Delays, breakdowns and cancellations: The shocking arrival of Ouigo, Ryanair of trains, to Spain

on 5th of July 468 passengers The train of the French operator Ouigo, which makes the Madrid-Barcelona expedition, is stuck in a tunnel. four long hours. It is the time from when the problem arises until the locomotive arrives to remove the damaged vehicle and transport the passengers to their final destination, Sants (Batcelona).

occurred in the town. Roda de Berá (Camp Tarragona). Although the incident did not require the interruption of rail traffic, all high-speed lines in the affected area experienced delays as the affected section of the line operated on a single line.

There are several times when the Gala company took part in such events. Headline of El Periódico de Catalunya on 27 May “the myriad casts of a Ouigo In Sants: 500 passengers are waiting for a train on the platforms”, this time due to another breakdown in Barcelona. Just a day later, the newspaper Información de Alicante (Prince Ibérica) ran the headline, “One breakdown leaves a thousand stranded on the road”. Alicante train More than three hours at the station,” he says, adding that the convoy from Ouigo had a problem with the axis.

And so, since Ouigo started operating in Spain on May 21, 2021, 136 events causing delays subject to legal compensation. As the company explained to EL PERIÓDICO DE ESPAÑA, 76 of them have been for their own reasons. The rest is caused by events from other operators or infrastructures. A Google search for the terms “High speed breakdown” yields most results for the French operator. Does the Ouigo break more than the Renfe or Iryo trains? Or is the answer different in each case?


First question required: Is the perception that Ouigo has more malfunctions than its competitors correct? The answer is that it is impossible to know. Data in our country today are incomprehensible. Of the three companies operating at high speed in Spain, only Ouigo provided event data. Neither Renfe nor Iryo answered. At the request of EL PERIÓDICO DE ESPAÑA. AND Adif, the manager of the roads, also does not give information. (although it’s a public domain) because we “do not provide data that impacts our clients’ business strategy”.

The reason why Ouigo has more notorious malfunctions than any other company is simple: It has fewer trains and in case of any problems it takes longer to find a solution.. “Ouigo is experiencing the normal breakdowns that can happen with any Renfe train,” says Diego Martín, general secretary of the Spanish Association of Drivers (SEMAF). “The problem is solving them: It has no capacity. It has far fewer intermediaries and far fewer relationships, so Doesn’t have Renfe’s speed To get rid of such incidents”. This is why the train on July 5 many hours in the tunnel with no other vehicle coming to his rescue.

Ouigo, according to data provided by the company itself, Fleet of ten trains in Spain. The model they use is the Alstom Euroduplex with two floors and 509 seats. They are not new trains but refurbished trains Ten to fifteen year olds already cruising on the French roads. “But a ten-year-old train is not old. The useful life of a train is 30 or 35 years. We have trains in Spain that started operating in 1992. AVLOs are ‘duck’ [el nombre con el que se conoce a la Serie 112 de Renfe] from 2008 or 2009. age is not an issue” describes specialist sources in the rail sector.

Ouigo’s business model Network low cost. To make the trips it does – there are routes Madrid-Barcelona, ​​Madrid-Valencia and Madrid-Alicante – they say “six to eight trains” each day from the company are enough. It just means you have two reserves. It should also be taken into account that trains must undergo mandatory maintenance and be marked by law in the workshop.. “They are very fair. If one train breaks down, there is no other train.”, several expert sources consulted agree.

So there is no problem of customers stranded in only faults and tunnels: cancellations. If a train that is supposed to arrive in Madrid at one o’clock and depart for Barcelona again at two o’clock breaks down and no other spare parts are available, those affected are doubly affected. In the year and within two months of its operation, the company There were only seven cancellations.

In any case, the images left by some faults “Dantean for those of us who understand railways”says one of the railway workers consulted. “On a high-speed line with a 25K kV catenary cable on the ground, people who open the doors for passengers get off and walk along the runway. Dangerous”.

They refer to an incident carried out by the French company in May 2022 when a Ouigo train was operating on the summit of Ariza in Zaragoza. dragged the catenary. 500 passengers were stranded and up to thirty more trains suffered delays. Ouigo reported that although initial investigations pointed to the train’s fault, the ultimate cause could not be determined.


This newspaper covers the events that have occurred since we started operating in Spain from May 21, 2021 to July 10, 2023. Delays subject to legal compensation in Ouigo 136, 10,412 commercial trains (1.3%)”.

The French firm defends itself, assuring that not all serious incidents can be attributed to Ouigo: “76 of them occurred for their own reasons. The rest are due to incidents from other operators or infrastructures. cable thefts in infrastructures and even boar wrapping. Sometimes we get the feeling that it’s just Ouigo malfunctions and events, even though we all know that’s not the case.”

Why does it take so long for the company to react when a malfunction occurs? Despite the fact that all the experts consulted attributed the limited size of their fleet to a lack of speed in solving problems, the operator said that the “implementation of our protocols was instantaneous and resolution times are within the overall average”.

Should Ouigo have more spare trains?? Does this solve your problems? “No one is limiting the material they can use, there is no parking problem. The thing is, they decided they needed a certain number of trains, not more, to run the circulation they made, because they go with everything at minimum cost”Martin continues. Added to all this, he says, is the work at Chamartín, Atocha and Sants stations, which replicate events on the network. Adif has several locomotives that perform track inspection duties and can in some cases also salvage damaged trains, but the ultimate responsibility rests with the operators. Ouigo ensures that although the fleet is small, it always has spare vehicles.

Ryanair type trains

Rail liberalization as conceived by ADIF consisted of: Let other companies use the runways besides Renfe because they just weren’t used enough with the AVE. It works to date: According to reports by CNMC, passengers have increased in all competitive aisles and for now Prices got cheaper Regarding the AVE. However, the capacity of the roads is not endless, so ADIF has offered hourly packages to different operators dealing with each route.

became a role model ryanair, as explained by José Estrada, managing director of circulation and capacity management, one of the liberalization ideologues, in an interview on “The logic of all packages is the same: trains don’t stop for long. It is our concern that they are not at the stations, or even where they sleep (…) It’s like Ryanair, but more complex. Here in the morning you unplug a train and it keeps coming and going. This is what the operators business model needs to keep prices down”.

“Ouigo goes with everything at minimal cost,” adds Martín from SEMAF. “A low cost operator aims to reduce the ticket price to the maximum level. And we’re not used to that on the railroad. Just like when Ryanair started.” Iryo’s operation is similar to that of Ouigo, but their trains are completely new and built specifically to be built in Spain, so they are registered. less events. Although there are some news in the press, for example Three hours delay in Sevilla-Madrid last June 26.

Who pays?

Related news

These events often involve partial or full reimbursement of the ticket cost to affected passengers. Stating that they have not made any changes in the return policy in this regard since Ouigo started operating in the country, “It remains the same. Train cancellations announced less than four hours before departure are compensated. 100% plus 200% of the ticket price is refundable. if they are For communications exceeding four hours, the ticket price is refunded. For delays exceeding 60 minutes, 50% of the ticket price is refunded; For those exceeding 90 minutes, 100% of the ticket price can be refunded.“.

Ouigo was the pioneer private company to enter the Spanish high-speed sector, and it did so with a very low cost strategy, thus competing with Renfe’s obviously more expensive prices. However, this system contains some handicaps that often have a negative impact on the user. Perception says that Ouigo is experiencing more malfunctions. The truth says it cannot be known, because the Spaniards We do not have access to this service information from the infrastructure manager. And it is exclusively due to a commercial reason.

Source: Informacion


More from author

“Following the tracks of the black digger”, a belt tip from the 1st-2nd century AD was found 07:17

Russian archaeologists from the Kulikovo Pole museum-reserve recently discovered the tip of a tamga belt of the 1st-2nd centuries AD as part of work...

Hackers successfully hack Russian companies pretending to be leaders 07:00

In Russia, every fifth FakeBoss-style hacking attack, in which attackers pose as company executives, is successful, Maxim Akimov, head of cyber intelligence at SOC...

Argentina sports official fired after demanding an apology for racist chant 07:03

A sports official in Argentina was fired after he demanded an apology from the country's national team players for racial slurs, according to the...

‘Green’ pipe dreams versus reality. Obajtek: “European industry and economy would pay the price for the ideological fairy tales of European bureaucrats”

Statements that the European Union would produce 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen are "too ambitious", according to an analysis by the European Court...