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Fire in abandoned station left Barcelona without trains throughout the morning

The short-distance train network has been interrupted this morning in the centre of Barcelona due to a fire in an abandoned station in the centre of the Catalan capital. Although the fire was extinguished by 7 am CET this Tuesday, the smoke continued to spread throughout the city’s train tunnels for hours, affecting six stations, more than 210 trains, metro line 1 and nearly 100,000 passengers, according to the Catalan Government. An accumulation of waste in the abandoned station is most likely to have been the cause of the fire. Today’s chaos is to be added to a long list of problems which have occurred on the network during the last decade, mainly due to a lack of investment in infrastructure by the Spanish Government.

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09 February 2016 02:34 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- A fire in an abandoned train station in the centre of Barcelona led to the interruption of railway service to six stations in the Catalan capital. Although the fire was extinguished by 7 am CET this Tuesday, the smoke continued to spread throughout the city’s train tunnels for hours, affecting more than 210 trains, metro line 1 and nearly 100,000 passengers, according to the Catalan Government. No one was injured and the cause of the fire may have been an accumulation of waste in the abandoned station. “At the moment we can’t say for sure that it wasn’t deliberate” stated the Catalan Government’s Secretary for Infrastructures and Mobility, Ricard Font. Today’s chaos is to be added to a long list of problems which have occurred on the network during the last decade, mainly due to a lack of investment in infrastructure by the Spanish Government.


The fire affected railway service throughout Barcelona’s city centre. The six stations to which trains stopped running wereSagrera Meridiana, Arc de Triomf, Clot Aragó, Passeig de Gràcia, Plaça de Catalunya and Estació de França. Metro L1, one of the busiest in the Catalan capital, was also affected and service was interrupted between Glòries and Plaça Espanya, two central stations. Alternative routes and extra buses have been added to guarantee mobility,including that of the train service from Barcelona’s city centre to El Prat airport.

Some lines of the short-distance train network have also been diverted, but none of the AVE trains, Spain’s high-speed trains, have been affected and regular service has been gradually restored.

The fire caused no injuries

By 7 am CET this Tuesday, 12 teams of firefighters had already extinguished the fire, which started at about 2 am CET. It caused no injuries.

The fire started in an abandoned station in the centre of Barcelona, between Glòries and Arc de Triomf. The location is believed to be inhabited by indigent people and “an accumulation of waste and other materials”, such as mattresses, old furniture and scrap metal, could have been the cause of the fire, according to Barcelona’s fire service.

“At the moment we can’t say for sure that it wasn’t deliberate” explained the Catalan Government’s Secretary for Infrastructures and Mobility Ricard Font in an interview with Catalan radio Rac 1. The difficulty in ventilating the tunnels led to an accumulation of smoke, which provoked the interruption of the short-distance railway service in the centre of Barcelona.

Another incident to be added to RENFE’s list

This is not the first time that the railway system has collapsed in Catalonia. Today’s chaos is to be added to a long list of problems which have occurred on this network, run by Adif and operated by Renfe, two public companies both owned and managed by the Spanish Government. In May, the entire short- and medium-distance train service was interrupted just at the start of rush hour, affecting 200 trains and more than 80,000 people. In October, the theft of a fibre optic cable paralysed 40 high-speed trains and affected 13,000 passengers. Two months later, an attempted copper theft caused several small fires in different stations which led to interruption of the regular service of 60 short-distance trains and affected 25,000 passenger.

The Catalan Government has repeatedly accused the Spanish Government of a lack of investment in this infrastructure. Although the short-distance train network was finally transferred to the Catalan Government in 2010, after years of claiming it, the owner of the infrastructure continues to be the Spanish State and the operator is still Renfe. Font assured that the only competences transferred so far to the Catalan Government are in relation to the trains’ timetable and the price of the tickets. 

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  • A fire in an abandoned train station in the centre of Barcelona led to the interruption of railway service to six stations in the Catalan capital (by ACN)

  • A fire in an abandoned train station in the centre of Barcelona led to the interruption of railway service to six stations in the Catalan capital (by ACN)