A Different Way to Build a Metro? | Barcelona Line 9

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This Post Has 45 Comments

  1. They're separate lines. Edit: a new yorker and lets just say we're not much of a fan of having branches being considered part of the same line

  2. in cramped space, where cut-and-cover is possible, with this theory, it could be an option to make double-decker tunnel and it would be also the same price as an standard cut-and-cover tunnel.

  3. Just a small clarification: all stations already built in L9-10 provide escalator access. No station has elevator-only access, as I understood you said in the video.

    And about wether it shoud be considered one line or two, in my opinion for wayfinding purposes (and therefore officially) it should be considered as two different lines. Keep in mind that the paths of each line does not change (e.g. L10 will always go from the Zona Franca branch to the Gorg branch and viceversa, and in order to go to the Can Zam branch you would have to change). Also, in all other metro lines in Barcelona all trains complete the line entirely, so people are not used to checking the destination of a specific train if they know it is the correct line.

    Obviously, if we're comparing for example different metro systems of different cities, we should consider L9&10 as one line because they act as one for most of the lenght.

    I'd also like to say that, IMO, the platforms are too narrow for the demand that the completed lines will have, considering that there's only one entrance/exit to each platform and that people don't tend to move along the platform when they reach it, instead choosing to wait near the entrance/exit.

    So… sorry for my kind of broken English :'( Thank you for the very informative content that you always make, and let's hope the lines are finished by 2029, as announced! 😀

  4. What I also quite like is the passenger evacuation concept on Barcelona's Line 9. Because the line is fully automated and there is no drivers stand in the way, the whole front or back of the train can open up to provide emergency egress for the passengers. A ramp then unfolds which makes it also possible for wheelchair users to evacuate on their own. This is also aided by the lack of ties between the tracks, which lessens the chance of people tripping in the tunnels.

  5. The gain for branching without fly over I did not see coming ! Super 👍. I wouldn’t be personally confortable with the « 100% elevator » approach, though.

  6. While I kinda get your point about not wanting to give them credit for building two lines I think having them as two lines makes sense from a navigation point of view. It’s much easier to say for instance: “You can take line 9 or 10 from platform X to get to station Y” for main branch stations while saying “you can take line 9 from platform X to station Z” for sub branch stations. It’s essentially how it works now but instead of looking for trains going to a certain destination you can just look for a number and colour

  7. The local bookies are taking bets on which will be finished first: The Line 9/10 core tunnel, or Estació Barcelona-La Sagrera. It's pretty much a 50/50 toss-up at this point, but if you suggest either will be finished before 2027 you literally get laughed at. xD This city's done some really cool things with its transit system, but the one thing it is not good at is doing anything on time or under budget. >.<

    I wish they'd retrofit the other lines with the new trains, though, even if they have to retain the driving cabs, 'cause they're so much nicer than the other lines' trains.

  8. The line 9 TBM was stopped for 10 years and just resumed boring in July ‘22. I think the delay was more political/budgetary than technical.

  9. It concerns me that those emergency exit stairways may be comparable to climbing the stairs of a 15 storey building

  10. One thing I am curious: Do you think the laws governing accessibility (not actual accessibility, as you point out regarding the actual amount of elevator needed) affect the decision BART takes vs Barcelona?

  11. Used to follow this line because I loved the idea and still think it can be the best. Sure it has lots of issues being built but it's a new thing and ideally they learnt from their lessons so the next city to use the same design can build it much quicker and cheaper.
    There's lots more potential huge benefits that never ever get mentioned. The biggest is that its essentially unlimited futureproofed. Like how Elizabeth Line is designed for 11 car trains despite current trains being 9 cars long, this line can be designed for limited cars. Because the station is in the tunnel as long as rooms are only built at one end of the platform on the other end you could theoretically extend the platform as much as you want, for essentially free. Make the trains 6 cars now, then in 30 years make them 12 cars if you have to, the room is right there. This is impossible for other metro lines and if it was cities would pay many billions to extend trains on each line by just 30% let alone 100%. No need to increase the frequency of trains to a headache amount, just make the trains longer. Another big benefit is free emergency escape access, there's space along side the track to walk to the next station safely, I think this is a UK requirement now. Another benefit is some engineering work can potentially be done during the day, on the Tube I've had a work time frame of like 90 mins before.

    Oh adding a new entrance is another benefit. Double the platform length and you'd probably want to add another entrance, this is a nightmare or impossible for traditional lines but if it's just 6 lift shafts on the other end of the platform then it's "easy".

  12. I was so tripped out when i went down about 6 flights of escalators in Barcelona to get to line 9 a few months back. Now i know, great video. thanks!

  13. This video caused me to do a web search for "spiral escalator." Totally a thing! No idea about reliability, but they exist.

  14. With Bart I don’t think it will be fine as not too many people use Bart, mostly just commute a few stops, and for longer trips car are just better- and Bart did get new trains that are narrower then the old ones and the new ones are already in operations and they are starting to slowly faze out the old trains

  15. Numbering lines sharing tracks the same makes numbering completely useless, might as well not number the lines.

  16. Barcelona did so many things right, that the flaws are even more jarring. Like interchanges between metro lines. Forget about cross-platform changes, forget even short escalators, there will be 10 minutes walking in an underground labyrinth.

  17. Barcelona got unlucky with the economical crysis of 2008, from there Barcelona constructed a very little new tracks.

  18. Looking at the BART plan, unless the tunnels are genuinely huge, it looks like they’re going to have the same issues as the Northern Line at Clapham North & Clapham Common (and other stations where it’s already been fixed).

  19. 6:25 BART will not be building island platforms in the San Jose extension. The northernmost station at Little Portugal will use side platforms, and the stations in downtown will use the stacked configuration just like Barcelona.

  20. Can something like this be done in a city like New York for something like the second Avenue subway? I’m not sure how stations with a large amount of foot traffic can handle using only elevators

  21. When vienna was digging U3 trenches along Mariahilferstrasse, they managed to keep traffic (kind of) going, even tram, which was temporary tracks moved almost weekly. They managed not to drive high ticket stores from the street – it returned to its full glory as soon as the works finished. But often cities don't manage this with cut and cover approach.

  22. Cut and cover isn't used in London because the amount of property demolition required would be excessive. We also dont have long straight roads found in NYC. Remember that the District and Metropolitan lines were built using cut and cover and certainly large parts of the Met run under roads.

    On lifts: News for you – many London Underground stations did have lifts. They naturally have less capacity than escalators and quite a few stations were upgrade with escalators being added later.

  23. Another crazy feature of lines 9/10 is that each level of the tunnel is fireproof and acts as an emergency exit for the other. That means emergency shafts that are usually required on modern subways are not needed. Also, because all the width of the tunnel is used, there is no room for sidewalks. That is not an issue at because in case of an emergency, the front of the train opens and a ramp allows passengers to walk on the tracks. Walking on the tracks is not dangerous either since the line uses overhead wires.

  24. The station in the tunnel bore approach w stacked tracks that eliminate the need for large underground flying junctions is kind of elegant. I wonder if that empty space throughout the line between stations makes it easier to add in-fill stations later on. The station you showed appeared to have 4 elevators. For a busy station though, you would need A LOT of elevators so, maybe those stations also have escalators?

    I used to use the Forest Hill MUNI station in San Francisco all the time which is a very deep station w elevators. Personally, I don't like elevators, but Forest Hill has two elevators for each platform that were pretty big so it didn't feel like a coffin. The only waiting was if both elevators were at the top and you had to wait for them to descend. The elevators are pretty slow. Of course, as is often the case w MUNI, one elevator was often out of service but Forest Hill isn't a high volume station.

  25. I would love to see someone put a new cut-and-cover line into London now, everything down to around 35 meters is now pretty much like a bowl of spaghetti!

  26. Barcelona transit system was the most unpleasant I've experienced: even worse than Atlanta. Bad direction finding. Bad customer service. Bad ticket terminals. Crowded. The cops in the central station sure seemed corrupt. The city is neither pedestrian friendly or car friendly: worst of both worlds. It's on my list of places I never want to visit again.

  27. I wonder if this technology can work in New York City provided they need a four-track Second Avenue line south of 63rd Street this could have been also used to modernize Lexington Avenue a Quad stack tunnel if needed. In New York City you would have it configured as upper level local lower level Express examples are A train Nostrand Ave 4&5 trains 86th st

  28. There are some other things to say about Barcelona's line 9 (&10):
    – One of the TBM was left rusting and now it's completely useless. It lays under, more or less, Plaça Lesseps.
    – The second TBM was able to start boring again few months ago (hurray!!!)
    – The reason line 9 only uses one of the tracks at its provisional Barcelona terminal is because the lower deck is used to vacate debris from the boring machine that is operational.
    – Actually there had been troubles with a building's foundations, which were deeper than expected by its blueprints.
    – The delays in its construction comes mainly by the lack of resources to pursue its construction. The original plan was to have the line as a concession to a company, so the government pays a fee from a date (expected of opening) during a given time. Several delays made the government to start paying without the line being operative. In addition, 2008 crisis prevented the government to allocate more money to the finishing of the line.
    Barcelona's metro history provides two cases similar to this trouble with line 9 (& 10):
    – Even before the construiction of the first metro line (now number 3, green), Barcelona city council planed to open a new street through the old city center, now Via Laietana, under which was planed to build a subsurface tunnel for a metro. Tunels were left unfinished and to the open air for years, as money to end construction ran short. Finally the tunnels were finished and inculed, as a branch, for the Gran Metropolitano, after line IIIB. Nowadays can be seen in some parts the difference between the original tunnels and the works to complete it, for instance, right after the abandoned/unfinished station "Beatas/Banco".
    – Lines II and V: For a long time there had been a gap in the numbers of the lines in Barcelona. Number 2 was missing. It actually existed and operated for some years while being built, as well as line V (yes, in roman numerals back then). Both lines II and V meant to meet at Sagrada Famila, and diverge again: Line II under carrer Provença (nowadays line 5 station), Line V under avinguda Gaudí (abandoned station). Works for line II from Sagrada Famila to the north were uncompleted but finished at one of its ends. So, instead of having two parts of line II, the central side was joined with line V, the norther bit with line IV.

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