RENFE Class 120 / 121

The RENFE Class 120 (nickname Sepia[8]) are electric multiple units used on Alvia high-speed rail services in Spain.[9][10]

RENFE Class 120 / 121
ManufacturerCAF[1] / Alstom[2]
Constructed2001 (order date) 12 units[3]
2004 (order date) 45 units[3]
CapacityClass 120 : 237 (+1 reserved)[4]
Class 121 : 280 (+2)
Car body constructionAluminium[5]
Train length106.23 m (348 ft 6 in)[5]
Car length27.35 m (89 ft 9 in) (end cars)[5]
25.780 m (84 ft 7.0 in) (intermediate cars)[5]
Width2.92 m (9 ft 7 in)[5]
Height4.1 m (13 ft 5 in)[5]
Floor height1.3 m (51 in)[5]
Doors1 per side per carriage[5]
Maximum speed250 km/h (160 mph)[4]
Weight225 tonnes (221 long tons; 248 short tons) empty)[6]
Axle load15.6 t (15.4 long tons; 17.2 short tons)
Traction systemElectrical
Power output4 MW (5,400 hp) (25 kV AC), 2.7 MW (3,600 hp) (3 kV DC)[4]
TransmissionBody mounted motor via cardan shaft to inner axle of each bogie.[1]
Acceleration0.52 m/s2 (1.7 ft/s2)[4]
Deceleration0.50 m/s2 (1.6 ft/s2) @ 120 km/h (75 mph)[4]
0.35 m/s2 (1.1 ft/s2) @ 250 km/h (160 mph)[4]
Electric system(s)Catenary
25 kV 50 Hz AC, 3 kV DC[5]
Current collection methodPantograph
UIC classification(1A)'(A1)'-(1A)'(A1)'-(1A)'(A1)'-(1A)'(A1)'
Braking system(s)regenerative/rheostatic and pneumatic disc brakes[1]
Safety system(s)ERTMS N1/2[7]
Multiple working2 trainsets[1]
Track gauge1,668 mm (5 ft 5 2132 in)/
1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge[5]

The trainsets are dual-voltage, dual-gauge units capable of changing gauge without stopping at 30 km/h.[2] Twelve units were ordered in 2001, and a further 45 units in 2004[11]

29 units of the class RENFE Class 121 were ordered for medium-distance high-speed Avant services. The units are very similar to the Class 120 but include additional electrical equipment for redundancy (a requirement for trains using the Guadarrama Tunnel), and do not provide first class seating, raising the number of seats to 282.


Class 120

The trainsets are 4-unit multiple units capable of operating in pairs,[1] designed for medium-distance high-speed services. The inner axle of each carriage bogie is powered by a body mounted three phase asynchronous traction motor via a cardan shaft final drive. The motors are driven by IGBT converters with one converter per carriage. The bogies are of welded steel construction with primary coil springs and secondary air suspension. Tractive forces are transmitted by a drag pivot pin.[1]

The bogies incorporate CAF's BRAVA (Bogie de Rodadura de Ancho Variable Autopropulsado[3]) system which allows gauge-changing without stopping and operating speeds of up to 275 km/h (171 mph)[12] The maximum axleload is 15.6 tonnes (15.4 long tons; 17.2 short tons).[6]

The vehicles are air conditioned with one toilet per car. Passenger services include individual audio systems, and audio and visual information systems. One seat is reserved for disabled passengers, and wheelchair ramps are fitted. The driver's cab is also air conditioned, and the train is equipped with GSM-R systems.[13]

There are 156 seats in 'standard' accommodation[10] and 82 seats in 'first class'.[9]

Class 121

The 121 class are built to the same design as the original 120 Class but have additional electrical equipment (duplicated for redundancy). Additionally all the seating is in [2+2] formation[14] increasing the capacity to 282.[15]


Class 120

The first trainset was produced in 2004 and began testing.[16] Services on the Madrid to Barcelona line began in 2006.[6][17]

The trainsets have operated on the Madrid-Pamplona-Hendaye, Madrid-Logroño, Barcelona-Vigo and Barcelona-Bilbao/Irun lines.[18]

Class 121

The first trains entered service on the Madrid-Segovia-Valladolid line on 26 January 2009.[19] They are currently used for the Avant services Barcelona-Lleida, A Coruña-Ourense and Zaragoza-Calatayud.[20]

The 6-car TCDD HT65000 electric multiple units ordered from CAF by the Turkish State Railways for the Istanbul-Ankara high-speed line are based upon the Class 120 design.

See also


  1. HIGH-SPEED TRAIN ATPRD s-120 Archived 2012-02-14 at the Wayback Machine
  2. European Federation of railway trackworks contractors - Gauge Change Systems in Spain No.1 2007, page 5,
  3. CAF's 250km/h variable gauge train Archived 2008-07-25 at the Wayback Machine Via Libre, Julio Agosto, 2006, via
  4. HIGH-SPEED TRAIN ATPRD s-120 , Performance Archived 2009-04-16 at the Wayback Machine
  5. HIGH-SPEED TRAIN ATPRD s-120 , Basic details Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine
  6. En servicio los trenes serie 120 entre Madrid y Barcelona '
  7. A STANDARDIZED SYSTEM FOR RAILWAY TRAFFIC CONTROL Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine María Ángeles Buenom, 23/10/2009 page 8,
  8. ALVIA S-120, la "Sepia"
  9. Alvia services - preference class
  10. Alvia services - Tourist class
  11. Renfe define su encargo de trenes de ancho variable, series 120 y 130
  12. The Self-Propelled Variable Gauge Rolling Truck Archived 2012-02-04 at the Wayback Machine
  13. HIGH-SPEED TRAIN ATPRD s-120 , Equipment Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine
  14. Renfe Serie 121
  15. El primer tren de la serie 121 y la locomotora eléctrica 253 de mercancías ya están en vía
  16. En pruebas la serie 120, trenes de ancho variable y bitensión para 250 km/h
  17. Cuatro trenes de la serie 120 se incorporan al servicio Madrid-Valencia
  18. (section) RENFE-LD high-speed trainsets - Class 120
  19. Entra en servicio la serie 121 de Renfe Archived 2010-02-17 at the Wayback Machine 27/1/2009 www.altavelocidad
  20. Avant Serie 121

Further reading

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