Renfe S103 AVE: one of the most advanced and fastest trains in the world

Renfe Serie 103

The 103 series AVE is one of the most advanced trains in the world and one of the fastest on rails in terms of speed in commercial operation. It is a train with distributed traction, which means that it has bogies with traction distributed throughout the train, thus achieving a better use of the train space by not having 2 tractor heads like the 100, 102 or 112 series, better use of energy and higher acceleration. The models used are the Siemens Velaro E and Velaro D.

Manufactured by Siemens, this series is a sister to the Velaro, in fact its name by Siemens is Velaro E, since it is the same in design but with special characteristics requested by Renfe, such as operation in a higher temperature range and greater power, 8,800 kW to be able to travel the more than 600 km that separate Barcelona and Madrid through the high-speed northeast corridor in 2h 30m.

This train mainly serves the high-speed line that connects Madrid with Barcelona (LAV MadridZaragozaBarcelonaGirona), passing through the stations of Guadalajara, Calatayud, Zaragoza, Lérida and Tarragona, in which it makes a stop at some of its schedules.

Each train is a unit of eight passenger cars with distributed traction. Cars 1, 3, 6 and 8 have two motorized bogies and these with two motors located on the frame with a power of 550 kW each. In the extreme bogies are the ERTMS, LZB and ASFA antennas.

The bogies are the same as those of the ICE-3, it has primary suspension by coil springs, secondary pneumatic, a sensor system that warns of any operating problem, an anti-sway device and support for sandboxes (with heating) in the motor bogies.

The brake is recuperative that is applied in 80 percent of the cases, rheostatic with resistors on the roof and tire on disc. The axle weight of the train is 16 tons. The coupler is of the Scharfenberg type and allows the trains to run in double composition, reaching a capacity of 808 passengers, and compatibility with the 252 series locomotives and the 100, 102 and 112 series high-speed trains only in cases of towed from one train to another.

Development and assembly: Siemens (Germany)

Years of production: 2006—

Production: 26 items

Length: 200 m

Width: 3 m

Height: 4 m

Capacity: 404 seats

Track gauge: International (1,435 mm)

Continual power: 8800 kW

Power: 11,800 HP

Max speed: 350 km/h

Acceleration (0 to 320 km/h): 380 s

Weight: 452 t

Alta Velocidad Española (AVE) is a high-speed rail service operated by Renfe, the Spanish State railway company.

The first AVE service was inaugurated in 1992, with the introduction of the first Spanish high-speed railway connecting the cities of Madrid, Córdoba and Seville.

In addition to Renfe’s use of the ADIF-managed rail infrastructure in Spain, Renfe programmed two AVE services partially in France for 2023, connecting respectively Barcelona-Lyon (debuting in July 2023) and Madrid-Marseille (set to debut in July 2023).

Alta Velocidad Española translates to “Spanish High Speed”, but the initials are also a play on the word ave, meaning “bird”. AVE trains operate at speeds of up to 300 km/h (186 mph).


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