The Prince of Asturias has inaugurated the new high-speed line connecting Albacete, Villena and Alicante.

Nine services a day will operate in each direction, eventually reducing the journey time between Madrid and Alicante to two hours and five minutes.

The 165 km line, which has been partially funded by the EU, has cost 1.9 billion euros to complete.

The extension means that just over 60 per cent of the Spanish population is now connected to the country’s high-speed rail network.