Readers will have seen our numerous reports concerning high-speed rail competition within Spain.

In particular Spain will be unique within the EU by allowing two foreign rail operators to compete with incumbent Renfe.

SNCF prepares for high speed rail within Spain

All three operators have been approved by Spanish infrastructure manager Adif.

Now Italy’s Trenitalia tweets the news that it has ordered no fewer than 23 Frecciarossa 1000 trainsets for its Spanish services.

Railway Gazette reports a cost of €797 million for these trainsets manufactured in Italy by Hitachi and Bombardier.

Each train can accommodate 460 passengers and operate at up to 360 km per hour.

The brand name ILSA (Intermodalidad de Levante) has been devised for Trenitalia’s open access operations within Spain.

ILSA is owned 45 per cent by Trenitalia and 55 per cent by Air Nostrum.

Target date for service entry is March 2022, whereas SNCF will launch services this coming December and one would expect Renfe to start operations with Avril later this year.

ILSA will operate over six high-speed domestic lines. It will compete with SNCF and Spain’s Renfe.

All three operators expect to offer a lower cost product than that currently provided by Renfe’s AVEs.

The idea is to encourage more travellers to take the train rather than the plane in line with EU policy.

Not only does Spain have spare high-speed capacity but its network is the least used of any major nation (those having ahigh-speed network).

A recent report concluded that Spain’s high-speed network is the second largest outside of China.,,