At 6:28 a.m. this morning, the first high-speed train (AVE) left from Orihuela-Miguel Hernández station bound for Atocha, with almost a hundred passengers making the very first journey.

Just after 6am another train left Atocha, arriving at Baix Segura at 9.30 am.

And so, the new section of the AVE high speed rail network, linking Orihuela and Madrid, was launched.

The journey into Orihuela carried around 90 passengers three of which were Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, the Valencian president, Ximo Puig and the Minister of Transport, José Luis Ábalos. The trio travelled on the high-speed section between Alicante- Elche-Orihuela

Sanchez and Puig on AVE with the Minister of Transport

They were due to be joined by the president of Murcia but he withdrew earlier in the morning following a minor problem with his health.

There was a short ceremony at the Miguel Hernandez station in Orihuela where the party were joined by local mayor Emilio Bascuñana during which the prime minister unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.

The next stop was Elche where the formal inauguration of the new high speed line took place.

Ximo Puig thanked the prime minister for his attendance after which he said that “this new section is more than just a fast track to the capital.” “It also opens the door to improving commuter services in Alicante, Villena, Elche and Orihuela. It is the cohesion that our territory needs, from north to south, with the Mediterranean Corridor. It is the symbol of everything that unites us as a community and as a country”.

Courtesy of www.informacion.es

He ended his speech by recalling that “the silent train of suffering”, written by Miguel Hernández in 1938, in 2021 becomes “the modern AVE of opportunities with a stop at the Miguel Hernández station in Orihuela. “Today the Valencian Community, the Vega Baja and Elche get the train they deserve”.

With a journey duration of 2 hours and 22 minutes each way the high speed train travels at a speed of 300 kilometres per hour.

Initially, four daily AVE services have been scheduled, two each way between Madrid Puerta de Atocha and the Elche High Speed and Orihuela Miguel Hernández stations.

This will provide 1,264 seats that will be gradually expanded as demand and health conditions allow.