We are landing in Madrid at 7:30 am 20 March 2015 at Barajas airport. How much time should we allow to get through customs, collect baggage, find/take the Express train from Barajas to the Atrocha train station and board the train? We are deciding between an 11 am or a 12 pm train. We are arriving on Iberia from the US. Would appreciate any advice. Thanks.
11 should be ok IF the plane is on time, there are no problems, etc. but 12 would be safer. I suggest you take the airport shuttle bus rather than the train...easier to get to and faster from the time you exit the luggage area. Go out the door from the luggage area and ask for directions. Will find the pickup spot just outside the entrance door to the building. 5 euros from door to door and will let you off at the front entrance to Atocha. You will have a LONG hike inside the airport to the train loading area. Trip time to Atocha from Barajas about 25 minutes.
Agree that you should be able to make the 11 but I would book the 12 since you have a number of variables you cannot control.
All going well you could be off the plane and out of the airport by 9am, and at Atocha by 10am.
However, all doesn't always go well. I would allow at least 2 hours cushion time, bringing us to midday.