“The Arganda train whistles more than it moves” as the saying goes. Straight from the pages of a children’s book, these two-century-old steam locomotives pull vintage wagons along a 2.5-mile track from Arganda del Rey to Laguna del Campillo, a short ride by train south of Madrid, crossing the wrought iron bridge that was once the center of the Battle of Jarama during the Spanish Civil War. The train runs every Sunday in spring and autumn.
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Spain’s extreme temperatures mean that some of these services, especially those with open-top cars, don’t always run in the height of summer or the depths of winter, but don’t require too much planning.
The rail system
Renfe is the national rail operator, with a network of long-distance, regional and local commuter trains (called Cercanías) covering all regions of the country. The trains are comfortable and generally punctual, with Wi-Fi and sockets on most longer journeys. For medium and long distance trains, it is advisable to book in advance, online or at the station. Cercanías rarely cost more than a few euros, but you can also buy 10-trip tickets which further reduce the price.
Those planning an extended stay in Spain might inquire about the Renfe Spain Pass. Accessible to non-residents, it is valid for 4, 6, 8 or 10 medium or long distance journeys and lasts one month. See renfe.com
All travelers aged 12 and over must present proof of full vaccination, or a negative PCR test taken within the last 72 hours, or a negative antigen test taken within the last 24 hours, or proof of recovery in the last six months