White Plains NY, March 25 2008 â€“. Tickets and passes on the premium high-speed Spanish train, Alta Velocidad EspaÃ±ola (AVE train), can be booked, in North America through Rail Europe. In addition to the original high-speed line between Madrid and Seville, the new lines connect Madrid to Barcelona and other destinations. The AVE train travels at speeds of 300 km/hour (186 mph) and covers the distance of 550 km (342 miles) between Madrid and Barcelona in less than 3 hours (travel time was previously 4 hours). â€œItâ€™s like traveling by train from New York City to Montreal in 3 hoursâ€ says Rail Europeâ€™s President & CEO FrÃ©dÃ©ric Langlois. A total of 17 trains will operate daily to take passengers between Madrid and Barcelona. The high-speed AVE will influence a shift from air traffic to rail on the Madrid-Barcelona route, as Eurostar has done on the London-Paris and London-Brussels routes and France’s TGV has done on the Paris-Lyon route.
The new high-speed lines, have also reduced travel times between Madrid and Valladolid; the journey, which previously took 2h 30mins, now takes only 55 minutes. And what was a 4 hour journey from Madrid to MÃ¡laga, now takes only 2h 30mins. In addition to these shorter journey times, European train travel also offers the time-saving benefit of bringing the travelers right into the city center, eliminating the need for airport/city transfers.
Rail Europe offers special web-only fares on www.raileurope.com, which save travelers up to 10% over bookings made over the phone. Prices on the Eurail Spain Pass start at $216* USD/CAD. Madrid â€“Barcelona AVE train tickets start at $157* USD/CAD while passholder fares for this route start at $16. Rail Europe also offers city cards, which make exploring destination cities easy and affordable. The Madrid, Barcelona or Seville cards offer access to public transportation around the city and entrance to museums and attractions.
For more information or to book any of Rail Europeâ€™s wide range of economical rail passes and point-to-point tickets on trains throughout Europe and the U.K., consult a travel agent or log on to Rail Europeâ€™s web site. Group Bookings for rail travel for 10 or more passengers can also be made through Rail Europe.