It’s going to get a whole lot cheaper to ride the rails between Madrid and Barcelona

Starting in early 2019, it will be cheaper than ever to hop between Madrid’s Plaza Mayor and Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya, Parque del Buen Retiro and Park Güell, Gran Vía and La Rambla.

Rail fares between Barcelona and Madrid to get cheaper next year
Plaza Mayor, Madrid. Image by: Geography Photos/Getty Images

New trains called ‘EVA’ will not only get you across Spain in a flash, they also come with tickets about 25% cheaper than the current option. A high-speed connection between Spain’s two most populous cities is nothing new; the blink-or-you’ll-miss-it AVE has been running since 2008. While both trains can make the trek in a mere 3 hours, a one-way ticket for the AVE costs around €85 while EVA plans to whittle that number down to €65. So how has EVA managed to slash costs?

EVA won’t offer first-class train cars, and Wi-Fi and vending machines will replace built-in video screens and food service. The savings also come with a slight loss of personal space, as there will be one more seat per row compared to the AVE.

And take note, travellers: EVA won’t arrive at Barcelona’s central Sants Train Station, but rather at a station in the neighbouring town El Prat de Llobregat. Piggybacking off the transportation options from El Prat Airport, a slew of taxis, buses, trains and even a subway stop will be available to whisk travellers the remaining 14 kilometres into Barcelona. (Like the AVE, EVA will run through Madrid’s Atocha Train Station.)

Central Barcelona
Aerial image of Plaza Catalunya, Barcelona. Image by: Blom UK via Getty Images

While all of the details haven’t been confirmed yet, it appears that EVA may follow in the footsteps of low-cost airlines when it comes to cost-cutting tactics. A recent article in El País compared EVA to the famously bare-boned Ryanair, pointing out that travellers may have to pay extra for assigned seats and forward-facing seats. Additional costs for pets and special luggage may apply, as well.

This low-cost, high-speed option could run full-steam ahead to other regions of Spain; if that happens, cross-country train travel would become notably more affordable.

By Cassandra Gambill

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It’s going to get a whole lot cheaper to ride the rails between Madrid and Barcelona
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