Barcelona Metro Features
Scrolling down this page you will find information on the network, trains, stations, accessibility, safety ...
- The Barcelona Metro can be considered a real underground network as only a very short section of the whole network is on street level (between "Mercat Nou" and "Santa Eulàlia"-L1 and at "Can Boixeres" -L5). The total length is 76 km with 106 stations (13 interchange stations). 4 km more (L2) are under construction, so the total length will be 80 km with 111 stations (15 interchange stations). This does not include the Sarrià/Tibidabo-Line (FGC) which is 7 km long and has 13 stations. The Barcelona Metro Network is thus one of the longest in Europe (after London, Moscow, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Stockholm and St.Petersburg).
- L2, L3, L4, L5 and the FGC-Line have European international gauge (1,435 m) whereas L1 has Spanish gauge (1,672 m) which probably makes it the world’s broadest metro line (cars are therefore much more spacious). L1, L3 and L4 use third-rail electrical supply, whereas the other 3 lines (L2, L5 & FGC) use overhead catenary wires (rigid wire on the new Line 2).
- Trains are always formed by 5 cars on L1, L3, L4, L5, 3 cars on L2 (which also will have 5 cars once the full length of the line is reached) and 3 (longer) cars on the FGC-Line. Trains on this line are the most comfortable of the system as they’re prepared to run also on the out of town section of the line. They’re equipped with well working air-condition, upholstered seats and blinds (useful when running outside the tunnel on the suburban section). Trains on the 5 Metro Lines belong to two different generations. The older lines (L1 and L3) were newly equipped in the late 1980’s and are now served with very modern looking stock, white with black interior, air-condition, acoustic and visual station announcement, and as a special feature: light arrows showing which side the platform will be on at the next station (especially useful on the north branch of L1 (Fondo) and on L2. This line uses a new version of the same car type, an articulated convoy, so you can walk from one car to the next. L4 and L5, built in the 60’s and 70’s still use an older type of cars, somehow old-fashioned in appearance (purple seats on light green background), and especially uncomfortable in the summer, because not all trains have been equipped with air-condition yet, and if they have, they’re sometimes much too cold (bring a pullover!). But service on these lines is also improving: Acoustic station announcement has been installed recently into L5 trains!
- Outside on the street you can identify station entrances easily by the red & white M-logo you've seen on the Welcome Page of this homepage. Apart from "Fontana" on L3, all station vestibules are below street level which very often can be reached through several "metro mouths" (boques de metro).
- On street level you can always see a network map, the name of the station and the logo of the lines passing.
- Apart from the new stations on L2, only few other stations are ventilated which causes a big difference in temperature especially in the summer between the platform and the train.
- Most stations have side platforms, some have a middle platform, and a few on L1 have the so called Barcelona type platforms: a middle and two side platforms (also "Sagrera" on L5). "Universitat" on L1 has one platform on top of the other. To know which side you have to get off, new trains have a light arrow showing which side the platform is at the forthcoming station.
- For information displayed in stations see
Using the Metro
- Changing lines on the Barcelona Metro is an extra trip. People coming from Montréal or Berlin might be surprised by the bad planning in the past. Usually you have to walk through long and narrow tunnels, up some stairs and down again to get to the other platform. The construction of the new line 2 had this problem in mind, although it was only solved satisfyingly at "Paral·lel" (due to an existing station parallel to the L3 station) and "Universitat". "Passeig de Gràcia" and "Sagrada Família" are still like the older interchange stations, and the new elevators serve only the new L2 platforms. The worst of all interchange stations is "Passeig de Gràcia" between L3 and L2/L4 where you have to walk through a tunnel as long as three blocks of houses. Another weak point is "Plaça de Sants" - you can skip your visit to the gym if you use this interchange station daily! Keep this in mind when you plan a trip on the Barcelona Metro.
- Although most stations have escalators upwards, the system is not accessible for people with reduced mobility. The newest line, L2, was designed to give full accessibility even to wheel-chair users, with elevators from street level to the platforms.
- Generally the Barcelona subway system is a very safe place, although you'd better watch your belongings (like anywhere else) especially if you're an (obvious) tourist.