First working day with disruption in Rodalies commuter train network after Sunday's copper theft

Repairs will cost €15 million and it will take two months to return to normal service

A Rodalies train of the R4 line arriving at Hospitalet de Llobregat train station on May 13, 2024
A Rodalies train of the R4 line arriving at Hospitalet de Llobregat train station on May 13, 2024 / Gemma Sánchez Bonel
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

May 13, 2024 09:27 AM

May 13, 2024 06:20 PM

Monday marks the first working day with heavy disruptions in the Rodalies commuter train service after Sunday's copper theft.

The R4, R3, R7, and R1 lines all started with an alternative plan agreed upon by the Catalan government, Barcelona city council, and Spain's rail manager Adif, on Sunday night after the issues recorded earlier in the day. 

R1 trains will only drive until Badalona, where passengers will be diverted to metros.

Meanwhile, the R4 Nord trains will stop at Fabra i Puig train station, and only one out of three trains will be available to reach Manresa during peak hours, and 75% during the rest of the day.

Passengers, in this case, are recommended to take the FGC trains in Manresa, Terrassa, and Sabadell. Also, the R2 rodalies trains in Montcada.


R4 South will only arrive at Hospitalet de Llobregat train station.

R3 will be available between Puigcerdà and Montcada Ripollet, and then buses will be scheduled to reach the Sagrera Meridiana station.

R7 travelers will have to use the R4 line until Cerdanyola and then a bus to reach the UAB university.

Renfe believes the R2, R8 and R11 lines as well as the southern-regional ones, will not suffer any "disruptions."

Barcelona's Plaça de Catalunya and Arc de Triomf train stations will not be accessible on Monday.

Intercity trains will have two locomotives to avoid unnecessary drives around Barcelona.

Renfe has also reinforced the customer service and information points personnel at train stations.

Meanwhile, Barcelona's public transport (TMB) has increased its metro capacity to its maximum during the morning peak hours with 167 trains, two more than usual.

The peak hour started at 6 am, an hour earlier than usual, and during the day, there will be 15 more trains than usual depending on the time of the day. 

TMB will also reinforce the customer service agents at Cornellà Centre, Sants-Estació, Passeig de Gràcia, Badalona Pompeu Fabra, Clot, Rambla Just Oliveras, Fabra i Puig, and La Sagrera metro stations.

Repair will cost €15m and take two months to complete

The cost of repairing the damage caused by the copper theft is estimated at around €15 million and is expected to take around two months to fully restore normal service, according to Spanish transport minister Óscar Puente.

Puente also revealed that the incident will be reported to the court on Tuesday to "clarify who is responsible". He added that he could not "exclude the possibility of sabotage. 

The transport minister claimed that this is the most serious incident in Catalonia in recent years and that it occurred in a strategic location.

Catalonia has the highest number of copper cable thefts in Spain. In just four months, 46 incidents have been recorded, 32 of them in Barcelona alone.

Throughout the day, the Catalan police Mossos d'Esquadra and Adif traded blame over who was responsible for securing the rail network.

Antonio Carmona, the director of Renfe, said on Monday that the security of the rail network was the responsibility of the Mossos.

"I feel powerless: I ask the Mossos to put an end to the scourge of copper theft," he said on RAC1 radio. 

The director of the Catalan police Pere Ferrer claimed that Adif was primarily responsible because it was the company that owned the copper.

"If the infrastructure is not protected, it provides easier opportunities for thieves," he said. 

Delays and anger

"If Barcelona is blocked, it blocks everything, that's what happened here. They can't enter or leave and then it affects us all, all of Catalonia," Eudald Cardozo, student at the university of Lleida commuting from Gironella, said.

Travelers on the R4 south who intended to travel to Barcelona on Rodalies services this morning were left angry at the lack of transport options.

Passengers at L'Hospitalet de Llobregat were directed to the L1 metro. "It's shameful, it really is, but it is what it is," lamented Robert, who had to travel further to Granollers.

A technical incident has caused two hour delays on the R15 line between Tarragona and Barcelona starting from the 9.21 am service.

The situation has caused "anger" and resignation among users. "I have to go there for work and I will be late," Francisco Andrade explained to the Catalan News Agency.

Andrade added that he was not surprised at the lack of service, as it has been "becoming more and more decadent" in recent years.

In fact, several users called the day's delayed services "normal". "If they hadn't told me that copper was stolen yesterday, I would have thought it was just another day," said Paula Moreta.

Similar emotions are felt in Manresa, where R4 commuters feel "powerless" at the situation. 

"It's quite terrible because there's not a week that nothing happens, there is always some delay, and many times if my father didn''t bring me, I would arrive late or not arrive at all," student of the Autonomous University of Barcelona living in Manresa, Jan Gatuelles, said.

There was less activity than normal at the train station on Monday morning as many passengers had already chosen to take alternative routes to Barcelona, such as the FGC train, buses, or private cars.

Despite this, the 8.48 train hadn't passed by 10.30 and passengers were left waiting. Ariel, who had to go to work in Sabadell, lamented that the FGC alternative is useless for her. 

"It's furiating because it's the only transport to the town. If there was a bus, there would be no problem but there isn't one and the other train doesn't pass by Sabadell so it's complicated because we are isolated," She said.

Passengers on the RG1 and R1 lines who ended their journey in Badalona on Monday were left ruing their commute will take "20 or 30 minutes more than usual."

Alba Hernández, a regular passenger who goes from Montgat to the Zona Franca industrial area of Barcelona where she works, added "it's not the first time there have been incidents."

Users in Badalona criticized that the metro or bus alternatives will not cover demand, and demanded more coordination and information.