Photo Credit: HIPNOS

The Estación de Chamberí has been a witness to this growth. Although closed in 1966, its original structure is still visible from passing trains, a reminder of the origination of the Madrid Metro and its fascinating history.

Travelers on the Madrid Metro’s Line 1 (the “blue” line) may have noticed a brief glimpse of an old station between the Bilbao and Iglesia stops. This is the Estación de Chamberí, a relic of the Madrid Metro’s early beginnings. Opened in 1919, it was one of eight stations on the Metro’s first line, linking the system to the Plaza de Chamberí above. Over the decades, the Metro has grown to become one of the longest and most comprehensive metro systems in the world, and the Estación de Chamberí stands as a reminder of its origins. Although closed in 1966, its original structure is still visible from passing trains.

During the Spanish Civil War, the station served as a safe haven for the people of Madrid, providing shelter from the dangerous bombings and artillery attacks from the Nationalist forces and their Nazi allies. Many Madrileños would seek refuge at the station, sleeping there as they tried to escape the violence. Furthermore, the station even played an important role in powering the city, as several diesel engines located within the station were used by the Republican government to generate electricity.

As part of its progressive expansion, the trains on line 1 were extended in the 1960s. This sadly meant the end for Chamberí station. Unfortunately, due to the location of the station, built on a curve and close to both Bilbao and Iglesia, it was impossible to extend the platform, so it was closed on May 22, 1966. However, the rails were not moved and the trains were not rerouted, so passengers on trains passing through were able to catch a glimpse of this mysterious station for many years afterwards.

Visitors to Madrid can now marvel at the historical significance of Estación de Chamberí, thanks to the 2006 rehabilitation efforts that resulted in the museum, Andén 0. At this museum, they can explore the fully restored Estación de Chamberí, complete with old ticket offices, turnstiles, maps, and a film about the building of the Madrid Metro. This allows visitors to journey back in time to the transit system’s origins and gain a greater appreciation for the history of the Madrid Metro.

The main attraction of this museum is the beautifully reconstructed original advertisements that line the walls of the platform, composed of tiny, brilliantly-colored tiles. These advertisements have been carefully put back together and are just as they were in 1919. Although the station has long been abandoned, you may still hear the occasional rumble of a train passing through – but don’t worry, the trains are safely separated from the exhibit area by a clear glass barrier.

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