RENFE is the state owned Spanish railway operator. RENFE’s network includes over 9300 miles of track, about half of which (4300 miles) is electrified. Most lines are built to the “Iberian Gauge”, which is wider than the standard gauge used by most other countries. However, the AVE high speed trains have been constructed at standard gauge (known in Spain as European gauge) in order to facilitate connections to the rest of the European high speed network. RENFE inauguated AVE high speed services between Madrid and Sevilla in 1991 and between Madrid and Barcelona in 2007. RENFE also operates commuter rail services in some cities under the Cercanías brand.
High speed trains in Spain are called AVE, standing for Alta Velocidad Española. The first AVE service began in April 1992, operating from Madrid to Sevilla with stops in Ciudad Real, Puertollano and Córdoba. AVE service to Málaga began in December 2007. In February 2008, the Madrid-Barcelona high speed line was completed. A journey between these cities now takes just over 3 hours on a train with stops, or about 2:30 on a non-stop train.