Madrid - Barcelona - French border line

Barcelona - Figueres section

The full route between Barcelona and Figueres, with a total length of 131 km, went into commercial operation on January 9, 2013. The 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 infrastructures that have already been put into service.

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 between Figueres-Vilafant station and the Figueres - Perpignan international section.  

Thanks to the third rail that was 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 began on December, 21, 2010. This corridor combines international-gauge tracks and tracks with a third rail, thus achieving a new, fast freight-transport line between Spain and the rest of Europe. This is the first time in Spain that freight trains have travelled on a high-speed line.

The 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.This infrastructure has several outstanding features, such as its 30 tunnels, with a total length of 34.3 km, and 60 viaducts, with a total length of 12.6 km.

The construction of this section has brought significant benefits for the standard-gauge network and for urban planning in the different cities it passes through, thanks to works similar to those undertaken in towns on the Lleida–Barcelona section of this 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 into their urban environments, thereby increasing safety for citizens and for railway operation.

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


This tunnel connects what are to be Barcelona’s two high-speed stations:Sants station 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 that will now run through the new tunnel, following its entry into service.

On July 26, 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 works began on March 26, 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 tunnel’s route running alongside buildings that constitute 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 running under buildings, the route runs under Mallorca Street, Diagonal Avenue and Provença Street in the central district of Eixample.A comprehensive auscultation and control plan has been carried out, as well as complex engineering actions to guarantee safety at all times while building the tunnel, and to prevent any structural impact on buildings and terrain.



The new high-speed infrastructure runs under Sant Andreu district by means of a cut-and-cover tunnel between concrete walls. The standard-gauge lines of Maçanet and Mataró had to be moved and a new suburban train station was built due to the works on Sant Andreu Comtal station.



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


Most of the drilling (3,017 metres) was executed by an EPB (Earth Pressure Balance) tunnel boring machine. 


The tunnel boring machine, called "Montcada'', finished its boring work on September 28, 2011.


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




There has been an important urban integration of the railway in the town of Montmeló, 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 standard-gauge and high-speed lines.

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


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 it has two 240 m long underground platforms.

Since the new standard-gauge infrastructures were put into service on April 9, 2012, trains stopped running on the surface through Montmelo's town center, after more than 150 years doing so since the Barcelona - Granollers line's entry into service.



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

On July 7, 2011, the “Gerunda” TBM completed its boring work, after drilling 2.9 km. The tunneling was completed in just over a year and two months, since the tunnel boring machine started working on April 21, 2010.

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

The tunnel was to link to the Sarrià tunnel (bored out in the traditional method), thus creating an underground structure covering over seven kilometres to cross 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 works has been performed, which have 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 to the intermediate Parc Central area, where the access to the new platforms is located.

A transparent structure provides natural light to the underground area.

These new infrastructures will improve the urban planning and public transport system in Girona, allowing for 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 section and one wildlife crossing on the Riells - Massanes section.

Other significant actions include building overpasses, such as two gangways in the town of Vilafant, 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.

You may also be interested in