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Cremallera de Montserrat

The Pont del Centenari bridge.
Locale North of Barcelona
Opened 1892, reopen June 6, 2003
Closed May 12, 1957
Owner Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya
Operator(s) Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya
Track gauge 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in)
Electrification 1500 V DC Overhead line
Operating speed 30 km/h (18.6 mph) on rack 45 km/h (28.0 mph) adhesion
Maximum incline 15.6%
Rack system Abt
The rack railway upper terminus, with the platforms below the car park. The stations of the two funiculars can also be seen.
Trains in the underground platforms at the upper terminus.

The Montserrat Rack Railway or Cremallera de Montserrat is a mountain railway line north of Barcelona in the Catalonia region of Spain. The line runs from Monistrol de Montserrat to the mountain-top monastery of Montserrat.

The line is 5 km (3.1 mi) long and has a rail gauge of 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in). The first 1 km (0.6 mi) of the line, between Monistrol and the only intermediate station at Monistrol Vila, is operated by conventional adhesion. The remainder of the line is operated as a rack railway using the Abt system, overcoming a height difference of 550 m (1,804 ft) with a maximum gradient of 15.6%. The line is electrified with an overhead supply at 1500 V DC.

The line is operated by the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC).



A line on this route was originally opened in 1892. Competition arrived in 1930, in the form of the Aeri de Montserrat, an aerial cable car that also carries passengers to the monastery. A narrow road also reaches the monastery. After poor financial results and an accident in 1953, the rack railway line was closed on May 12, 1957.

However over time the Aeri and road became unable to handle the increasing number of visitors to the monastery. After many years of planning, a program began to rebuild the rack railway in 2001, and the line re-opened in its modern form on June 6, 2003. In its first 12 months of operation, the Montserrat Rack Railway carried 462,964 passengers. The heaviest traffic was in August 2003 with 63,692 passengers, and the lightest in February 2004 with 22,996 passengers.


The line's most significant engineering work is the Pont del Centenari bridge, which is 480 m (1,575 ft) long and 5 m (16 ft 4.9 in) wide, crossing the River Llobregat. Its nine sections are between 35 m (115 ft) and 55 m (180 ft) long and it was designed as a lattice of steel tubes to give it a light appearance and minimise its visual impact. It is supported by eight pillars with maximum height of 37 m (121 ft).

The line is operated by five low-floor electric motor coaches of type Stadler GTW, built by Stadler Rail in Switzerland, and numbered AM1-AM5. These cars are equipped for adhesion and rack propulsion and can each carry up to 200 passengers. They are air-conditioned and have panorama windows offering a good view over the environment. Trains run at up to 30 km/h (18.6 mph) on the rack section and 45 km/h (28.0 mph) on the adhesion section. The line also has a 1930 built electric locomotive, E4, transferred from the Vall de Núria Rack Railway for use on works trains.


Cremallera de Montserrat
Track turning from right
Monistrol de Montserrat Logotip FGC.png FGCBarcelona R5 Logo.png 
Track turning left
Transverse track + Unknown route-map component "uINTa"
Transverse track
Transverse track + Unknown route-map component "uINTa"
Track turning from right
 Logotip FGC.png FGCBarcelona R5 Logo.png Montserrat-Aeri
Pont del centenari  
Unknown route-map component "uWBRÜCKE1" Urban straight track Track turning left
  Logotip FGC.png Línia Llobregat-Anoia de FGC
Unknown route-map component "uHST" Urban straight track
Cremallera de Montserrat  
Unknown route-map component "uPSL"
Urban straight track + Aerial tramway
  Aeri de Montserrat
Urban straight track Urban straight track Unknown route-map component "uHSTa"
 La Santa Cova
Enter urban tunnel Urban straight track Unknown route-map component "uPSL"
  Funicular de la Santa Cova
Unknown route-map component "utKBFe" + Hub
Unknown route-map component "uHSTa" + Hub
Unknown route-map component "uKBFe" + Hub
Unknown route-map component "uHSTe" + Hub
Funicular de Sant Joan  
Unknown route-map component "uPSL"
Ermita de Sant Joan 
Unknown route-map component "uHSTe"

Both the rack railway and the Aeri connect with the FGC's Línia Llobregat-Anoia railway from Barcelona Plaça d'Espanya station to Manresa. The rack railway connects at Monistrol-Enllaç, also known as Monistrol Central. A track connection is provided at Monistrol to allow rack railway cars to run to and from their depot, which is in nearby Martorell.

An hourly service is operated between Monistrol-Enllaç and the summit, connecting with FGC trains to and from Barcelona and Manresa. Additional trains operate between Monistrol Vila, where the line has a car park with 1000 spaces, and the summit.

The FGC also operates two funicular railways from near the summit station of the rack railway. The Funicular de Sant Joan ascends to the mountain top, whilst the Funicular de Santa Cova descends to a shrine lower down the mountain.


External links

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