Right underneath Chamberí Square there’s a ghost station that once belonged to the layout of Metro de Madrid (Madrid’s metro network). It was abandoned in the ’60s but today we can visit it and also see it the same way it looked when it was still in operation.
The old Chamberí station belonged to the 1st metro line in Madrid that connected Puerta del Sol with Cuatro Caminos, with 3,5 km of length. It was inaugurated in October of 1919. The station was in operation for 47 years until 1966, when due to the extension of the platforms of line 1, they decided to close it because of the technical difficulties that made this extension impossible; thus becoming a “ghost station”. As a result of the increase of the number of passengers, the platforms of line 1 were extended from 60 to 90 meters long, but the Chamberí station was in a curve so it just could not be extended.
Due to these difficulties and the proximity of the Bilbao and Iglesia metro stations, the station (which during the Civil War served as a warehouse and as a shelter during the bombings) was suddenly closed without much explanation, becoming the only station that has ever been closed in the history of Metro de Madrid. The entrance was walled and covered, but the interior was practically not changed: the ticket offices, the advertisements, the street furniture … everything remained in its place. This semblance, so anchored in the past, together with the fact that the trains of line 1 continued passing through the abandoned station without stopping, caused different mysterious stories and urban legends to emerge since it was closed to the public more than 40 years ago.
One of the most famous legends is “the crime of Chamberí Station”: back in the ‘50s, an orphan girl interned in a religious school discovered the romance between a priest and a nun in her school. So that the story was not made public and taking advantage of a school trip, the sinful couple decided to throw the little girl to the train tracks. From this murder Chamberí station was cursed; as the anniversary of the death gets closer, the ghost of the girl can still be seen in Chamberí ghost station from the trains on line 1 of the metro in Madrid.
Urban legends aside, the important thing is that nowadays this ghost station can be visited! Between 2006 and 2008 the rehabilitation works of the old Chamberí station were carried out, in order to maintain it as if the time had stopped: the ticket offices, the ticket vending machines, the winches, the informative signs with notices and ticket prices are still there and even advertisements on the colorful tiles on the walls that are authentic relics.
Admission is free and you will descend to the basements of Chamberí traveling back in time to the last century of Madrid to visit this jewel designed by the famous architect Antonio Palacios (Palacio de Cibeles), who was commissioned to design the first line of Metro de Madrid, inspired by the metro stations of Paris. In this year in which we celebrate the centenary of Metro de Madrid, both for tourists and for the locals, it is worth looking back to see the evolution of our Metro, deeply linked to the most recent history of our city and without a doubt also to its cleaner present and future, playin such a big role in improving the polution in our city… and what better way to immerse ourselves in its history than by visiting such an authentic ghost station!
If you want to keep on discovering many more curiosities and places to visit in Madrd like these, you can join one of our Free Tour Madrid from Monday to Saturday. We will be waiting for you with our Light Blue Umbrella in Puerta del Sol!