High-speed rail link to connect Barcelona and France
A new high-speed rail route, connecting the Catalan capital of Barcelona with the French border is being trialled ahead of its opening in April.
Spain's national train operator Renfe has confirmed it is testing the track to make sure it is ready for a new high-speed AVE cross-border service to the French city of Perpignan.
The trials are being carried on the newest part of the route connecting Barcelona, Girona and Figueres.
Last month an AVE train travelled underground in Barcelona for the first time, using a new tunnel which connects the city's Sants station with La Sagrera.
There is already a high-speed link between Figueres and Perpignan and another connecting Barcelona and Madrid.
Once the final section between Barcelona and Figueres is completed, passengers will be able to travel into France from the Spanish capital much more easily.
It will also make journeys from Barcelona to other European cities much faster. It is estimated that passengers will be able to reach Geneva and Lyon in just four hours.
The track is designed to take speeds of up to 350km per hour, although Renfe mainly runs its trains at 310km per hour.
Journey times to Girona and Figueres will take 39 and 55 minutes respectively from Barcelona, making it quicker and easier to travel straight up to Paris, connecting in Perpignan with the French high-speed TGV trains.
Some British companies have already started selling high-speed train journeys to Barcelona and the Costa Brava in anticipation of the new links.
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