Madrid-Barcelona-French Border line

Barcelona-Figueres Section

Prince Felipe uncovers a plaque at Figueres station on the opening of the Barcelona-Figueres section (08-01-2013)

The full route between Barcelona and Figueres, with a total length of 131 km, went into commercial operation on 9th January 2013. Completion of the entire line between Madrid, Barcelona and the French border represents the beginning of a new stage in the development of rail transport between Spain and Europe.

It also improves the inter-regional transport system, supporting economic development in the areas through which it passes, with all that this means for job creation, social cohesion and urban transformation.

This section is part of the Mediterranean Corridor and is essential for increasing the competitiveness of passenger and freight services, as has been seen with the putting into service of infrastructures that have already been completed.

More than half of the entire route of the Barcelona-French Border high-speed line had already been in operation since late 2010, when 75 kilometres were put into service between Mollet and Girona Mercancías, and on the stretch between Figueres-Vilafant station and the Figueres-Perpignan international section.  

Thanks to the third track, installed on different sections of the conventional network, transport services on the first international gauge cross-border freight corridor began between the Port of Barcelona and France, combining international gauge and track with a third rail, in this way achieving a new rapid freight transport line between Spain and the rest of Europe. This is the first time that freight trains have run on a high-speed line in Spain.


Barcelona-Figueres Section Map

Construction of this section was highly complex due to difficult terrain and its route across major urban areas. 

The line's route, starting at Barcelona Sants station and ending at the connection with the Figueres-Perpignan international section, runs through the provinces of Barcelona and Girona. Outstanding features of the infrastructure include its 30 tunnels, with a total length of 34.3 km, and 60 viaducts, with a total length of 12.6 km.

Construction of this section has brought significant benefits for the conventional gauge network and for town planning in the different cities it passes through, thanks to works of covering and burying similar to those undertaken in towns on the Lleida–Barcelona section of the same line (Lleida, Vilafranca del Penedès and El Prat de Llobregat).

New opportunities for economic development have thus been created while fully integrating the railway lines in their urban environments, thereby increasing levels of safety for citizens and in operating the railway.

All of the activities confirm Adif’s position as a world leader in railway infrastructures construction.

  • Barcelona Sants – La Sagrera Tunnel
  • Sant Andreu Comtal
  • Montcada i Reixac
  • Montmeló
  • Modernisation of Riells i Viabrea-Breda station
  • Girona Tunnels


Barcelona high-speed tunnel bored, 26th July 2011

This tunnel connects what are to be Barcelona’s two high-speed stations: Sants and the future La Sagrera station, currently under construction.

The new tunnel has improved all the city’s railway services by removing from other tunnels in Barcelona the medium and long distance traffic now running in it, following its entry into service.

On 26th July 2011, the Barcino tunnel boring machine completed its drilling work, having tunnelled a distance of almost 5.1 km below Barcelona. This represents one of the most decisive advances towards putting the Barcelona-French Border High-Speed Line into service in 2012.

The tunnel is 5.8 km long, of which almost 5.1 km was drilled by the tunnel boring machine. Drilling work began on 26th March 2010 and lasted exactly 16 months. During this period, there were four scheduled maintenance halts.

This action by Adif has been endorsed by internationally renowned agencies, institutions and technical experts. The difficulties always faced when building an urban tunnel were added to by the problem of the tunnel’s route running alongside buildings that are important examples of Barcelona’s architectural and cultural heritage: the Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà and Torre del Fang.

In order to increase safety, instead of passing under buildings the route but passes under Mallorca Street, Diagonal Avenue and Provença Street in the central district of Eixample. A comprehensive auscultation and control plan has been applied, as well as complex engineering actions to guarantee safety at all times in construction of the tunnel, and to prevent any structural impact on buildings and terrain.


Tunnelling works in Sant Andreu Comtal

The new high-speed infrastructure runs underground with an external tunnel between concrete walls. The conventional gauge lines of Maçanet and Mataró had to be moved and a new Cercanías suburban train station built.


Montcada tunnel bored (28-07-2011)


A 3,709-metre tunnel was built for the track to cross the town, and runs under the Ripoll River. It crosses the urban area under the railway corridor for the Barcelona-Portbou conventional gauge line.  


Most of the boring (3,017 metres) was executed by the EPB type Earth Pressure Balance Shield). 


The tunnel boring machine, called “Montcada”, completed the work on 28th September 2011.


A comprehensive control and monitoring plan has guaranteed safety at all times in construction of the tunnel, and prevented any structural impact on buildings and terrain.


There has been an important urban integration of the railway in this municipality, thanks to the agreement reached in December 2005 between the Ministry of Public Works, the Regional Government, Adif and Montmeló Town Council to tunnel the conventional gauge and high-speed lines.

The actions involved building two tunnels for both lines, both of them 1,340 metres long, with screens. Two new viaducts over the Congost River and a new station for the suburban train services were also built.

Façade of the new Montmeló Suburban Station

The new station is a modern building that is fully accessible from both sides of the town. Its surface area is about 1,250 m2 and has two 240 m long underground platforms.

When the new conventional gauge infrastructure is put into service on 9th April 2012, it will mean that the trains will stop running through the town of Montmeló, which has been happening since the Barcelona-Granollers line was put into service 150 years ago.


Girona 2 tunnel bored on 7th July 2011

Completion of work by the “Gerunda” tunnel boring machine marked a successful end to one of the line’s most complex sections. 

The “Gerunda” tunnel boring machine ended its digging work on 7th July 2011 after boring 2.9 km. The boring was completed in just over a year and two months, from when tunnel boring machine was put into action on 21st April 2010.

The Gerunda tunnel boring machine on its way through the station structure

In September 2010, boring of the first tunnel between the Mas Xirgu estate and Parc Central came to an end. Afterwards, after covering the half-kilometre of the new station building, “Gerunda” started on the second tunnel, going down from 26 to 40 metres deep to cross under the River Ter, to then head through the Fontajau district towards the shaft.

The tunnel will link to the Sarriá tunnel (bored out in the traditional method), in the end creating an underground structure covering over seven kilometres and crossing Girona.

Safety has been a priority across all planning and performance stages. With the help of around 2,800 control mechanisms, continuous monitoring of the work has been performed which has not affected either the building structures or the land.

In the new station, high speed services are provided with 4 tracks and 2 platforms measuring 450 metres.

Travellers head from the present main hall, via provisional access, to the intermediate Parc Central area, where access to the new platforms is located.

A transparent structure will provide natural light to the underground area.

These new infrastructures will improve the town planning and public transport system in Girona, allowing more services and shorter journey times across the board.


A significant part of the Barcelona-Figueres route passes through areas of great environmental value, such as the Montseny and Montnegre-Corredor nature reserves. In order to ensure permeability for crossing fauna, three specific crossings have been built on the Sant Celoni-Riells stretch and one wildlife crossing on the Riells-Massanes stretch.

Other significant actions include building overpasses, such as two gangways in the Vilafant municipality, river channelling and urban restoration operations in cities, including landscaping and tree planting.

In order to minimise the new high-speed line's impact, other integration measures have been taken, such as constructing 69 acoustic screens with a total length of 18.1 km.


Piac image on the Network

The PIAC in the Network is a space for communication and permanent service to the citizen that offers information on the construction of new high-speed lines.

It also offers personalised information to all the enquiries received through the e-mail addresses provided, whether they are related to construction processes under way and mobility, or to other aspects that affect railway integration in the urban setting, in connection with the construction of railway accesses in the cities.

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