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Tuesday 13th September 2022
Bordeaux to Madrid via the Irún border crossing into Spain: I had been as far as Irún many years ago - including across the border on all three gauges. Nowadays there is no cross-border passenger service on either the Standard or Iberian (broad) gauge tracks, the only service being the roughly parallel 'Euskotren' metre gauge route. From Irún to Palencia was mostly "required": though this train continued to Madrid it goes via the old broad gauge route and is not required, and is also much slower than the newer high speed standard gauge alternative. The train I selected to catch from Palencia to Madrid had come from Santander so would do the required gauge changer south of Palencia. Overnight hotel in the southern Madrid suburbs but selected to be on a required Cercanías (suburban) route, which I duly covered to the end before returning back to the hotel.
Route: Bordeaux St Jean 06:29 (TER66413 SNCF EMU Z51529/51530/51510/51511) - Dax (detach portion for Pau; forward as SNCF EMU 51529/51530) - Hendaye 09:07; Hendaia 09:33 (E2 Euskotren EMU 901) - Irún-Colón 09:37; short walk to Irún RENFE station; Irún 10:23 (Cercanías-1 RENFE EMU 267/268) - San Sebastian 10:48; 11:22 (MD 18014 RENFE EMU 449055) - behind ‘down’ platform at Magaz then via short curve - Palencia (pl.1) 15:20 (arr 23 late); 16:28 (from broad gauge platform 1) Alvia 4142 RENFE EMU 130005/006 - via Villamuriel de Cerrato gauge changer to standard gauge - cross to RH track and via short curve - call at Valladolid Campo Grande - no call at Segovia Guiomar - Madrid Chamartin 18:00; 19:03 (Cercanías-4 EMU 465 100+062) - via Sol - Madrid Atocha Cercanías 19:17; 19:23 (Cercanías-5 RENFE EMU 465 011+216) - Mostoles el Soto 19:50; 19:56 (Cercanías-5 RENFE EMU 465 263+115) - San José de Valderas 20:07. Overnight hotel Ibis Madrid Alcorcon Tresaguas, 10 minutes walk from station.