Rodalies commuter train network to normalize operations after month of chaos

Service restored in half the time estimated after 'very serious' copper theft on election day

Rodalies train out of service due to copper theft
Rodalies train out of service due to copper theft / Redacció
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

June 13, 2024 11:35 AM

June 13, 2024 11:50 AM

The chaos in Catalonia's Rodalies commuter train network has an end date. 

Railway operator Adif announced on Wednesday that service on lines R3, R4 and R7 of the Rodalies commuter rail network will return to normal on Sunday. 

The announcement comes a month after a copper theft on May 12 caused widespread disruptions on all lines of the network. 

The copper theft, which took place at the Montcada Bifurcació station in Barcelona, caused an overvoltage in the electrification system, leading to several fires that caused a widespread collapse of the system. 

The repair work was initially estimated to take two months and cost €15 million. However, normal service will be restored in half the time at a cost of €6.3 million. 


Spanish transport minister Óscar Puente thanked the 120 operators working on the repairs for "making it possible to complete the work a month earlier than expected."

The copper theft coincided with the Catalan elections on May 12, causing such widespread disruption that politicians asked the electoral board to extend voting hours.

The disruption led to days of mutual accusations between the Spanish government, the state-owned rail operator Adif, and the Catalan police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, over the protection of the tracks.

Óscar Puente even suggested that "sabotage" could not be ruled out.

Most copper thefts on Spanish government rail lines

Catalonia is the region in Spain with the highest number of copper thefts on railway lines. In the first quarter of the year, 46 incidents were recorded, 32 of them in Barcelona alone.

Most of the copper thefts occur on the Rodalies lines. Last year, 240 copper thefts occurred on the Rodalies lines, while 16 occurred on FGC lines. 

Although the total number of kilometers of Rodalies lines is much greater than that of FGC, the Spanish state-owned lines have 184 incidents per 1,000 kilometers, while the Catalan lines have 29 incidents per 1,000 kilometers.