Madrid–Barcelona railway

The Madrid–Barcelona railway is the conventional railway line linking the Spanish capital Madrid with the country's second largest city of Barcelona, Catalonia. It now primarily serves local commuter rail services and regional traffic since the opening of the Madrid–Barcelona high-speed rail line in 2008, prior to which only 1.98 million annual passengers travelled between the two cities.[1]

Madrid–Barcelona railway
Estación de Sigüenza. Vista general.jpg
Madrid–Barcelona railway
Operator(s)Renfe Operadora
Opened2 June 1859
Line length699.7 km (434.8 mi)
Track gauge1,668 mm (5 ft 5+2132 in) Iberian gauge
Operating speed160 km/h (99 mph)


The line serves important Spanish cities including Guadalajara, Zaragoza, Lleida, Reus and Tarragona. At Casetas the line forms a junction with the Casetas–Bilbao railway. Prior to the high-speed railway opening, journeys between Madrid and Barcelona on this railway took up to seven hours.[2]


The line is used by Cercanías Madrid services C-2 and C-7, C-1 of Cercanías Zaragoza, and Rodalies de Catalunya's R2 line; along with numerous regional services along various stretches of the line. The Regional Express service runs the full distance between Madrid and Barcelona, taking 9 hours and 24 minutes;[3] since the opening of the AVE high-speed rail line travel has been reduced to 2 hours and 30 minutes non-stop, freeing up the older slower line for other traffic.


  1. ^ Barcelona-Madrid high-speed line has had more than 85 million passengers 21 February 2018
  2. ^ "Trains in Spain signal the future". BBC News. 22 September 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Horarios PDF -". Renfe. Retrieved 31 August 2019.