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Train journeys in Spain will be much quieter from June onwards. No more cell phone rings, constant announcements over the loudspeakers or loud conversations between travellers. Renfe, the Spanish train operator, will launch "silent carriages", to the delight of business travellers as it will allow them to enjoy a more pleasant, more productive and calmer journey.
It is a first for rail transport and should attract both leisure and business travellers.
According to the latest figures released by Instituto Nacional de Estadística (the national statistics institute in Spain), last January 1.9 million people chose trains for travelling within Spain, 22% more than the previous year. On the other hand, the number of travellers who chose air travel fell by 7.3%, and stood at 1.8 million.
The opportunity to travel in silent carriages, especially suited for those who want to work, study or rest, increases the attractiveness of rail journeys, that are already more punctual, comfortable and environmentally friendly than airplanes.
This and other advantages (such as immediate access to stations and much more bearable security checkpoints than the ones at airports), added to the growth of the high speed rail network in Spain, and has resulted in a 40% to 50% increase in domestic corporate trips via rail in Spain.
But there is another reason for the increasing presence of the train in business travel. The integration of Renfe in Amadeus e-Travel Management , the self-booking tool used by more than 450 companies in Spain, is a milestone in the development of corporate train travel.
For Renfe it means a closer involvement with corporations and their travel management procedures, as Francisco Cañamero, commercial and marketing director of Renfe, explained when the integration of Amadeus e-Travel Management was launched.
For travellers it is a chance to manage more quickly and easily their rail journeys. According to Amadeus España estimates, the integration of Renfe in the self-booking tool will help travel managers duplicate the adoption of this technology and therefore increase savings (according to a study by Hermes Consulting, commissioned by Amadeus, usage of self-booking tools can help companies save 5% to 8% of their total travel spend).
Having Renfe in the same automated booking process, at the same level as other travel options, opens the door to efficient intermodal trips and it is, no doubt, great news for business travel and another victory for rail travel.