Barcelona (ACN).- The Spanish Government have announced that construction work for the train shuttle connecting Terminal 1 of Barcelona El Prat Airport to the city centre will kick off "in a few weeks", after many years of delay. The statement was made on Thursday by Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, after the weekly Cabinet meeting. The new train shuttle will carry travellers between T1, the newest and busiest terminal, to Barcelona's Sants Station in 19 minutes, making a stop at Terminal 2. According to the Deputy PM, the Spanish Ministry of Transport plans "a more-than-€200 million" investment in the project. Santi Vila, the Catalan Minister for Planning and Sustainability, described the announcement as "excellent news". An estimated 7 to 9 million people are expected to use the train shuttle each year.
The Spanish Ministry for Public Works and Transport plans a €220 million investment through a public-private formula, Sáenz de Santamaría explained. Initially, the Spanish Government will be in charge of the works related to the construction of the tunnels and other basic infrastructure such as platforms. Later, a tender will be put out to find the company which will build the tracks, the security, and electrical systems, and operate the service.
According to the Catalan Minister for Planning and Sustainability, the Spanish Government's announcement is "excellent news", allowing the work to finally start in a few weeks, after many years of delay. Santi Vila also stressed that the request for tender for the second phase of the work could mean the end of the monopoly of Renfe (Spain's publicly-owned train operator) on the short-distance railway network, unless indeed the company wins the tender.
The Spanish Deputy PM said that the main construction project had already been drafted and awarded to a construction company but could not proceed due to a lack of budget, paid by the Spanish Transport Ministry. The agreement reached on Thursday allows the Spanish Government to free up the project as technical assistance now passes into Adif's hands (a State-owned company managing railway infrastructures and belonging to the Spanish Transport Ministry).
The shuttle train will connect Sants Station to T1 of Barcelona airport in 19 minutes
The shuttle train will connect Sants Station with the two airport terminals (T1 and T2) in 19 minutes, reducing by more than half the time needed to reach T1 from the city's main station. The project will involve the construction of at least two "complex and expensive tunnels", the Spanish Deputy PM stressed.
At present, there is no access to T1 by train, as the local train line only goes to the old T2 terminal, where passengers have to take a shuttle service bus between the two terminals. For this reason, most of the passengers arriving at the new Terminal 1 – which is the busier of the two – arrive by the Aerobus shuttle from Catalunya and Espanya Squares. Meanwhile, Barcelona Metro’s Line 9 should also link the two terminals with the city centre by February 2016, but the duration of the journey by metro will be 41 minutes from the Catalunya Square area.