Belgians investments in the Catalonian Railways, 1890-1936


  • Alberte Martínez López Universidade da Coruña



Belgian Investment, Catalonian, Railways, XX Century


This article looks at Belgian companies with interests in the Catalonian railway sector. These began to be founded at the end of the 19th century, a process that is intimately linked to the rise of the Brussels stock exchange and the recently established legislative framework for railways which favoured narrow gauge lines, which most of these initiatives adopted. These companies were set up in areas with strong economic and demographic potential, and aimed to provide an outlet for industrial and agricultural production, connecting with broad gauge lines and the ports, and in particular with Barcelona.

The economic results were, in general, modest, due to the financial burden that the projects entailed. This situation worsened during the post war years and the great depression, which, in combination with the nationalistic climate of the age, forced the firms, either into liquidation, or to sell their assets to Spanish firms. In spite of the eventual decline of these companies, they were, in general, more firmly established, their results were better, and they survived longer than their counterparts in the rest of Spain.