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Rail Stories

Madrid - Keeping up with growth in Spain’s capital 

How our advanced rail control solutions and services are helping Metro Madrid manage urban growth and a rapidly-growing passenger base on one of the world’s oldest and longest metro lines.

Madrid is one of the world’s fastest growing metropolitan areas and home to Europe’s second-longest metro system. Its deep history began in 1916 under a royal decree from King Alfonso XIII who inaugurated Spain’s first ever metro line after cutting the ribbon in 1919. Over the years the network has been repeatedly enlarged to accommodate the Spanish capital’s growth, especially during Madrid’s economic revival in the 1970s. Today, this 13-line, 293-kilometre network connects the entire city and a large part of the suburbs as well as Mardrid-Barajas Airport. With 301 stations, over 1,500 escalators and 522 elevators, it’s one of the world’s ten-largest metro systems. It even includes a 200 square-meter underground archaeological museum.

Madrid’s metro is also the fastest, most efficient and reliable way of getting around the Spanish capital - as over 680 million passengers per-year have discovered. With passenger numbers increasing by up to 9% a year at the turn of the millennium, more urban mobility had become an urgent need in Madrid.

At nearly 300 kilometers in length, Madrid’s metro is Europe’s second-longest metro system.
Bombardier - Madrid - Keeping up with growth in Spain's capital

Managing growth with smart rail control

To cope with this increasing demand, Metro Madrid began to explore ways to increase passenger capacity. However, they sought to do it without interrupting services, which would mean inconveniencing millions of passengers and losing millions of euro. After in-depth discussions with Bombardier, a solution emerged and, in 2004, Metro Madrid signed a contract enlisting our Rail Control Solutions team to re-signall Line 1 (23 km / 33 stations) and Line 6 (24 km / 28 stations) with the BOMBARDIER CITYFLO 650 moving block communications-based train control (CBTC) solution. This innovative solution would increase capacity by reducing the distance required between trains operating on the same track.

In July 2008, the first CBTC-equipped train entered passenger operation on Line 6 under control of the CITYFLO 650 system. These first vehicles running in commercial operation immediately reduced headways and increased availability, meaning that more trains could run on the same track and infrastructure, without compromising safety. It’s estimated that these measures added 30% more passenger capacity to the line. Since then, the same success has been achieved on Line 1 where operation under control of the CITYFLO 650 CBTC system was initiated in May 2009. 

Cooperation between Bombardier and Metro Madrid meant Madrid’s Lines 1 and 6 were upgraded without a single second of lost revenue or disrupted passenger service.
Madrid metro

Empowering Madrid Metro

Our contributions to keeping Europe’s second-largest metro system go beyond increasing capacity and frequency with rail control, our services technicians have also helped Madrid Metro extend its fleet’s operation as part of a wider modernization programme.

In early 2019, teams working out of our Trapaga site in Spain handed over the final converted S3000 metro train. Over the last few years, the team had been working to convert 12 single-voltage metro trains to dual-voltage operation. Previously restricted to operation on the 1500V lines only, the upgraded metro trains are now able to provide further mobility by operating on Madrid metro’s 600V narrow gauge Line 5 as well. This innovative upgrade with Bombardier Transportation's propulsion equipment added remarkable flexibility to Metro Madrid’s fleet operation, enabling multiple line operation with existing vehicles.

Equipment teams working in our Tapaga site upgraded the propulsion equipment on 12 of Metro de Madrid's S300 metro trains

The project saw the S300’s existing BOMBARDIER MITRAC propulsion equipment upgraded with new filtering circuits, enhanced control for its resistive braking and added completely new control software to the traction converters, enabling them to operate on the dynamic curves and track profiles for the different power supplies used on each line. 

As of 2018, these upgrades have enabled Metro de Madrid to better serve their passengers by operating more modern, comfortable and better performing trains on Line 5, which had been previously limited to using only an older generation of rolling stock.

Madrid metro: fast facts

12th-longest rapid transit system in the world

293 km of track

680,000 annual trips

301 stations

12 lines

420 signalling lights

€1.50 single ticket

Featured video

The BOMBARDIER CITYFLO 650 is our cutting-edge CBTC solution designed for the railways of the future. It tackles the rail capacity challenge by giving operators the flexibility to safely and dynamically optimise headways.