User:Hobbitschuster/Rail travel in Spain
Spain was a late adopter of railways in general and due to the poverty of the country, the Civil War (1936-1939), the isolation and malaise of the early Franco years and the decision to use a non-standard "Iberian gauge" 1,668 mm (65.7 in) (as opposed to general-European 1,435 mm (56.5 in) standard gauge) it's railways lagged behind most of Europe until the 1980s and 1990s. However, it has since caught up and overtaken all but the most advanced railway nations in the world, boasting the second longest high speed rail network in the world, second only to China.
Most trains are run by state owned RENFE or local government entities. While the different gauges (Iberian gauge for "classical lines", European standard gauge for high speed trains and narrow gauges for heritage railways and local lines) are and continue to be a hurdle for the technological side of things, they do not affect travelers all that much, as gauge changes often occur at places where many travelers have to change trains regardless or at least at places where trains stop. Indeed it was a Spanish company - TALGO (Tren Articulado Goicochea Oriol) - that produced the first practicable variable gauge train in passenger service and the most modern trains can change their gauge at speeds up to 30 km/h (19 mph).