When I got out at the station and looked south, an intense autumn morning light was shining on Atocha station. Trees with lamps appeared like frozen with a layer of white over them. But the temperature was actually nice, and I walked past the station. Workers were busy on the outside of the old terminal building. The original entrance looked majestic, with an enormous window with beautiful classical clocks. On the roof, names of the cities served originally were cast in iron: Madrid, Alicante, Zaragoza. A little further on, I noticed a pillar-like glass structure in the middle of the busy street; it turned out to be the new monument in memory of the victims of the 11 March attacks 2004 when commuters were struck hard at Atocha and stations down the lines from here.
Originally, Atocha station was inaugurated in the middle of the 19th century under the name Atocha-Mediodía, which in old Spanish means south. The building was largely destroyed by fire, rebuilt and reopened in 1892. Its style was changed by De Palacio Elissagne, who worked together with the famous mr. Eiffel. This old building still stands, but no longer serves as the actual station as its capacity was not sufficient for modern usage. Instead, you can find a large tropical garden inside, with a small pool with turles and other animals. It also holds many shops, restaurants and bars, and a nightclub.
Close to the monument for March 11, I found the most striking building of all the different buildings making up Atocha station the circular entrance to the suburban network. The brown-red square brick pillars and white round columns, combined with the glass interior, make for noticeable architecture. When I got down the stairs here, I realized that Atocha is more than just a railway station. It is a huge complex, much of it underground, linking the national railway lines with the metropolitan subway network and the suburban trains. The Spanish have succeeded in creating a huge transportation hub which still has character because of the very different character of the several parts.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Atocha Station (Spain). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Atocha Station. Read more about this site.