A copper theft causes chaos in Rodalies on election day and it is unknown when normality will return

A new episode of copper theft in the early hours of this Sunday at the Montcada Bifurcació facilities has caused an overvoltage and has generally affected the Rodalies service, causing cuts on all lines and leaving Barcelona with hardly any trains since early morning.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
11 May 2024 Saturday 23:23
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A copper theft causes chaos in Rodalies on election day and it is unknown when normality will return

A new episode of copper theft in the early hours of this Sunday at the Montcada Bifurcació facilities has caused an overvoltage and has generally affected the Rodalies service, causing cuts on all lines and leaving Barcelona with hardly any trains since early morning. tomorrow. According to the latest information, the Rodalies trains on the R2 Sud line are now operating normally, starting and ending at the Barcelona Sants station, while the R3 does not operate and the R4 Nord does so between Cerdanyola to Manresa and Lleida. Thousands of passengers have been affected and at this time it is still unknown when the service will be restored and if the incident may even last into Monday.

The Ministry of Transport suspects that it could be something more than a simple theft of copper and that it would be an “intentional action” to generate chaos in the service coinciding with election day. The Generalitat has urged the Government to solve the “intolerable chaos” in this service on a day of regional elections.

Representatives of the Generalitat, Renfe, Adif, Barcelona City Council, Mossos, TMB and the Government subdelegation are holding a meeting this Sunday afternoon to design a public transport plan in the event that the incident is not resolved before the start. of the week.

“The situation is very complex and minute by minute we are seeing what can be done and how circulation can be expanded. “Today is a very complicated day in Rodalies,” said the director of Rodalies, Antonio Carmona, who pointed out that the Mossos have been asked to “extremely” monitor the transport network. In addition to the theft of 40 meters of copper cable, three railway substations have been charred.

María de Mar Ruiz, head of Communication at Adif, has confirmed that this is the most important damage in recent times due to a copper theft, since it has occurred at a very important communication hub.

Due to this overvoltage, small fires have occurred in different tunnels in Barcelona. One of them at the La Sagrera station, where up to eight Barcelona Firefighters crews have moved. The smoke generated has forced the closure of the station, which has already been reopened. At the same time, different lines of the city's metro have been affected, such as L1, L5, L9 and L10N.

The infrastructure manager Adif has reported that it cannot establish a forecast for the recovery of Rodalies train traffic in the city of Barcelona “given the severity, dispersion and scope of the damage caused” by the copper theft this morning on the network. railway.

Adif technicians are working to resolve the incident, but there is no provision for normalization of the service nor is it possible to guarantee another type of rail service, which is why it is recommended to use other means of transport.

Rodalies informs in a statement that the robbery has also affected the substations, which prevents trains from running through the tunnels of Barcelona and between the stations of the stretch between Maçanet-Granollers-El Clot, and in the Maçanet-Mataró section - The Clot Nor can they drive through the Montcada Bifurcació and Montcada stations.

The majority of trains do not arrive or leave Barcelona, ​​according to the latest information. The service is provided in a precarious manner with less frequency and increases in travel times and only for the following routes: there is no service between Barcelona and the airport, on the R1, they circulate between Maçanet and Badalona, ​​from where travelers are directed to the Metro ; The R2 Sud line trains operate normally, starting and ending at Barcelona Sants station; on the R2 north they circulate between Moncada Reixac and Maçanet; in R3 there is no service; The R4 North runs between Cerdanyola and Manresa/Lleida and the R4 South runs between Barcelona Sants and Vilafranca/Sant Vicenç de Calders.

According to Civil Protection, in the case of the R7 and R8 and also the R2 north there is alternative road service. The closure of train circulation is maintained on the R1 between Arenys and Maçanet, the R11 between Barcelona and Maçanet and the R3. The R2 south trains stop at all stations, but the trains leaving and arriving at Vilanova i la Geltrú do not run. On the R4 there is alternative transport between Cerdanyola and Fabra and Puig and the southbound trains start and end at Bellvitge.

In the case of the R13, R14, R15, R16 and R17, circulation is restored and trains stop at all stations on the Barcelona-Sant Vicenç de Calders route. In the case of the R11, circulation is limited between Moncada and Portbou and the trains stop at all the stations between Moncada and Maçanet, with stops between all the stations between Montcada and Maçanet.

Adif has explained that the copper theft was recorded around four in the morning in the electrification system in the area of ​​the Montcada Bifurcació station (Barcelona), which has led to “various fires in the wiring of the signaling system.” and interlockings in the surroundings” of the Catalan capital, which affects “all the lines of the suburban network.”

“Signalling, communications and security facilities, point changes and other equipment are affected, which impedes circulation. The platforms of the Passeig de Gràcia station have also been evacuated due to the presence of smoke in the tunnel,” Adif reported.

The situation does not affect the passage of the AVE that ends its journey in Figueres-Vilafant (Girona) or the long-distance trains that run on conventional gauge.

Civil Protection, faced with the consequences of this copper theft, activated the FERROCAT plan in the pre-alert phase.

The Government has described as “intolerable” the widespread incidents that are occurring this Sunday in the Rodalies service that may “affect” the right of Catalans to vote in the regional elections on May 12.

In an appearance to report on the start of election day, the vice president of the Government, Laura Vilagrà, thus asked the Minister of Transport, Óscar Puente, to “restore” normality “as soon as possible” in the railway service, after the “ “intolerable and unacceptable” chaos of the day, while urging him to apologize to citizens.

Election day has started normally with the constitution of the polling stations and the opening of the polling stations, since no notable incidents have been recorded beyond some specific delays.

The union of Workers' Commissions of the railway sector has condemned the acts of sabotage produced in the railway infrastructure and has added in a statement on social networks that these actions "put the safety of the workers at risk and cause serious harm to the workers." the users".