Barcelona prepares for a two-month interruption on metro line L5
From July 1st there will be no service between La Sagrera and Vilapicina and in August it will not be possible to reach Horta either
Barcelona is immersed in the complete renovation of metro L5 tracks between La Sagrera and Horta stations. These works will have a considerable impact on commuters, since over a quarter of the total number of metro passengers use this line. To minimise their impact, the works have been scheduled to coincide with the off-season: there was already a first cut coinciding with the Easter holidays, and commuters will now suffer a longer interruption, between July and August. From July 1 there will be no service between the stations of La Sagrera and Vilapicina. This will last throughout the month and, from August onwards, the works will extend to Horta station. The link between La Sagrera and Carmel will not be resumed until August 31.
During this period, La Sagrera, Congrés, Maragall, Virrei Amat, Vilapicina, Horta and El Carmel stops will be cut off. The track renewal works affect a three-kilometre stretch in both directions and involve an investment of €15m to renew tracks that are over 60 years old and represent a major maintenance cost for Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB). The goals of the work, as explained by TMB president Laia Bonet, are to reduce incidents in the services, enable tracks to have greater frequency in the future and solve vibration problems. "It is an essential intervention," she remarked.
The service alternatives envisaged are the reinforcement of other metro lines (between 6% and 20% depending on the time and line), which is what TMB recommends as the best option, and a shuttle bus service that will follow the same route as the metro. This bus will take about 32 minutes to make the entire route, whereas it is estimated that going from La Sagrera to Horta by metro takes about 23 minutes. The bus lines in the area affected by the cut will also be reinforced, especially V27 and the D50. TMB estimates that the interruption will affect the lives of between 19,000 and 23,000 metro users during the month of July and between 10,000 and 12,000 in August.
Initially the interruption had been planned to start on July 9, since it was expected that in early July there would still be a lot of passengers. However, the schedule was brought forward when it became known that the school year would start earlier than usual, on September 5. "We had to adapt," acknowledged Bonet, who guaranteed that everything will operate normally when school starts.
In total, three kilometres of double track will be demolished and rebuilt on a section that was put into service between 1959 and 1967. During the work, 12,000 linear meters of steel rail will be installed, to which 2,300 electric welds and some 300 aluminothermic welds will be applied and which will be fastened with 20,000 anti-vibration fasteners.