Barcelona-Madrid high-speed train resumes service after cable theft

AVE rail halted for five hours on Monday after 600m of fibre optic cables was stolen overnight

Damaged railway connection between Arboç and Figueres (image from Adif)
Damaged railway connection between Arboç and Figueres (image from Adif) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

August 8, 2022 12:11 PM

Service of the AVE high-speed rail link between Barcelona and Madrid has resumed after being halted for five hours on Monday morning. 

Overnight, it was discovered that some 600 metres of fibre optic cable had been stolen from the rail line’s infrastructure between Arboç and Figueres. 

Hundreds of passengers in Barcelona's central Sants station were left frustrated waiting for answers or alternate arrangements. 

Renfe redirected travelers heading to Barcelona from Figueres and Girona to Rodalies services on Monday morning, while technicians from Adif, the company that managed the railway infrastructure, assessed the incident. 

Travelers affected by the disruptions can change or cancel their tickets free of charge. 

According to Adif, it is not possible to establish an alternative service by road "because of the bus companies' own logistics."

One arrested in connection with robbery

Catalan police have arrested a 19-year-old man in relation to the incident. The arrest was made in the town of Santa Oliva, in the Baix Penedès county, south of Barcelona.

The Mossos d'Esquadra have kept the investigation open and do not rule out more arrests.

The act of vandalism took place last morning. "Around 2:30 a.m., communications, signals, falling object detectors, and other safety devices alarmed between Arboç and Figueres," Adif spokesman Dani Martínez explained to the Catalan News Agency.

Technicians traveled to different points of the route and detected several cuts in the fiber optic cables on the two tracks. Adif "strongly" condemned the act of vandalism.

Uncertainty among passengers

There was a sense of resignation prevailing among passengers in Barcelona's Sants station returning from vacation, while those hoping to begin their holidays felt an overwhelming sense of uncertainty due to the lack of information and the risk of missing flights.

"We had a train to Madrid because tomorrow we travel to Costa Rica and we have a flight from there," Cristina explained to the Catalan News Agency. She didn't rule out the possibility of taking a car directly to the Spanish capital.

"We have no choice but to hold on, we can't do anything. All I want is to take the train and go to Paris," Lluís said.