• Morgan Fagg

Chamberi Ghost Station

Updated: Mar 12, 2019

Estación de Chamberí, Madrid

TAKE a journey in time with Anna and I as we arrive at our destination Chamberi Metro station in central Madrid. While we could have taken the Blue Line to see Chamberí, Line One doesn't exactly slow down, never mind stop at Chamberí anymore.

Through the passage of time, this old train station opened in King Alfonso XIII´s reign and called closing time near the end of Franco´s reign. Chamberi´s Ghost Station and platform to the past operated between Metro Bilbao and Metro Iglesias and from 1919 and 1966.

Opened 100 years ago and operating for almost 50 of those years, The Ghost Station is visible briefly between Bilbao/ Iglesias and Iglesias/ Bilbao but I'm guessing most people probably miss that dimly lit stop.

Deep underground, this train takes us back to Spain's buried past. Opened after World War One when people were more used to Titanic Ships and horses in the street and closing when people were more used to seeing SEAT 600s in Spain and Armstrong was preparing to touch the moon, this time capsule was also used as a bomb shelter during air raids and i´ll touch upon that in a moment.

Operating for 47 years, the station closed when longer trains and longer platforms were introduced but Estación de Chamberí could not accommodate extra carriages and was not deemed necessary with two other Metro stations near by.

Buried for a long time, Estación de Chamberí re-opened ten years ago, as a museum. A time capsule of ancient advertisements and outdated Metro maps and glass dividers so that trains on the Blue Line, miss you.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: A few stations have been added over the years, at the loss of Chamberi.

As impressed as I was with Chamberí on my first visit, A tour guide was telling people it was a bomb shelter during the war, I enquired further he said it was a bomb shelter during World War 2. Questioning why neutral Spain needed an air-raid shelter during the second World War, the answer was much clearer on a subsequent visit when Estación de Chamberí introduced an audio visual section which discussed the fact that Chamberí was a bomb shelter during the Spanish Civil War.

Anna never joined me on subsequent trips as she felt very sick after touching the walls and had to go up for some air. Not quite claustrophobic, Anna didn't like the historic echos of this time capsule and Civil War bomb shelter, I guess the horrors of Spain's past aren't buried so deep.

Be careful not to scratch the surface on any ghost tour and watch out for Chamberi on the Blue Line.

Chamberi offers a romantic look back at a simpler time compared to my usual packed Metro.

LONELY PLANET: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/madrid/attractions/estacion-de-chamberi/a/poi-sig/1094868/360770

YOUTUBE: Check out these urban explorers in America who take a train ride to New York's hidden and forbidden underground rail stops.

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