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Madrid Atocha Train Station – Much More Than a Gateway to the City

Madrid Atocha Train Station
Written by Allison

Madrid’s Atocha train station is much more than a gateway to the rest of Spain and Europe.  It offers visitors to this amazing city a wonderful welcome. Atocha is the largest of all the 3 railway stations in the city. The others are Nuevos Ministerios and Chamartin.

From here trains arrive and leave for other cities across Spain, such as Toledo, Malaga, Salamanca and Aranjuez. Allowing you to explore this amazing country at a pace that you will find comfortable. ShMadrid shares some interesting info about Atocha train station with you today.

Related article: Atocha’s Secret

What you need to know about Atocha train station

inside atocha train station madrid

Photo via Pixabay

The station itself is located just a short distance from Madrid’s Royal Botanical Gardens (Real Jardin Botánico de Madrid). In what is an area of the city known as the Atocha district.

The station was built so that the Royal family’s summer home (Aranjuez) could be connected to the city.

The construction of this station began in 1846. In charge of the work was the Marquis de Salamanca, and his architect Victor Lenoir. It was meant to be a private line for the Royal family and the line itself and the Atocha Platform didn’t open until 1851.

 But as growth in the city flourished during the 19th Century it meant that the station needed to be renovated. These renovations meant that trains from Zaragoza and Alicante could be received.

Madrid Atocha Train Station opened its doors

It was in 1890 that the building you see today begun construction. Its structure is made up of pilasters and brick. The design is created by Elissague and Alberto de Palacio (an employee of the world renowned Gustave Eiffel). It took just two years for the work to be completed and the Madrid Atocha Train Station opened its doors for the first time in 1892.

Even though it was considered a masterpiece of modern architecture, it was constantly undergoing changes. These changes were taking place at an annual pace to keep up with the requirements of the city.

Related article: Main Train Stations in Madrid

The design of Rafael Moneo

exterior atocha train station madrid

Photo via Pixabay

Then in 1992 the station went under major renovation works. These were to the design of Rafael Moneo. During these works the station became two rather than one station. The first is called Puerta de Atocha and the second is called Atocha Cercanias. The first station is where all high-speed trains from around the country arrive and leave from.

As for the second, this is the one that connects the city railway lines with the Madrid metro. Between the two stations a huge lobby was erected that connects them to each other.

This is now known as the “Tropical Garden”.vWithin this area of the Madrid Atocha Train Station are housed over 7200 plants from 260 species from around the world.

Also within this area are a number of restaurants and shops. Providing with a suitable location to relax and unwind during your visit to the city. Close to the station you will also find the 11-M Memorial. This memorial commemorates those who lost their lives during the attack on the station.

It stands 11 metres high and is 9.5 metres wide. Within the glass cylinder there are hundreds of messages left by the many people who came to the station after the attack occurred. As well as many in Spanish a great number of other languages can be seen.

What train station in Madrid do you like best and why? How often do you use it?

About the author


Allison is a writer who has spent a number of years traveling around Europe before deciding to make Spain she home. Since then, she has spent a lot of time enjoying all that the city of Madrid has to offer.

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