R2 commuter train disruptions over as new tracks in Barcelona's Sagrera open

New Sant Andreu station in operation replaces oldest one standing until now in Catalonia and across Spain

The first R2 rodalies commuter train enters new Sant Andreu station
The first R2 rodalies commuter train enters new Sant Andreu station / Maria Asmarat

ACN | @agenciaacn | Barcelona

December 12, 2022 09:48 AM

December 12, 2022 09:02 PM

Commuters in northeastern areas of Barcelona's metropolitan area and in Girona saw the end to three months of disruptions on the R2 North and R11 Rodalies train lines on Monday, when the works affecting the route came to a close.

Shortly after 5 am, the first southbound R2N train crossed the brand new train tracks in La Sagrera that have been in the making since September – this was a key step in the construction of the new station in La Sagrera, which is to be Barcelona's main one when it is finished.

Works began over 10 years ago, but after years of delay, it is now progressing quicker and it was 60% complete in May this year – yet no updated completion date has been released.

The new train tracks mean that services on the R2N and R11 lines already pass through the future station, although they will not stop as works are still underway – last year, a similar procedure with disruptions at the R1 line was undertaken so that trains could switch from their old route to the new one crossing La Sagrera.

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau celebrated the opening of the new tracks and the end to the disruptions in the line, and hailed the advancement as a "magnificent first step toward our future train network."


However, the mayor criticizes the slow pace of progress in the works, and urged for "more speed" in the investment and execution of works that have been promised for decades.

At the opening of the new station, Spain's minister of transport, Raquel Sánchez, said that the Spanish government "had never executed so much" investment in railways in Catalonia.

The Socialist minister said that the administration has begun projects worth €2.224 billion in the past two years - 35% of what was planned - as part of the Rodalies plan which lays out a roadmap until 2030.

Meanwhile, Catalonia's territory minister, Juli Fernández, criticizes that "the citizens of Catalonia who use the service every day were not a priority" for Spain.

Fernández views the slow pace of progress as "intolerable," while he also took the opportunity to again demand that Spain hand over control of the commuter rail network to Catalan authorities. 

New station in Sant Andreu

Authorities have also used the works to inaugurate a new train station in Sant Andreu, replacing the one dating back to 1854, and the oldest standing in both Catalonia and across Spain until December 2, when it was used for the last time. 

The old Sant Andreu Comtal station now also has a shorter name, Sant Andreu, and will be used by both R2N and R11 trains, that is, the Maçanet-Massanes to Barcelona airport line through Granollers, and the Portbou to Barcelona Sants line, respectively.

Three months of works

After disruptions that began on September 17, 4.3km of tracks have been moved and now cross the La Sagrera station.

In the meantime, until Monday trains going to the Catalan capital had to end their routes in Sant Andreu Comtal old station, where commuters then had to take the metro or bus to complete their journey to central Barcelona.

The R2N and R11 have almost 31,600 passengers on weekdays and 21,200 on Saturdays and Sundays.

Sagrera public transport hub... in the long-term future

La Sagrera train station has been one of the most controversial infrastructures in the Catalan capital. Works began in 2010 and were stopped from 2015 to 2018, resulting in several complaints from locals. 

One major sticking point is the project's cost, which has overrun the original estimate by six times, but which the courts dismissed as being due to unforeseen events and emergencies.

La Sagrera will be home to high-speed trains, commuter trains, metro, and several bus lines.