hidden europe 49

Platform Zero

by Nicky Gardner

Picture above: Madrid's Metro Linea 1 has a disused station that has been converted into an exhibition (photo © Dariusz Szwangruber / dreamstime.com).


At Augsburg station in Bavaria, there is a Platform 801, while a number of stations around Europe have a Platform 0 - among them Aarau in Switzerland and King's Cross station in London. We take a look at the Platform Zero phenomenon.

Many visitors to Madrid use Metro Linea 1 to travel between the city’s main railway stations at Atocha and Chamartín. Those who do invariably notice the disused railway station of Chamberí which is midway between Bilbao and Iglesia. It is fifty years since the last trains stopped at Chamberí. In the years thereafter, travellers who looked carefully, as the metro sped past the station’s disused platforms with their distinctive Andalusían tiling, could see fading advertisements from the 1960s.

Now this abandoned Madrid railway station has found new life as an exhibition venue. The display celebrates the early years of the city’s metro system — and Chamberí was on the very first stretch of the metro in the Spanish capital. It was one of eight stations opened in 1919.

The station has been very stylishly restored to the state it was on the day it first opened. Since no trains stop at Chamberí, public access to the restored station is only from street level.

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