Monday, May 2, 2016

The abandoned Canfranc International Railway Station

Canfranc International Railway Station opened in 1928 in the village of Canfranc in the Spanish Pyrenees. It was the point of entry to Spain for the Pau–Canfranc railway, joining France to Spain and passing through the Somport railway tunnel under the Pyrenees. King Alfonso XIII of Spain and the president of the French Republic Gaston Doumergue were both present on the station's inauguration. 

The huge station, featuring a 240 metres (790 ft) long Art Nouveau building, with 300 windows and 156 doors was essential as passengers, together with luggage and cargo travelling from Spain to France and vice versa had to change trains because of the different rail gauge used in the 2 countries (standard gauge in France vs Iberian gauge in Spain). During World War II, the station became associated with the Nazis during the war, as they used it to transport gold out of France, and tungsten the opposite way.

The station closed in 1970 when a train derailment demolished a bridge on the French side of the mountains. The French decided not to rebuilt the bridge and the cross-border line was closed. Today the station is still in operation for domestic trains, with 2 daily passenger trains to and from Zaragoza-Delicias railway station. However, more modest station facilities are used with the main building remaining abandoned since 1970. 


  1. I live nearby and is a beautiful place. There is currently a project to recover the old station and its outbuildings and give them both tourist and housing uses. Greetings.

    1. How absolutely wonderful. Special train trips and making the station a destination. So romantic. Perhaps even some artisan studios/shops of location tradition? I'm in!


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