trains in 20th Century Europe
Fig 1: Main International rail lines in northern Spain 2013
Iberia is the south western peninsula of Europe which contains the countries of Spain and Portugal. Spain is separated from its neighbour France by the Pyrenean mountain chain which joins the Atlantic with the Mediterranean Seas. At the seaboard ends of this chain lie two major rail border crossings – the Atlantic Coast at Hendaye-
Destinations in Spain and Portugal retained their popularity in the 20th Century and they drew passengers from most of Central and Western Europe. The Spanish Civil War interrupted cross border services to France from July 1936 until January 1940.
There is another defining characteristic of this border which is that it marks a change of gauge from the French gauge of 1.435m to the Spanish broad gauge of 1.674m. In the earlier parts of the 20th Century this forced through passengers to change trains at the frontier. This barrier was removed in the late 1960s by the installation of gauge-
Coming of the high speed train -
The Alta Velocidad Española (AVE) high speed trunk route from Madrid opened to Barcelona in 2008 and has reached Figueras. This line was extended in early 2009 from Figueras to Perpignan by-
The planned expansion of the AVE line to the French frontier had reached Valladolid in 2007 and will be expanded north to Hendaye.
D: To Spain and Portugal
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