Sagrera train station works hit by fresh delay: won’t be completed in 2020

Spanish Infrastructure Ministry vows to spend €500m but claims completion date set by Rajoy’s administration was “unrealistic”

The fast train station in La Sagrera (Barcelona), a key transport facility that is long overdue, will not be completed in 2020, contrary to what Spain’s previous minister for infrastructure, PP’s Iñigo de la Serna, had stated only a few months ago. On Tuesday the new socialist deputy minister, Pedro Saura, admitted that the completion date was “unrealistic” and that the deadline won’t be met. He assured that Madrid will spend up to €500m on the project, as had been forecast.

“We want to be realistic: it won’t be finished by 2020”, Saura said in an interview with Europa Press after a meeting with his Catalan counterpart, Isidre Gavín, and the City’s councillor for Urbanism and the Environment, Janet Sanz.

Mr Saura emphasised that the current pace of construction work —which started up again a few months ago following a hiatus that lasted over three years— is too slow for the project to be completed in the third quarter of 2020, which means that the estimation of Rajoy’s administration was “unrealistic”. He added that the La Sagrera project requires a boost and an accord, as well as realism.

The new deputy minister for infrastructure wouldn’t set a new completion date for the works and stated that “it is better to work and go one step at a time than to set a date because the public are tired”, he noted. Mr Saura gave his assurance that the Spanish government is committed to “reactivating” the La Sagrera project, which he referred to as “the most important mobility project in Europe”.

The City Hall has estimated that between 25 and 35 per cent of the project has been completed so far. Janet Sanz remarked that, in the light of that figure, the completion date “can’t be all that far off”, but that 2020 was not a realistic deadline; rather, she said that they needed to get down to work so that one day the new station will be finished.

The Sant Andreu Comtal station

On the subject of the building of the Sant Andreu Comtal station, as part of Barcelona’s metropolitan rail network, the local councillor explained that Madrid has vowed to put the construction contract out to tender in the autumn. The previous minister for infrastructure announced early this year that a new call for tenders would have to be made and Ms Sanz insisted that the deadline must be kept to in this case in order to win back the trust of the local residents: “the administrations must show that they mean business and their commitment is unwavering”.

The Catalan government’s deputy minister for public works promised to work hand in hand with the Spanish authorities so that the project will pick up the pace from now on. Gavin agreed with the other officials that there is a good understanding between them and that everyone is pleased to see the project revived.

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