It is now possible to travel from Barcelona to Paris by train in less than 6.5 hours.
A new, direct high-speed rail service has been launched between the two cities, with trains operated by France’s SNCF and Spain’s RENFE.
Jean-Louis Conte, a passenger on the first train, said: “It’s a very good thing. We gain time – and it’s is also a way to bring two countries closer in a very effective way.”
Antoni Prat, another customer of the new service, complained: “We’ve been waiting for this for 20 years now. The Spanish government still works like it’s in the last century.”
The cross-border trains had been scheduled to launch in the first half of the year, but technical problems held up the start-date.
France’s SNCF said it needed extra time to adapt its trains to run on Spanish track. While Spain’s RENFE reportedly had similar issues preparing its trains to operate in France.
There will be two daily services between Barcelona and Paris, covering the journey in 6 hours and 25 minutes.
Other routes offered by the service include Madrid-Marseille (7 hours), Barcelona-Toulouse (3 hours) and Barcelona-Lyon (5 hours).