50 and 21:02.
The core differences between avlo and AVE services, aside from avlo not conveying 1st/Preferente/Comfort class are:
Luggage allowance on AVE trains = Up to 3 pieces of hand luggage onto the train, provided that the sum of the three does not exceed 25 kg or 290 cm.
The maximum dimensions allowed are 85x55x35 cm
Though additional allowances cannot be purchased.
Luggage allowance on avlo trains = 1 piece of hand luggage (bag, rucksack, etc.) subject to the following size limitations: 36x27x25 cm and 1 suitcase, subject to the following size limitations: 55x35x25 cm.
1 piece of additional, larger-sized luggage, measuring a maximum of 85x60x35 cm (or no more than 180 cm in total) can be be paid for as an added allowance, but the price for doing ranges from €10 if added when booking to €30 at the station just prior to boarding.
The dimensions of the luggage will be measured at the station, so if your bag exceeds the free allowance size, you will then have to pay €30 to take it on board.
Another core difference is boarding time, SMTJ suggests being at Madrid Atocha least 20 mins before boarding an AVE train, because having once been towards the back of a long queue for the security check procedures, this scenario is best avoided.
However, for the avlo services, the specific recommendation from renfe is to be at the station a minimum of 30 minutes before departure.
Book early and save: Yes
Online bookings usually open: up to 6 months ahead of the travel date - depending on the time of year.
The online booking window can be shorter between late July and early October.
When looking up journeys (not travelling) between late July and early October, it's likely you won't be able to book for journeys beyond the second Sunday in December.
Both the Renfe (Spanish national railways) online booking service and Trainline sell tickets for journeys by the avlo and AVE trains.
On this route, the AVE prices are set per departure according to demand; hence the lack of price info below.
If you want to take an AVE train, it can pay off to be as flexible as possible regarding departure and arrival times, because for these trains on this route it’s not unusual for a few departures to be available at much cheaper price, regardless of how far ahead you will be booking.
The limited numbers of tickets released for sale at very cheapest prices also inevitably sell out, so if possible book more than a couple of months ahead and you’ll be more likely to find them available.
Though from the moment the tickets are placed on sale, some departures will be cheaper than others..
Prémium tickets are only available for journeys by the AVE trains.
Difference in core ticketing terms between AVE and avlo services.
avlo = children aged 13 and under travel for a flat rate of €5, maximum of 2 children per fare paying Adult.
AVE = children aged 5 -13 and under are entitled to a 40% discount.
If you want to place a child aged four and under in its own seat, they will also have a 40% discount on the ticket price, but if you'll be happy to travel with the child on their lap, then there is no charge.
Amending booked tickets:
avlo = pay an additional €8 when making the initial booking and you can then make one change to an alternative choice of departure.
AVE = only possible when booking the more expensive 'Elige' or Prémium tickets
Seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets for this journey by AVE and avlo services.
Rail Pass Users:
Rail pass users will need to pay reservation fees prior to boarding the AVE, though on this route, with its fairly frequent departures, you may as well book these reservations at the station when you arrive in Spain.
They are also not available on the Eurail/Interrail reservation service for journeys within Spain.
The only option, other than booking them at a station in Spain, is to pre-reserve seats by calling Renfe phone sales: +34 91 232 03 20.
Pre-reserving a seat is possible up to 24 hours before a train's departure. You will receive a PNR code which you must use to pick up and pay for your reservation at a local station ticket office, making sure to show your Interrail Pass. You must collect your reservation within 72 hours. After this time the pre-reservation will expire.
Please note that a pre-reservation is not the same as a reservation. It only holds a seat for you for 72 hours.
Rail passes can't be used on the avlo services.
from 2hr 21min
5 x trains per day
ShowMeTheJourney earns a small commission on Trainline ticket sales. It can be a particularly good option for: Comparing different train services; Booking international journeys with connections; Travelling between the UK to destinations beyond Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris - and for international travellers who don't reside in western Europe.
Final Destination: Seville
The policies around travel with bikes and dogs, as well as the the availability of on-board entertainment and the bar car are all very similar to what's available on the national rail operator, Renfe's AVE services.
The AVE trains in effect offer
Therefore the equivalents of the on-board ambiences on the iryo services are:
Though iryo will also offer a 'class' of service, Singular, in which travellers in the equivalent of 2nd class coaches with the 'Confort' seats can have access to an at seat catering menu.
However, the core differences between the iryo and AVE services are connected to the ticketing terms and conditions.
For example, when booking tickets to in the equivalent of 2nd/standard class:
The comparison between booking tickets in the equivalent of 1st/premier class is more similar, but a key difference is that if you book a Prémium ticket for an AVE service and then cancel your trip, you will receive a refund of 95% of the ticket cost, but you will receive 100% if you have booked an Infinita Abierta for travel on a iyro service.
If you will be travelling with children aged 5 -13 it's definitely worth making the comparison of the total booking price between iryo and the AVE trains which can be booked on the Renfe website.
Children aged 5 -13 and under are entitled to a 40% discount when travelling on AVE trains, but on the iryo services they are charged at the standard, Adult rate.
Book early and save: Yes
Online bookings usually open: up to 6 months ahead of the travel date .
Both the iro online booking service and Trainline sell tickets for journeys by the iro trains, but Trainline also sells tickets for the alternative AVE, avlo and Ouigo services, though the periods of time ahead of the travel date, on which all four services can be compared, can vary.
The iryo prices are set per departure according to demand; hence the lack of price info below.
In common with the ticket pricing policy for most European high speed rail journeys, limited numbers of tickets will be available at each price, as each quota of tickets available at the cheaper price sell out, they are replaced with tickets at more expensive prices.
Similarly to how the tickets which Renfe makes available for its AVE services are sold, the terms of using the tickets to travel on iryo services, differ according to the class which you will be travelling by.
Singular Cafe Flexible and Singular Flexible tickets
Singular Cafe Abierta
Note that a core difference between Flexible and Abierta tickets is that the Abierta tickets can be exchanged to travel on a different date, without the difference in cost between the original booking and the price to travel by the alternative train, having to be paid.
So with Abierta tickets you have the peace of mind of knowing that you can travel on a different date to that which you originally selected, without having to pay more money, despite the likelihood that the price, of what is in effect your replacement ticket, having risen since the time of your original booking.
Making a booking
When looking up a journey on the iryo website only the prices per departure of Incial Flexible, Singular Flexible and Infinita Flexible tickets will be shown.
When more than one person will be travelling together, the price shown will be the price per ticket and not the total price for the entire party.
If you want to travel in Infinita Class with the additional benefits of an Abierta ticket, you can add it to the booking of Infinita Flexible tickets as an upgrade.
Though two options for the Infinita Abierta tickets will be available, because you can opt to pay less and then not have access to the complimentary Bistro menu,
If you want to travel in the Singular Cafe class, what isn't particularly obvious is that you can only do so by opting to upgrade Incial Flexible or Singular Flexible tickets.
To book a Singular Cafe Abierta ticket you can upgrade a Singular Flexible ticket.
To book a Singular Cafe Flexible ticket you can upgrade an Incial Flexible ticket.
An unconventional aspect of iryo's ticketing is that it doesn't offer dedicated rates for child tickets, when travelling with children.
Those aged 0-3 don't require a ticket if they travel on an adult's lap, but they will need a ticket if they are placed in a seat.
Children aged 4-13 travel at the 'standard' rate = the same price as Adult ticket.
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