In Spain, as in many other countries in the world, the railway experienced an unprecedented boom as a result of industrialization. Proof of this is the multitude of abandoned railway stations scattered throughout the country and which fell into disuse after the appearance of new and modern communication systems.
This means of land transport was a real boom for communications and for the transport of raw materials throughout the Iberian Peninsula. Did you know that no train ever passed through many of those now abandoned railway stations? Join us on a tour of some of these old railway skeletons to learn about their current state and the reconversion that some have experienced.
In Spain there are more than 7000 kilometers of disused railway line. In some cases, these were converted into Greenways, in others, they were devoured by weeds and forgotten. There are also many closed stations, in some spectacular cases and in others mistreated by vandals.
Others, on the contrary, have fallen into the hands of entrepreneurs who have been in charge of converting them into beautiful and welcoming rural lodgings, restaurants and halts in the middle of the mountains. The regional administrations and provincial councils themselves have also been in charge of buy or lease said stations in order to safeguard that railway heritage scattered throughout Spain.
4 abandoned railway stations
Either way, the railway heritage in this country is infinite. For this reason, next, we will go through some of the most emblematic stations and we will make a small x-ray of them so that you know something more about this type of industrial heritage.
1. La Fregeneda (Salamanca)
This international station was part of the line between Pocinho (Portugal) and La Fuente de San Esteban. It was used to travel or transport goods between Salamanca and Porto. As in most cases, in 1985 the Spanish section was closed due to lack of profitability.
In addition to the station, it is worth remembering that this is the territory of the La Fregeneda or Las Arribes greenway. This begins at the Fuente de San Esteban Station and is 77 kilometers long, up to La Fregeneda station.
In any case, the last 17 kilometers are the most spectacular. In them, the route is framed next to the rivers Morgáez and Águeda and runs through up to 20 tunnels and 13 metal viaducts.
2. Berdia (A Coruna)
In this Galician town, a few kilometers from Santiago de Compostela, now it is called Santa Mariña de Verdía, although the inhabitants assure that it has always been written with “B”, as we can see on the sign of this old station that was part of the Santiago-La Coruña line.
This station is another of the surprising stops crossed by the railways that run along the iron tracks of the relieved Santiago-A Coruña line that, despite being abandoned, have a palpable charm.
On this route there are other very interesting stations, such as A Pontraga (parish of Parada, in Ordes), which reopened its doors in 2012 as a cultural space, a beautiful place next to the Lengüelle river.
3. Riaza (Segovia)
Riaza station was part of the historic Madrid-Burgos direct line, inaugurated in 1968. Today, only the first 25 kilometers closest to Madrid survive in operation.
At the station, among others, the daytime Iberia and some Talgo in the summer season stopped, until its total closure. Momentarily, it was thought to rehabilitate the main building as a rural house, but this was never done.
In this case, the roads and facilities remain intact and the surrounding landscape is beautiful. The station is located 3 kilometers from the municipality of Riaza, and the road remains in a magnificent state of conservation.
4. Canfranc (Huesca)
The construction of the Canfranc International Railway Station is part of the project to create a border crossing through the Pyrenees that communicated Spain with France.
This station was inaugurated by the monarch Alfonso XIII in 1928, and it was exhausted for years until the closure of the line in 1970. The collapse of a bridge on the French part of the railway line that crossed the Pyrenees and joined France with Spain was its auction.
Its silhouette is reminiscent of nineteenth-century French mansions and it was a great international station, a luxury hotel and a perfect setting for filming movies.
In recent years, the Government of Aragon has invested to stop its deterioration and avoid sinking, while planning its future. For now, some rooms of the station can be visited, such as its lobby.
The old railway stations, interrupted stories
Like all those things that are obsolete, railway stations have also suffered a profound deterioration. This has been motivated by the low profitability that railway communications had after the spread of other faster and less expensive means.
In any case, the railway heritage of Spain is interesting to say the least. There are many routes and stations that still hope to find a second chance today.