Madrid’s metro system is one of the largest and best metropolitan rail systems in the world. Built in 1919, the Madrid metro was born out of the necessity to connect its citizens in a rapidly-growing urban environment. The construction of new lines and expanding platforms caused the Chamberí station to close in the 1960s, leaving it mostly abandoned until 2008, when the station was reopened as a museum called Andén Cero, or Platform Zero.
Situated in the Chamberí neighborhood, the museum at Andén Cero offers a short video that outlines the history of Madrid’s underground railway system. After watching the video, visitors can then see the fully-restored lobby and platforms, designed by architect Antonio Palacios, who also designed some of Madrid’s most beautiful attractions, such as the Palacio de Comunicaciones and the Círculo de Bellas Artes.
A quick trip to Chamberí is a journey back in time. With advertisements and metro system maps restored back to their original states, walking through the station feels like a trip to the 1940s. Palacios’ designs are still intact, down to every last detail, with bright tilework adorning every inch of the space. A large plexiglass barrier separates visitors from the train tracks, so you can safely stand on the platform and watch the occasional line 1 train go by.
Andén Cero is free to visit every Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 7pm, and on weekends from 11am to 3pm. Be sure to take metro line 1 from Bilbao to Iglesia so you can see Chamberí station from the train, and then walk down C/ Santa Engracia until you reach the museum entrance in the Plaza de Chamberí.
Shana came to Madrid in 2009 for a brief summer study program and couldn’t stay away for long. Immediately after finishing university, she came back in September 2010 and has since been spending her time navigating the English language with primary school children and constantly rediscovering all of the charms that captured her for the first time.