Like any other modern urban dweller would do, I spend a fair amount of time on the metro system, either sprinting on a train or walking through the maze-like corridors in order to get from one place to the other.
For this reason, many would think that visiting an old abandoned subway station just for the sake of it may be something strange or directly a waste of time, after all, don’t we all spend too much time in those rat-infested places anyway?.
The truth is that I am a bit of a train and subway system freak. When I was little, I would spend ages playing Sim City or Rail Road Tycoon to create the perfect transit grid or connect far away places, so it’s no wonder that when I found out that there’s a way to legally visit Chamberí station (the abandoned metro Station on line 1 of the Madrid Metro System) I was more than thrilled to go.
And it probably is one of the best experiences I have lived in the Spanish Capital to date.
That’s how big of a train freak I am.
Chamberí Station is located under the square of the same name in one of the most famous neighborhoods of the capital’s city center. It was opened in 1919 and was one of the first twelve stations of the Line 1 Metro de Madrid network.
During Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the frequent and devastating air-raids by the German Nazi Troops (Franco’s allies), this station, like many others, served as a bomb shelter for local residents.
After the war was over, the station remained open to the public until 1966, when authorities decided to increase the length of the trains.
Due to the technical difficulty involved in extending the platforms on this curved station, and given the proximity of stations Iglesia and Bilbao, the decision to close the station was made public.
For over four decades, Chamberí remained closed, until it was decided, in 2006, to rehabilitate and convert the old station into a museum, tourist attraction and Interpretation Center of Metro de Madrid.
In 2008 the Andén 0 museum opened.
While the metro station was in operation until well into the sixties, Chamberí has been restored in a way that evokes the splendor of the years of its foundation. The wall tiles, ticket booths and lathes were redone (or rather brought to the surface) in an early twentieth century style and give us an idea of how the metro system looked at that time.
On the platforms, carefully restored vintage ads alternate with projections of old images of the station.
The adverts on the wall, as well as the white tiles that cover the walls and vaults of the station are original and were designed by architect Antonio Palacios, creator of buildings like the Palacio de Cibeles and the Palacio de Bellas Artes.
And although Chamberí station no longer receives passengers, through its tunnel trains still circulate.
One of the most endearing things about the visit was seeing several older couples, who probably used the station when it was still open and had wanted to return to see it one more time.
Andén 0 is definitely one of those little hidden treasures of Madrid.
Visit times and ticket prices for Andén 0
Friday from 11:00 to 13:00 and from 17:00 to 19:00.
Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 14:00.
¿How much are the tickets?
The visit is free of charge. Advance booking is recommended by phone on (+34) 660 858 111 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org