Renfe, Spain’s state-run railway operator, has announced an €850 million investment for the purchase of 97 new trains for Catalonia’s Rodalies commuter rail system.
The company signed an agreement with Alstom, Stadler, and CAF to build these new trains at an event that took place in Barcelona’s Sant Andreu train maintenance facility on Thursday.
The new trains, which will have Wi-Fi, charging stations, more comfortable seating, and bike areas, will be able to carry up to 900 passengers, but, as Renfe president Isaías Táboas explained, will take up to 8 years to build.
Spain’s transport minister Raquel Sánchez argued that the new trains will “increase the reliability of the network and its punctuality.”
According to Táboas, however, only 1% of delays are due to issues with the trains themselves, which on average are around 20 years old. The Renfe president also said that 93% of trains are on time.
With this latest investment and renovation works at Barcelona’s Sagrera station, the operator hopes to be able to accommodate 600,000 passengers on a daily basis in 2030, up from the 400,000 the network currently has.
The state of the Rodalies rail network has long been a point of contention in Catalonia, with local residents and Catalan politicians frequently complaining of delays, cancellations, and other incidents while also calling for increased investment in infrastructure from Spain.