Train service resumes after all short, medium and long distance trains halt in Catalonia due to major breakdown

Failure in telecommunications system causes chaos that will continue for hours, with 80,000 commuters affected

Rodalies train in Montcada i Reixac (by Albert Segura)
Rodalies train in Montcada i Reixac (by Albert Segura) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 9, 2022 08:14 AM

All Rodalies short, medium and long-distance trains in Catalonia were halted for three hours between 5am – when service for the day begins – and 8am, when the failure in the telecommunications system causing chaos resumed.

The breakdown affected all services except for high-speed trains.

Shortly after 8am the service resumed, but trains did not automatically run as usual. Talking to RAC1 radio station, Spanish transports minister Raquel Sánchez said that normality would "take hours" to arrive and added that "this has never happened before."

A few minutes after 8am passengers were allowed on the platforms for the first time on Friday, but trains will still run with major delays.

Adif, the public company in charge of the train infrastructure, said at 8.30am that "the incidence has taken place this early morning coinciding with the process of updating the IT systems of the Centralized Traffic Center, which are carried out regularly."

"During these operations, some damage in the IT systems that control the communications has been identified, both the main and the redundant ones."

Adif's statement explained that the main result of the breakdown has been "the lack of communication between the Center and the trains."

Catalonia demands managing the service

The Catalan vice president, Jordi Puigneró, reacted to the news on Catalunya Ràdio station saying that "commuters want that Rodalies services work, not it to be free."

From September 1 and until the end of the year, commuter trains in Catalonia and across Spain are free, a measure introduced by the Spanish government, in charge of the service, in order to counter inflation.

Puigneró demanded the management of the train infrastructure and the service be transferred from the Spanish to Catalan administrations – this has been a long-standing demand of Catalonia, especially from the 2000s, and it was only partly transferred in 2009.

Yet, the Spanish public company Adif is in charge of the trucks and catenaries, and Renfe, another Spanish government-owned company, manages the service.

For years, Catalonia has also demanded more public investment in renovating stations, tracks and infrastructure, and, indeed, on Friday, Spanish minister Raquel Sánchez said that major issues such as the one on Friday are fixed with "more investment."