Talgo, S.A. is a Spanish manufacturer of intercity, standard, and high speed passenger trains.

Talgo, S.A.
Sociedad Anónima
Traded asBMAD: TLGO
IndustryRail vehicle manufacturing
FounderAlejandro Goicoechea 
HeadquartersLas Rozas de Madrid, Spain[1]
High-speed trains
Intercity and commuter trains
OwnerTrilantic Capital Partners 
Number of employees
1,100 (Spain)

The word Talgo is also used by the rail operator RENFE for a type of inter-city rail service (using Talgo VI cars).

Corporate history

TALGO (Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea Oriol, Goicoechea-Oriol light articulated train), Alejandro Goicoechea and José Luis Oriol being the founders of the company.

Talgo Patents S.A. was first incorporated in 1942.

In March 2007 Talgo sold its Finnish rolling stock manufacturing subsidiary Talgo Oy to its local management and other Finnish investors. The company, which Talgo had owned for only seven years, reverted to its previous name of Transtech Oy. The company spends 10 to 12 percent of revenues on research and development,[2] but the main revenue source is the Spanish railway operator Renfe.[3]

Talgo made an initial public offering on the Bolsa de Madrid in May 2015. The IPO valued the company at €1.27 billion.[4]

In July 2015, Talgo stated its intention to ship a Series 9 train to India at its own cost as a demonstration on the Mumbai-Delhi rail route.[5][6]


Talgo trains are best known for their unconventional articulated railway passenger car that uses a type similar to the Jacobs bogie that Talgo patented in 1941, similar to the Robert Stephenson and Company trains. The wheels are mounted in pairs but not joined by an axle and the bogies are shared between coaches rather than underneath individual coaches. This allows a railway car to take a turn at higher speed with less swaying. As the coaches are not mounted directly onto wheel bogies, the coaches are more easily insulated from track noise. Talgo trains fitted with variable gauge axles can change rail gauge - for instance at the 1,668 mm Iberian gauge/1,435 mm standard gauge at the Spanish-French border interchange.

Since the introduction of the Talgo Pendular in 1980, the train tilts naturally inwards on curves, allowing it to run faster on curves without causing discomfort to passengers. The carriage tilting system pivots around the top of the suspension columns, which has the effect of partially cancelling out the effects of the lateral acceleration when cornering.


Talgo trains are divided into a number of generations. They come in both locomotive hauled and self-propelled versions.

Talgo I

The Talgo I was built in 1942 in Spain. The coaches were built at the "Hijos de Juan Garay" workshop in Oñati and the locomotive was built at the workshops of the "Compañía de Norte" in Valladolid.[7] It was built as a prototype, and it was used to set several railroad speed records.[2] The first test run occurred between Madrid and Guadalajara, Castile-La Mancha in October 1942.[8]

Talgo II

Talgo II coaches and locomotives were first built in 1950 at the American Car and Foundry Company (ACF) (the diesel-electric locomotives were assembled by ACF with electrical components made by General Electric) works in the United States under the direction of Spanish engineers, and entered service on the Rock Island Line, servicing the Jet Rocket train, between Chicago and Peoria, Illinois. One was also trialed on the New York Central Railroad until 1958 but saw little success.[2] Talgos were also built for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad for its "John Quincy Adams" train from New York City to Boston, Massachusetts, and the Boston and Maine Railroad for its "Speed Merchant" train, running between Boston, Massachusetts and Portland, Maine.[9] Soon afterwards, Talgo II trains began running in Spain, and were successfully operated until 1972.[7]

Talgo III

Talgo III coaches and locomotives entered service in 1964, introducing longer cars and easy directional reversibility of the cars. The Talgo III/RD was equipped with variable gauge axles, and this permitted the introduction, on 1 June 1969, of the first through train between Barcelona and Geneva (the Catalan Talgo), despite the difference in rail gauge.[2][10] The same equipment was used for the Barcelona Talgo, which began operation on 26 May 1974 as the first-ever through train service between Barcelona and Paris.[11]

Talgo Pendular

The Talgo Pendular (Talgo IV and Talgo V, also VI & Talgo 200 or 6th generation), introduced in 1980, created the "natural tilting" train, using a passive system that tilts the carriages with no need for electronic sensors or hydraulic equipment.[3] The wheels are mounted on monoaxles between the carriages, and sitting on top of the monoaxles are suspension columns. The carriages are attached to the top of the suspension columns and swing outwards as the train goes through a curve.

In 1988, a Talgo Pendular was used on trials for Amtrak on the Boston-New York corridor in the United States and on Deutsche Bahn lines in Germany.[7] Trial commercial services with Talgo cars in the US commenced in 1994 between Seattle and Portland, and from 1998 different trains have been used on the Amtrak Cascades services from Vancouver, British Columbia south to Seattle, Washington, continuing south via Portland, Oregon to Eugene, Oregon.[12] Five Talgo IV trains were in use in Argentina on the General Roca Railway, however they have since been replaced by CRRC Dalian rolling stock and their future is uncertain as of 2015.[13]

Talgo 200 series trains are also in use in Kazakhstan for the overnight train Almaty–Astana.[14]

Talgo VII

The Talgo VII introduced beginning in 2000 is used as a locomotive-pulled train set as well as intermediate cars for the multiple units Talgo 250, Talgo 350 and Talgo XXI. The carriages are similar to the Talgo Pendular type but have an air-controlled hydraulic brake system and power supply from head end power instead of diesel engine-generators in the end cars. Talgo VII trains have cars with one pair of wheels in the middle rather than at one end.[15]

Talgo 8

The Series 8 passenger cars are similar to the Series VII cars, but are designed for the North American market. Talgo made an agreement in 2009 to build a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin which would initially supply two 14-car trainsets for the Amtrak Hiawatha Service until the project was cancelled. The company expressed hope the plant would later be used to build trains for other U.S. rail projects.[16][17]

Early in 2010, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced that it had negotiated the purchase of two 13-car trainsets for use in the Pacific Northwest rail corridor between Eugene and Vancouver, British Columbia.[18] These trainsets were also manufactured in Wisconsin, and were delivered in 2013. The sets are currently operating in the "Cascades" corridor in the Pacific Northwest. They have been integrated with the five existing sets in regular service.[19] The Series 8 trains offer passengers many modern amenities including high speed Wi-Fi, reclining seats and a full service bistro and lounge car. In 2014, the state of Michigan expressed interest in operating the unused Talgo 8 cars for their Amtrak Wolverine service.[20]

In the wake of the 2017 Washington train derailment, Amtrak proposed to lease or buy two Talgo trainsets which were originally bought for use in Wisconsin but never operated. These will see service on the Cascades service.[21]

Talgo 9

This series, designed for Russia and Kazakhstan, has features wide bodyshell and wheelsets. There are three versions, consisting of either 1520mm fixed gauge, 1520-1435mm variable gauge or 1520-1676mm variable gauge. They are used in the Berlin-Moscow line (December 2016).

The final successful test run of the Talgo 9 series coaches was completed in India on September 10, 2016.[22]

Talgo 250 HSR

The Talgo 250 is a dual voltage electric train (AC/DC) equipped with variable gauge axles. This allows the units to be used on high-speed lines and on conventional broad gauge lines. A Talgo 250 train consists of two power cars and 11 Talgo VII intermediate coaches. This class was developed for RENFE (classed as S-130).[23] One trainset was involved in the Santiago de Compostela accident on 24 July 2013.

Uzbekistan Railways ordered two Talgo 250 sets of a Russian gauge version in 2009. The first set arrived at Tashkent in July 2011.[24]

Talgo 250 Hybrid

The Talgo 250 Hybrid is a dual-voltage dual-power train equipped with variable gauge axles. The train is therefore also able to operate on non-electrified lines. A Talgo 250 Hybrid train consists of two power cars, two technical end coaches and nine Talgo VII intermediate coaches. The trains were developed for RENFE and classed initially as S-130H, later as S-730). They are rebuilt from existing Talgo 250 trains.[25]

Talgo 350 HSR

The Talgo 350 entered service as the RENFE AVE Class 102 marking the company's entry into the high-speed train manufacturing market. Tests with the prototype commenced in 1994,[7] and Talgo 350 trains have been operating at a top commercial speed of 330 km/h on the Madrid-Barcelona and Madrid-Valladolid lines since 22 December 2007. This series of trains is designed to reach a speed of 350 km/h (220 mph), although present lines and commercial services limit the speed to 330 km/h (205 mph).[26][27] The train consists of two power cars and Talgo VII intermediate cars with improved brakes and additional primary suspension.[15]


Talgo XXI is a project for a high speed diesel-powered train, that operates in push-pull with one or two power cars and Talgo VII intermediate cars. The North American version has four-axle power cars in compliance with United States FRA regulations. Only one train in compliance with European UIC standards has been built to date.[28] Talgo reported that the Talgo XXI attained 256 km/h on the Olmedo-Medina del Campo high speed experimental line on 9 July 2002,[29] which led to a claim for the world speed record for a diesel train. However, this claim was never proven. After the test runs the train was sold to the Spanish infrastructure authority ADIF as a measuring train for high speed lines.

Possible specs are:

  • Two MTU 12V 4000 R64 engines (two power cars configuration) or one MTU 12V 4000 R84 engine (one power car configuration), up to 1.800 rpm, high speed diesel, Euro IIIB compliant with diesel particulate filter and exhaust gas recirculation aftertreatment system
  • 2x1.500 kW (3 MW) or 1x1.800 kW power ratings
  • Voith hydraulic transmission
  • Hydrodynamic and air braking
  • Variable gauge
  • 5 to 12 passenger coaches, depending on the setup
  • Up to 400 seats
  • Designed for a top speed of 220 km/h (135 mph)
  • Power car with shared trailer axle


Talgo has developed recently a train known as "AVRIL" (Alta Velocidad Rueda Independiente Ligero — Light High-Speed Independent Wheel), intended for speeds of 380 kilometres per hour (240 mph).[30] The system uses underfloor traction in the front and rear vehicles, with the intermediate carriages having the Talgo Pendular system (which cannot use motored axles on the axles corresponding to the system). Starting with the concept stage in 2009, it began dynamic testing on the Spanish high-speed network in 2014,[31] and was approved in May 2016. It won its first major contract in November 2016, for the Mediterranean corridor in Spain, and its link to Paris.[32]

Variable Gauge Axles (VGA)

In addition to the multiple units with Variable Gauge Axles, Talgo built in 2005 a prototype of a VGA locomotive (the L-9202, TRAV-CA, 130-901 or Virgen del Buen Camino).[33][34]

See also


  1. Information about Talgo Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Mauro F. Guillén (2001). The Limits of Convergence. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-05705-2. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  3. Mauro F. Guillén (2005). The Rise of Spanish Multinationals. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  4. "IPO values Talgo at €1.27bn". Railway Gazette. 7 May 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  5. Dhoot, Vikas (24 July 2015). "Train from Spain: Government considering Talgo proposal to run trial runs of faster trains trains between Mumbai, Delhi". Economic Times. New Delhi. Retrieved Jul 24, 2015.
  6. For trial run in India, wheelset being adjusted from 1520mm (Russian gauge) to 1676mm (Indian gauge).
  7. "Historia de Talgo". www.talgo.com. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  8. "Historie". www.talgo.de. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  9. Kirkland, John F. (November 1985). The Diesel Builders Volume 1: Fairbanks-Morse and Lima-Hamilton. Interurban Press. ISBN 0-916374-69-6.
  10. "Stop Press" (changes taking effect). Cooks Continental Timetable (June 1969 edition), p. 6; also pp. 71, 106. London: Thomas Cook Publishing.
  11. "Barcelona Talgo". Thomas Cook Continental Timetable (June 1975 edition), p. 466. Thomas Cook Publishing.
  12. "TALGO AMERICA - History". www.talgoamerica.com. Archived from the original on 25 June 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  13. ¿Traslado al cementerio? - Cronica Ferroviaria, 5 May 2015.
  14. Kazakhstan Buys Two Talgo Trains, International Railway Journal (1 December 2000)
  15. "Talgo 7". Christian Torrego, 2002-2003 (Translation by P.L. Guillemin, April 2003). Archived from the original on 3 April 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
  16. "Wisconsin wants Talgo trains". Railway Gazette International. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  17. "History: North American Milestones". Talgo America. Archived from the original on 26 December 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  18. "ODOT purchases passenger trains". Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  19. "Oregon's new trains, new schedule begin Jan. 6". Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  20. "Amtrak's Detroit-Chicago trip to get faster, plusher with upgrades". The Detroit News. September 15, 2014. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  21. Federal Railroad Administration (February 1, 2018). "Petition for Waiver of Compliance" (PDF). Federal Register. Government Publishing Office. 83 (22): 4728.
  22. The final successful test run of the Talgo 9 series coaches was completed in India in the first week of September, 2016.
  23. "Productos Talgo". www.talgo.com. Archived from the original on 18 April 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  24. "Uzbekistan Temir Yollari Talgo 250 - Ferropedia". ferropedia.es. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  25. "Talgo 250" (PDF). www.talgo.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 September 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  26. "Railway Technology - Spain's Great Rail Race - High-Speed Train Lines". www.railway-technology.com. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  27. Talgo evolves its unique design for ultra high speed - High Speed: Spain, International Railway Journal, 1 October 2002
  28. "TALGO AMERICA - Talgo XXI". www.talgoamerica.com. Archived from the original on 24 June 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  29. "Talgo: History". www.talgo.com. Archived from the original on 18 April 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
  30. "Talgo's 380 km/h Avril train to take on the airlines". Railway Gazette International. 27 July 2009.
  31. Puente, Fernando. "Talgo Avril starts dynamic testing". railjournal.com. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  32. "Talgo wins the most important high-speed tender in Europe". Talgo. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  33. "TRAVCA article in Ferropedia.es". ferropedia.org. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  34. "THE EST CRASH BUFFER - Information and References on the EST Crash Buffers G1, R1 and X1". www.crashbuffer.com. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
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