In railway and rapid transit parlance, the Spanish solution (also called Barcelona solution) is a station layout with two railway platforms, one on each side of the line, to speed up boarding and alighting: passengers board from one side and alight to the other. If there are three platforms (one island platform and two side platforms) with two tracks, generally the center platform will be a shared exit platform, as there is no benefit in segregating arriving passengers. At most locations doors for exit open a few seconds before those for entry.
The principle was first used in 1895 at the now closed King William Street tube station in London, but came into wide use on the Barcelona Metro in the 1930s, giving rise to its name. In the United States, the solution was first used in 1912 at Park Street Under on the MBTA's Red Line in Boston, and at Chambers Street on the New York City Subway in 1913, where the center platform is now closed.
On people movers at airports there are often dedicated platforms for boarding and alighting. This can have the additional advantage of preventing travellers heading in the wrong direction when alighting, and ensuring passenger segregation. The same principle is often used on ferries, monorails, and cable cars, fairground rides such as roller coasters, lifts (for instance on the London Underground) and in buildings such as theaters.
At a terminal station where trains are uni-directional, it is advantageous for the center platform to be for boarding and the side platforms to be for alighting. This permits an incoming train to enter on either track and remain in the station until it is ready to begin the next trip.
Sé on the São Paulo Metro is a recent example. Line 1 Blue (Linha 1 - Azul, Norte-Sul or North-South) uses this model at stations like Sé, a busy station due to Line 3 integration, and Line 3 - Red (Linha 3 - Vermelha, Leste-Oeste or East-West) uses this at Sé, Republic (Estação República), Itaquera, Barra Funda, and Luz.
In Hong Kong, the former Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC; now part of MTR Corporation) reconstructed the platforms at the checkpoint terminus, Lo Wu Station, to a similar layout. When the train stops, the doors on the alighting platform open and all passengers get off. Then the doors close and the doors on the boarding platform open.
In France, the principle is applied at the Line B platforms at Jean Jaurès on the Toulouse Metro, where Lines A and B connect.
On the London Underground system, Loughton tube station was designed to allow interconnection across the platforms with trains from beyond, though it is no longer operated on the principle.
- People's Republic of China
- Hong Kong
- Sentosa Station terminus along Sentosa Express at VivoCity.
- Changi Airport Skytrain terminus at every terminal between separation between Public and Transit Area between Terminal 2 and Terminal 3.
- Choa Chu Kang (LRT platforms) is the first station in Singapore to have an Island Platform upgraded to a Spanish solution platform. The main platform is still for boarding while the side platforms are only for exiting. However, as the new platform lack lifts, mobility impaired passengers would need to use the main platform's lifts instead.
- At Jurong East Station, the eastbound platforms (platforms B and C) utilize the Spanish solution. Passengers that are transferring from the North South Line to the East West Line would also board from one side, and passengers transferring the other way alights from the other, as trains terminating at the station alternate between platform A and platforms D/E.
- Meidling Hauptstraße Line U4 at the platform line of U6. This system ended when the U6 was re-routed to Längenfeldgasse.
- Stadion, on Vienna U-Bahn line U2, to allow faster boarding after events in the nearby Ernst-Happel-Stadion.
- Schottenring, on Vienna U-Bahn line U2 at the platform of line U4, as it was terminus of U2 until May 2008. Then, line U2 was extended to Stadion, Aspernstraße (October 2010) and Seestadt Aspern (October 2013).
- Barcelona Airport T2 station
- The train station at Barcelona airport has been updated from 2 tracks, each with a single platform; to a single track with a boarding platform one side and alighting platform on the other.
- Barcelona Metro
- Glòries, Clot, Navas, Fabra i Puig, Sant Andreu on line 1.
- Catalunya, Muntaner, La Bonanova, Sarrià and Avinguda Tibidabo on lines 6 and 7.
- Old Santa Eulàlia station (line 1), Catalunya line 1 temporary station, La Sagrera (lines 1 and 5), Passeig de Gràcia (line 3), Diagonal (line 3) and Correos ghost station (line 4) used to have this configuration.
- Madrid Metro
- Tower Gateway station was rebuilt from a two-platform island terminus to a two-platform single-track terminus, though in practice passengers are directed to alight via the north platform face and board via the south platform face.
- Gatwick Airport shuttle train between North and South terminals. Passengers wait on a central island platform & alight on side platforms
- shuttle transit beneath A, B and C gates at London Heathrow Terminal 5. In this particular example, it is used to maintain separation of arrivals & departures.
Stations where there are two platforms for one track, but passengers can board and alight from either side:
- Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
- Canary Wharf has six platforms serving three tracks. The central two island platforms are used for interchange between terminating & through trains & access from the ticket office while the side platforms have access into a shopping centre.
- London Underground
- Barking - eastbound District line
- Stratford - westbound Central line. Island platform for simpler interchange route to commuter rail & side platform for simpler access route to DLR platforms.
- Golders Green - turnback (reversible) line. The northbound line could be used this way, but platform 1 currently can only be accessed through a staff only area.
- Morden - platforms 3 and 4 of the three-track terminus (platform 1 is out of use, with doors opening onto platform 2)
- Uxbridge and Cockfosters - three-track termini where the centre track shares platform islands with the outer tracks
- White City and Loughton - central track which can be used by terminating trains from either direction; Spanish solution is used to maintain interchange.
- Manchester Metrolink
- Manchester Victoria station - station design under construction gives a central platform for cross-platform interchange onto and off services via Second City Crossing
- National Rail
- Finsbury Park - platforms 6 and 7 (doors generally open only on platform 7 as platform 5 is passed by high speed trains). Normally used by local services from London King's Cross.
- Guildford - platforms 6 and 7 flank the same track, but trains serve only Platform 6. Platform 7 forms an island with Platform 8. This is due to the live third rail on the side of Platform 7.
- Norwood Junction - platforms 1 and 2, "Up Local". Trains serve only Platform 1, as live third rail is on the side of Platform 2.
- Preserved Railways
The roughed-in centre platform at Toronto's Sheppard–Yonge subway station is intended for use as a Spanish solution when volumes increase and extra capacity is needed.
- Some stations in the New York City Subway are designed in the Spanish solution, but the side platforms at many of these stations have been closed:
- Woodlawn (side platforms closed)
- Wakefield–241st Street (side platforms closed)
- Pelham Bay Park (side platforms closed)
- Van Cortlandt Park–242nd Street (side platform closed)
- 96th Street (local tracks only, side platforms covered)
- 59th Street–Columbus Circle (express tracks only, center platform closed)
- 14th Street–Union Square (local tracks only, side platforms covered)
- Brooklyn Bridge–City Hall (local tracks only, side platforms covered)
- Chambers Street (easternmost three tracks only, formerly all tracks, center and eastern platform closed)
- Hoyt–Schermerhorn Streets (Fulton Street line express tracks only, outer platforms closed)
- Bowling Green (mainline tracks only; easternmost island platform has since been fenced off to northbound trains, and westernmost island platform has since been closed)
- Other stations, mainly express stations on three-track lines, have a Spanish solution for the middle track, but trains only open the doors on only one side, depending on the direction of travel, unless the station is being used as a terminal.
- Five PATH stations in New York City and New Jersey use at least some form of Spanish solution:
- Long Island Rail Road in the eastern suburbs of New York City:
- Metro-North Railroad in the northern suburbs of New York City:
- The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston, Massachusetts:
- Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority in Atlanta, Georgia:
- Walt Disney World Monorail System in Bay Lake, Florida:
- Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia International Airport Terminals A, B, and C & D on the SEPTA Airport Line use a form of the Spanish solution, because baggage claim at the airport is in a separate building connected to the main airport terminals by skyways. At these stations, there are two tracks, with a single island platform between them used both by all alighting passengers and by those boarding passengers who have not arrived from baggage claim (including both travelers with no checked baggage and airport workers), and a single side platform dedicated to boarding passengers who have arrived from baggage claim.
- Airport people movers:
Spanish solution in Brussels Rogier premetro station