Saturday, March 25

Experts warn that the Sants station could “collapse” due to the entry of another high-speed operator

The high-speed operator iryo will launch its services throughout Spain in November. In Barcelona, ​​the company plans to operate with 16 frequencies between Madrid and Sants station, but various experts warn that this is already “at the limit” and that the arrival of iryo could lead it “to collapse”. This is how the road engineer Carlos Vilés explains it in statements to ACN.

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Sants only has six routes for high speed. This, in itself, already supposes a limited space for all the trains to operate, but to the circulation we must add the maintenance tasks that the vehicles need. According to Vilés, the cleaning and logistics efforts are already limiting the capacity of the station, a fact that is aggravated when the trains must go to the workshops, which can only be reached by traveling several kilometers on a single track.

This overload is such that “many of the services must already be extended to Figueres (Girona) because Sants is completely at the limit”, according to Joan Carles Salmeron, director of the Center for Transport Studies (CET). In fact, part of the incidents that other operators suffer today, such as Ouigo, are already a consequence of the lack of space for maintenance, as Salmeron adds.

In this sense, Vilés warns that these problems derived from overload “are already being experienced in Atocha”, with episodes of collapse at rush hour, trains that are not ready on time or saturated boarding rooms. “We must wait for this to happen in Sants”, he warns.

Both experts consider that the way to prevent this collapse from occurring is to start up the maintenance and parking areas of the Sagrera station, which is undergoing improvement and expansion works. But this is not a short-term solution, because, in fact, last May the Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez, said that high-speed trains are not expected to reach La Sagrera until 2025.

Faced with this situation, Vilés aims to “reduce the waiting and stopping times” of the trains in Sants, as well as sending them to other cities such as Figueras or even Madrid, so that they can carry out their maintenance.

Adif denies the collapse

Sources from Adif, responsible for the management of Sants, affirm that “there is no possibility” of congestion. As they indicate, the capacity of all the Spanish stations, both for the greeting of trains and for their maintenance and rotation, was known by iryo at the time of establishing the frequencies and schedules.

Likewise, they assure that the company was not granted “more space than was available”. Adif has not indicated the specific data on the percentage of occupation of the station, but they insist that a “correct service” can be maintained.