Three months of disruption to commuter trains due to Sagrera railworks
The works begin on Friday, affect more than 70,000 users and will interrupt the R2 Nord, R1 and R11 lines
Barcelona"There will be 12 weeks of cuts to Rodalies commuter trains which are absolutely essential to finish the work for the Sagrera train station". This is the message of consensus that sources from the Spanish government, rail infrastructure operator Adif and the Generalitat have emphasised, detailing the works that will be carried out this autumn in Sagrera. The actions will cause disruption to the service for almost three months. They will begin this weekend, on September 17, and will last until the December long weekend. It is one of the biggest disruptions to the Rodalies network since Sants train station was built. Once they are completed, the new underground route of the Barcelona-Granollers-Girona line and the new Sant Andreu station will come into service.
According to Adif's calculations, the disruption will affect around 73,000 users on weekdays and over 50,000 at weekends, representing 19% of the users of the entire network. The interruptions, moreover, coincide with the period of free Renfe tickets set up by Pedro Sánchez's government the same free ticket will be used to access all the alternative means of transport that Renfe has already planned to mitigate the disruption caused to passengers.
Schedule of works
Adif sources have explained that the main affected line will be the R2 Nord, although there will also be changes to the R11 and R1. The works are temporarily divided into three phases: this first weekend; the period from September 19 to December 3, and finally, from December 4 to 11. The most important cut is the first, which will prevent trains from running between El Clot and Montcada i Reixac in order to carry out work in Sant Andreu, adapt the catenary and prepare all the signals. Secondly, between September 19 and December 3, trains will stop at Sant Andreu Comtal station, and from here users will have to look for alternatives to reach the city centre or continue towards other municipalities. There are also two more weekends (October 29-30 and November 12-13) when the R1 will end in Badalona. In the third phase, from December 3 to 11, all trains will be again end in Montcada in order to connect the new tracks and finish work on the new station.
Adif has remarked that this is the most delicate point of the already historic works in La Sagrera, where more than 30 different contracts and 600 workers are involved. "We have advanced as much as we could before cutting the line to minimise disruption –Adif sources say–. 2022 will end with the tracks connected, buried and with the new station in service."
The alternative for users
To minimise chaos among users, Renfe –in conjunction with the Spanish government and the Generalitat– has redesigned the train offer and timetables. "We have spent many hours and done our us," company sources say. To begin with, Renfe emphasises that many of the actions will coincide with weekends and holidays to alter circulation as little as possible.
During the first phase of the works, passengers on the R1, which will end at Badalona, are advised to transfer to the L2 metro line (the purple line). R2 Nord and R11 users, who will have to get off in Montcada i Reixac, will have to walk to the Montcada i Reixac-Manresa station, where they will be able to access the R7, R4 and R12. There will also be a bus shuttle service every 15 minutes between the stations.
Between September 19 and December 3 (the second phase of the works), Rodalies has restructured the timetables of the R11, which will change from a medium-distance train to a conventional Rodalies train between Granollers and Sant-Andreu which will stop at all stations, meaning the journey from Granollers to Barcelona will be significantly longer. A bus service is also planned during peak hours. Once they arrive at Sant Andreu, these passengers will be able to choose between changing to the red metro line (L1) or using the shuttle bus that Renfe has prepared to help transport commuters at peak hours. All indications are that, as a result of these changes, from Monday the L1 metro line, which is already the most saturated line in Barcelona, will be even more crowded.
Finally, in December there will be a return to the initial scenario, with changes to the other Rodalies lines and an alternative bus service.
Avalanche of works in Rodalies
The works in Sagrera are not the only ones altering Rodalies services this autumn. In fact, currently and until February 2023, an avalanche of improvement works are scheduled to affect the usual timetables of practically every line (R1, R2, R4, R8 and R11), which will also indirectly affect R3, R7 and R12. These are works that are part of plans already known and announced, but which now force the operator to alter services in order to be able to execute them. Thus, in addition to the changes in Sagrera, the other major works are taking the line underground in Sant Feliu de Llobregat, making several changes and adaptations to the tracks of the Mediterranean Corridor between Castellbisbal and Vila-seca (to improve the transport of goods) and the works that Renfe is doing in the station of Molins de Rei to make it more accessible and restructure tracks and platforms.