Transport in Spain

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Transportation in Spain is characterized by an extensive network of roads, railways, rapid transit, air routes, and ports. Its geographic location makes it an important link between Europe, Africa, and the New World. Major forms of transit generally radiate from the capital, Madrid, located in the center of the country, to link with the capitals of the autonomous communities. Spanish transit is marked by a high degree of integration between its long distance railway system and inner-city metro systems, although the historic use of broad gauge has limited integration with its neighbors. Spain is currently working to increase and improve linkage with the rail systems of France and Portugal, including high-speed rail between Madrid and Lisbon[1]. Spain possesses a highly developed highway system, with both tolled and freeways. Air traffic is routed through several international and regional airports, the largest of which is Barajas International Airport in Madrid. Ferry services operate regular lines to many ports in Europe and Africa, as well as the autonomous communities and cities of the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Ceuta, and Melilla.


Spanish railways date from 1848. The total route length in 2004[2] was 14,781 km (8,791 km electrified)

Most railways are operated by RENFE; narrow-gauge lines are operated by FEVE and other carriers in individual autonomous communitites. It is proposed to build or convert more standard-gauge lines, including some dual gauging of broad-gauge lines, especially where these lines link to adjacent countries.

A high-speed rail line (AVE) between Madrid and Seville was completed in 1992. In 2003, high-speed service was inaugurated on a new line from Madrid to Lleida and extended to Barcelona in 2008. The same year, lines from Madrid to Valladolid and from Córdoba to Málaga were inaugurated.[citation needed]

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