The first 103 series high-speed train was released on 30th January 2007. The series comprises 26 trains and the contract was awarded to the German company Siemens in two different tenders. They have distributed traction enabling full use of interior space for passengers.


Designed to travel at 350 km/h, it has a total capacity of 404 seats, distributed across two classes: First class and Standard. It also features two spaces for wheelchair passengers in one of these carriages and a toilet adapted for people with reduced mobility. 

First-class carriages are equipped with high quality equipment and an individualised service. Between First-class and Standard class is the buffet car, which houses other services such as the customer service room and staff rooms. All other carriages are intended for Standard class. The seats, which are adjustable, have individual lamps and, in the First-class, are leather upholstered.

The train's other features include: video and audio channels with individual jack, video screens that can be viewed from any seat, power socket and WIFI connection.

All carriages are equipped with information screens in three languages providing details of the train's itinerary, date and time, position determined by GPS and tourist information. Public address system with speakers in all areas. It features eleven toilets in total, one adapted for disabled passengers and two with changing table.

The train has an advanced fire safety system anti-shock and anti-slip systems. There, are also emergency exit windows in each carriage.

Based on the ICE 3 of the German railway system (DB), it is a self-propelled train, linking Madrid to Barcelona and Madrid to Malaga in two hours and a half, thanks to its 8,800-kW power, allowing it to travel at 350 km/h. One of the main features of the 103 series is that it has distributed traction, located under the frames of the series of carriages, meaning it has no towing vehicles and its entire inside space is utilised to carry passengers. This provides 20 percent more space than other trains of the same size. In addition, it features new additions such as allowing passengers to share the same views as the driver, on account of the adjustable phototropic glass separation screen between the passenger compartment and the driver's cab.



The entire structure of the bodies is made from aluminium, thus significantly decreasing the weight of this train compared to others with similar characteristics. The entire series is made up of 8 carriages and its internal distribution is structured around a central aisle, with the exception of the buffet car, which features a bright interior with a bar and that utilises part of the carriage to offer other services, such as the customer service room and train staff rooms and checked luggage. The access doors, at the ends of each carriage, give way to open passenger rooms with seats distributed on both sides of the aisle. The first carriage houses the driver's cab and Club Class seats, with a meeting room equipped with a seven-seater table; the second and third carriages are First class and the fourth is the buffet car. Then come the four Standard carriages, with another space available, as in the case of the Club meeting room at the very back, located behind the driver's cab.

From a technical perspective, the series of carriages is divided into two identical half-trains, with the same equipment, albeit with different classes.

Driver's cab

The driver's cab is spacious and ergonomic and features a tiered and tinted front window for sun protection. At the bottom, there is an electrically powered sunshade; there is another on the roof, which also protects the cab thermally.

Traction and auxiliary systems

The core feature of the train is its distributed traction, which distributes the traction and auxiliary equipment under the frame of the carriages and across their entire length. As a result, this train features no traditional towing vehicles, which have been replaced by two traction units capable of pulling four carriages, or half-trains, each.
All electrical equipment is distributed throughout the train, with 50 percent of the axles motorised, promoting and enhancing better adhesion and acceleration conditions, while spreading the mass per axle, approximately fifteen tons each; this low mass reduces aggressiveness on the track and the maintenance costs of the infrastructure.

Its distributed traction allows the train to travel with either eight carriages or four. The distribution of masses remains unchanged and even if the power is halved, 50 percent of the axles remain motorised, creating a redundancy in the event of equipment failure.

Each engine, located in carriages 1, 3, 6 and 8, provides a 550 kW of power and is installed in the bogie frame itself, parallel to the axle on which it operates and coupled by means of a flexible assembly. The distribution of traction equipment in the middle of the axles means that traction efforts are transmitted to the track more safely and efficiently, under conditions of low adhesion.

The 16 engines on this range are three-phase asynchronous, guaranteeing longer operating times and requiring low maintenance.
All the train's functions are managed by an integrated control system that gathers, processes and transmits data, thus facilitating maintenance; this means that simply running a query on the equipment is enough to obtain all operating data and incidents corresponding to the train. This data can be transmitted by GSM mobile phone technology to the maintenance centre, meaning that the maintenance or repair tasks to be carried out on the train can be viewed in advance.

Bogies and brake

The bogies, in use on DB ICE 3 contribute to optimal performance on the track, providing maximum stability as well as excellent comfort when in movement. They have been specially designed to drive at a high speed and using a large wheelset, by means of:

  • Primary suspension using coil springs.
  • Pneumatic secondary suspension.
  • Sensor systems that warn of any operational problems.
  • Anti-sway devices.
  • Sandpit support in the motor bogies.

The first of the carriages with driver's compartment features four engines, one on each of the two axles and the two bogies, which are independently powered by a single converter. On the second carriage, both bogies are carriers and it houses the transformers and input chokes. On the third carriage, the four bogies are motorised and it features a single converter. All the bogies on the fourth carriage are carrier bogies; under the frame is the rest of the half-train auxiliary equipment. The remaining four cars on the other half-train replicate the configuration indicated for the first four carriages. The ERTMS, LZB and Asfa control system coils are located on the end bogies.

The traction units are independent; as a result, if any unit is affected by a failure, it can be disconnected without influencing the remaining units, thus making it possible to arrive at the destination with 75 percent traction and braking power. More importantly still: the high acceleration capacity of this train is its braking power. Thanks to an electric brake that allows it to automatically switch between the recovery braking system and the rheostatic braking system. Preference is given to recovery braking, although if the grid cannot absorb the electric braking energy of the traction motors, there is a progressive switch to rheostatic electric braking.


The 103 series coupling is a Schafemberg automatic coupler, allowing trains to run double length. It is compatible with the 252 series engines and the 100 series Ave.

Control system

The 103 series train is equipped with the ERTMS level 1 and 2 signalling system, installed on the Madrid-Barcelona line; with an LZB compatible system that allows it to run on the Madrid-Seville line, and ASFA as a backup system, used on both lines. All train functions are managed by an integrated system that collects, processes and transfers data, simplifying and speeding up maintenance tasks, providing all operating data and incidents corresponding to the train. This data is transmitted via GSM mobile phone technology to the maintenance centre, meaning that the maintenance or repair tasks to be carried out can be viewed in advance.

Technical Features

  • Minimum composition: Eight carriages (Mc-R-M-R-R-M-R-Rc).
  • Multiple composition: Two compositions.
  • Gauge: 1.435 mm.
  • Body structure: Aluminium.
  • Maximum speed (km/h): 350 km/h.
  • Seats per unit: 404/405.
  • Traction motors: 16 asynchronous.
  • Total rim power: 8,800 kW.
  • Power per engine: 550 kW.
  • Conversions: 2.
  • Traction converters: 4, GTO technology.
  • Braking: Regenerative, rheostatic and pneumatic.
  • Pneumatic brake discs: 80.
  • Recovery brakes: 16.
  • Brake resistance blocks: 4.
  • Braking distance (320 to 0 km/h): 3.900 mm.
  • Acceleration (0 to 320 km/h): 380 s.
  • Number of axles: 32 (16 motors).
  • No. bogies: 16 (8 motors).
  • Distribution: Bo'Bo'+2'2'+Bo'Bo'+2'2'+2'2'+Bo'Bo'+2'2'+Bo'Bo'.
  • Wheel diameter: 920 mm.
  • Signalling systems: ERTMS levels 1 and 2, ASFA, LZB STM.

Dimensions and Weights

  • Total train length: 200 m.
  • Length end carriages: 25.675 mm.
  • Length middle carriages: 24.775 mm.
  • Body width: 2.950 mm.
  • Height: 3.890 mm.
  • Weight without load in movement: 425 t.
  • Load per axle: 15 t.