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Travel On Train RENFE - SNCF (AVE)

RENFE - SNCF (AVE)

Welcome to the guide to taking one of the high speed trains operated by Renfe on the routes between France and Spain.

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At a Glance

Travel Pass Supplement

Rail Pass Reservation Fees
Reservations

Compulsory
Time of Day

Day
Catering

Food services available

Bar (sandwiches, snacks, salads)
Accessibility

Accessing the train

Wheelchair Spaces
Train Specification

Attributes of the train

High Speed
Has a Conductor
Country

Which country these trains operate in.

France
Spain
Travel Passes
Eurail
InterRail

On Board

Première/Primera

Perks
Power Socket

The power sockets on this train are compatible with standard E.U. two point plugs.

Trolley Service:

A catering trolley with hot and cold drinks and snacks should be taken through the train at some point during its journey.

Seconde/Segunda/Turista

Perks
Power Socket

The power sockets on this train are compatible with standard E.U. two point plugs.

The interior of a 2nd class/Turista class coach on a Spanish RENFE-SNCF train The interior of a 2nd class/Turista class coach on a Spanish RENFE-SNCF train
An AVE 100 train being used on the Lyon to Barcelona RENFE-SNCF service An AVE 100 train being used on the Lyon to Barcelona RENFE-SNCF service

Renfe-SNCF (AVE) travel guide:

The high speed train service that crosses the France/Spain border to provide international daytime train journeys to/from Barcelona and Madrid is branded 'en coopéreation RENFE - SNCF'.
Not the most memorable name of a train service, they used to be known as 'Elipsos' services and SMTJ wishes they still were.

However, the name reflects the spirit of co-operation French railways (SNCF) and Spanish railways (RENFE) share the provision of the trains.

The Spanish trains used for the service are these **AVE (100) trains.

Routes:

These AVE trains are used on these three routes:

(1) Lyon - Valence - Nimes - Montpellier - Beziers - Narbonne - Perpignan - Figueres Vilifant - Girona - Barcelona

(2) Marseille - Avignon - Nimes - Montpellier - Beziers - Narbonne - Perpignan - Figueres Vilifant - Girona - Barcelona - Zaragoza - Madrid

(3) Toulouse - Carcassone - Perpignan - Figueres Vilifant - Girona - Barcelona*
***TGVs can substitute for AVE trains on the Toulouse - Barcelona service, particularly at weekends.

TGV Duplex trains are used on the other 'en coopéreation RENFE - SNCF' route **Paris - Barcelona

Reservations:

Seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets for journeys by RENFE-SNCF train services.

Rail pass users will need to have made reservations prior to boarding (see below).

Boarding:

Something to watch out for is that have you have booked a ticket on Oui.SNCF or at a French station, the SNCF reservation system seems to encounter problems with the seat numbers on these trains (they're particularly illogical).

All seats are assigned when booking point-2-point tickets, so you need to sit in the seat you have been allocated - but you may have trouble matching the seat number on your ticket, with the actual seat numbers.

If that is the case, initially sit in any spare seat, and then when the conductor comes to check the tickets, you can ask where you should be sitting and move if need be.

On Board summary:

These trains may be some of Europe's oldest high speed trains, but they're in the top tier in terms of comfort - the interiors feel less-like a cramped airline cabin - which is becoming the norm on other high speed trains.

On the Marseille - Madrid trains a complimentary light meal is served to 1st class ticket/reservation holders between Barcelona and Madrid (except on Saturdays).

Max luggage allowance = 2 suitcases/large bags + item of hand luggage per person.

Using rail passes:

If you will be using a Eurail or InterRail pass you will need to make a reservation prior to boarding.
The comparatively expensive fees for doing so depends on the distance you will be travelling.

Example fees include:
Marseille <> Madrid: 1st class = €48, 2nd class = €34
Lyon <> Barcelona: 1st class = €26, 2nd class = €19
Toulouse/Beziers/Montpellier <> Barcelona: 1st class = €20, 2nd class = €15.

Though paying for the reservation fee is likely to be cheaper than buying a separate ticket.

Something to note is that your rail pass only has to be valid in France OR Spain.
So if you will be travelling with a 'one country pass' valid for France, you can use it to add Barcelona OR Madrid to your itinerary.

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This is one of more than 150 train guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.