Commuter train slams into Barcelona platform injuring 54 people

A commuter train slammed into the end of the platform during the morning rush hour at a busy station in Barcelona on Friday, leaving 54 people injured, emergency services said.

Commuter train slams into Barcelona platform injuring 54 people
The commuter train slammed into barriers at the end of the track. Photo: AFP

One person was seriously injured, 19 were injured “less seriously” including the driver, and 34 were lightly injured in the accident at Francia station in the centre of the Spanish city, local emergency services said on Twitter.   

A French citizen and a Romanian were among the injured, a spokesman for the civil protection agency said. The rest were Spanish nationals.   

The regional train, travelling from the town of Sant Vicenc de Calders, ran into buffers at 7:15 am (0515 GMT), a spokesman for Spanish train operator Renfe said.

At the time of the accident many passengers were standing up in the busy carriages, which increased the number of injuries.   

“At the moment of impact I had the feeling of experiencing an earthquake. People were swaying back and forth and colliding into each other,” Lidia, who was travelling in the first carriage of the train, told Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia.

“Many people fell to the ground because people were standing up and I saw several people with cuts to the head and face from the blows they suffered when they fell,” she added.

Pictures from the scene posted on social media showed the interior of the train covered in shattered glass.

Others showed firefighters treating injured commuters on the platform.    

The train did not brake when entering the station, a security guard who works at the station, who declined to give his name because he was not authorised to talk to the media, told AFP.

“It was going at normal speed, it did not brake and it crashed into an iron pillar,” he said.

The front of the train was crumpled by the impact. Officials covered the damaged front in blue plastic, TV images showed.    

The streets around the station, Barcelona's second busiest which is known as Estacio de Franca in the regional Catalan language, were closed off to allow emergency vehicles to get through.

Investigation opened

An investigation into the cause of the accident has been opened, the spokesman for Renfe said.

The accident coincided with the start of a national rail strike which forced the cancellation of hundreds of trains.  

READ MORE: Friday rail strike promises chaos for holidaymakers in Spain

It was not immediately clear how many people were on the train at the time of the accident, an emergency services spokeswoman said.   

The head of the regional government of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, was at the scene of the crash and Public Works Minister Inigo de la Serna announced that he would travel to Barcelona.

“I am following closely the developments regarding the commuter train crash in Barcelona. I wish a quick and completely recovery for the injured,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a Twitter message.

The accident comes as Spain this week marked the fourth anniversary of one of the country's worst rail disasters in which 80 people died in 2013 near the northwestern city of Santiago de Compostela.

The train from Madrid crashed as it hurtled round a sharp bend at 179 kilometres per hour (110 miles per hour) — more than twice the speed limit for that stretch of track — in the village of Angrois.

The driver of the train is facing trial, but under pressure from associations representing families of the victims, officials have reopened their investigation to see if there was negligence on the part of the railway firm.

READ MORE: Spain ex-rail boss charged over crash that killed 80


MAP: Return of night trains across Europe comes a step closer

The return of night trains across Europe came a step closer this week when four European governments - Switzerland, France, Austria and Germany - signed a cooperation pact and laid out a timetable for the return of services.

MAP: Return of night trains across Europe comes a step closer

The four countries signed a cooperation pact on Tuesday to revive a Paris-Vienna service within a year.

The deal between Austria's OBB, France's SNCF, Germany's Deutsche Bahn and Switzerland's CFF, signed during a meeting of EU transport ministers, aims to have the service running by December 2021.

Tuesday's agreement was aimed at resolving problems that have held back relaunching night services and ensure better commercial cooperation.

While for some, night trains hark back to an earlier time, these officials see them as a key element for the future as Europe strives to reduce its carbon emissions.

“It is clear to me that night trains are the ecological alternative to short-haul flights and car journeys,” said Austrian Transport Minister Leonore Gewessler.

“It's great cooperation of which I am proud and a strong signal for the green transport demanded by many,” said Alain Krakovitch, General Director of French state rail operator SNCF.

Deutsche Bahn CEO Richard Lutz told POLITICO that it was “a huge economic challenge” to run night trains up until around 2015. “But in recent years, we’ve seen an increase in demand, particularly from young people,” he said.

Supporters believe night trains will offer a sustainable alternative to some late night and early morning flights. Those behind the plan claim the amount of CO2 produced per passenger is ten times less on a night train from Paris to Vienna than on a flight on the same route.

An Amsterdam-Cologne-Zurich service is also on track for December 2021 as well as a Zurich-Barcelona train in December 2024.

Austria's OBB has been working for several years to bring back night train services, which withered away as cheap air travel boomed in Europe.


The firm hopes to see the number of international night trains grow from 19 to 26 within four years, with passenger numbers climbing from 1.8 to 3 million per year.

Much work still needs to be done and complications lie ahead before the services become operational.

Operators will have to build suitable carriages which will be expensive and harmonise many of technical specificities, particularly around safety which are different across the rail networks.

What's clear is that rail operators working together will be key.

“Cooperation, in favour of the development of night trains in France and in Europe, makes it possible to pool the strengths of all four partners,” read a joint press release.

But “public financial support will undoubtedly be essential to support the economic model of these night services”.

This financial support has not been laid out to date.

In June a separate plan was laid out for a European ultra-rapid train network that would see Berlin linked to Paris in just four hours.

The planned timetable is as follows:

December 2021

Zurich – Amsterdam

Paris – Vienna

December 2022

Zurich – Rome

December 2023

Berlin – Paris

Berlin – Brussels

December 2024

Zurich – Barcelona