I dislike using the word “unique”, but in the case of Spain it’s true, where the government openly invites foreign rail operators to operate high-speed services over the Spanish network in competition with national firm Renfe.

Over many months we have reported on these developments. We have described how France’s SNCF inaugurated Ouigo ES and how Renfe responded with Avlo.

Now it’s the turn of Iryo, which will launch in a couple of weeks time according to rail media in Spain.

Iryo is backed by Italy’s Trenitalia along with Air Nostrum. It will be deploying Frecciarossa 1000 units, and is a member of ALL RAIL which represents new market entrants.

Services start on November 25 linking Madrid with Barcelona and Zaragoza.

From December 16 services will include Valencia and Cuenca, and from March 31, 2023 the plan is to serve Seville, Malaga, Antequera and Cordoba.

Alicante and Albacete are expected to follow on June 2 next year.

At this stage some readers might wonder why UK rail does not open its doors. While UK rail secures investment from foreign rail firms the latter’s rolling stock is incompatible with our restricted gauge.

Finally note that schedules and bookings for the above operators can be found with neutral portal Trainline.

Unlike UK rail, where all operators must display all fares (including those of rivals), this requirement does not apply in mainland Europe.