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Madrid to Pamplona train for senior

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I will be flying in to Madrid in April, 2014, and my destination for the day will be Pamplona.
I would like to take train because it takes about half the amount of time than taking a bus. I am old enough to qualify for tarjeta dorada. I think someone said online advance purchase might be cheaper. And I understand I have to be at the station in person to buy the card.
The questions I have are:
1. Would it be cheaper to buy ticket (one-way) on line in advance without the card(tarjeta dorada) because I have not purchased the card, or should i wait until I get to Renfe station to buy the card first?
2. I have never been to Madrid, and I have limited capability of speaking Spanish. If my flight arrives at Madrid at noon, would I have enough time to collect my luggage, find a transportation like bus to Atocha station, buy the card and ticket and get on board without getting stomach acid?

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