The route we propose is the northernmost end of the railway line that used to run all the way from Barcelona. The main purpose of the line was to carry coal from the slopes of the Sierra Caballera at Ogassa, a few kilometres away from the historic city of Sant Joan de les Abadesses, to the port and the wealthy industrial area of Barcelona.
In fact it was a mining company, Ferrocarril y Minas de San Juan de las Abadesas, which undertook to build this complicated line which climbed laboriously along the banks of the river Ter. The passenger service, inaugurated in 1880, only ran as far as Sant Joan. The line was run as an independent operation by the original company for a number of years before the powerful Compañía de los Ferrocarriles del Norte de España, or Compañía del Norte as it was popularly called, took the line over and integrated it into its extensive Catalan network.
In the 1920s the entire line was electrified, which helped to improve the railway’s performance. It was in that same decade when business on the final section of the line was boosted by the traffic generated by the new state-built Ferrocarril Transpirenaico line, from Ripoll to the Spanish-French border between Puigcerdà and Latour-de-Carol.
Later, the slump in the local mining industry caused the final section of this railway, between Ripoll and Ogassa, to go into a decline too. While at first this only affected goods traffic, the lack of maintenance and the gradual deterioration of the tracks caused a steady fall in passenger numbers. In 1980 all traffic was temporarily suspended for reasons of safety, and in 1985 the line was finally closed, never to reopen