A great plan! Museum Day returns to Metro
18/05/2022 - Nave de Motores
Let’s begin with an emblem of Metro: the Nave de Motores. Located in the neighbourhood of Pacífico, it is one of the best preserved industrial heritage sites in Madrid. The warehouse was designed by the great architect Antonio Palacios, author of the design of our Metro, and built between 1922 and 1923. It opened in June 1924 in a grandiose event in the presence of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia.
Three 1500 hp diesel engines preside over the warehouse with their alternators and transformers. In addition to generating the energy used by the trains, during the Civil War, they provided electricity to the city of Madrid. In its heyday, it was the most powerful power station in Spain, but in the 1950s, it ceased to generate power. It was closed in 1972 and was restored to its original appearance in 2008 after an ambitious restoration.
The ghost station of Chamberí
Now it's time to travel to Madrid in the 1960s, with the Chamberí ghost station. It belongs to the first line inaugurated in Madrid in 1919 and is our most precious jewel. The station closed in 1966 due to the impossibility of extending its platforms. The entrances were boarded up, the lights were turned off and the trains didn't stop any more. Over the years, it fell into oblivion as the legend of the ghost station grew.
In 2006, the station was completely refurbished and all its elements were brought to life again: the entrance, the ticket booth, the signs, the advertising on the tiles and so many details that delight visitors today. On the guided tour, you can walk through the entire station, from the ticket offices to the platform, and discover all its original features.
Exhibition of classic trains at Chamartín
Let’s continue our route... on rails! 12 historic Metro cars await at Chamartín station, where you can enjoy a unique exhibition. Did you know that these classic cars were on the rails for more than 70 years? The oldest one came into operation in 1919 and the newest one made its last journey in 1991. Not to mention how beautiful they are, of course. And if that wasn't enough, at Chamartín you can see 100 pieces used for decades in the Metro, as well as images of our past... Even the current underground.
Caños del Peral
Let’s visit the largest underground archaeological museum in Madrid: Los Caños del Peral, where you can see archaeological remains from the 16th and 17th centuries. The museum houses the remains of the Caños del Peral Fountain, the Amaniel Aqueduct and the Arenal Sewer. The fountain had six spouts and the water came from the spring in the Plazuela de los Caños.
The Amaniel Aqueduct dates back to the beginning of the 17th century, rising in the Dehesa de la Villa and supplying water to the Royal Palace. The Alcantarilla del Arenal served to evacuate sewage at some point along the current Cuesta de San Vicente. In the audiovisual room, you can find out more about the exhibition.
Palaeontological site at Carpetana station
Let’s travel back in time 15 million years to enter the prehistory of Madrid!!! Remains of mastodons, ancient dog-bears, rhinoceroses and felines were discovered during the remodelling works of Carpetana station. These Miocene finds have given rise to a unique museum space.
The first display case has remains of mastodons of the gonphotherium aungustidens species and a reconstruction of a deer called heteroprox. The second space recreates the palaeoenvironment of 14 million years ago with animals found in the excavations, such as the bear-dog, the bear-wolf, a feline, a giant tortoise, rhinoceroses and a wild boar.
Former Pacific station hall
And from the Miocene, let’s jump to the 20th century to visit the old hall at Pacífico, an original space from 1923 that preserves all the elements of Antonio Palacios' design. It is located on the platform of L1 towards Valdecarros.
The project for the Pacífico complex envisaged a vaulted hall with a central skylight, which was modified to the current rectangular floor plan with three bays and three more vaults, with smaller skylights. The original hall closed in 1966 when the line's platforms were extended, so new halls and entrances were built.
Gran Vía Museum
Icon of Madrid! The brand new space at Gran Vía dazzles with the replica of the pavilion designed by Antonio Palacios, a real gem. Inside, you can find some objects recovered during the excavations, which take you back to the origins of metro and life in old Madrid.
A coat of arms of the city of Madrid was recovered during the excavation of the area, as well as bottles, glasses and coins from the House of Astrearena. You can also see several pieces of the original structure of the lift designed by Antonio Palacios, a fragment of the original stairs and other decorative elements of the original station.
Tirso de Molina Hall
The hall at Tirso de Molina is one of the most beautiful spaces at Metro. With an original design by Antonio Palacios, it is preserved just as he conceived it, with tiles and glazed ceramics.
One of the most striking details is the Madrid coat of arms, the oldest surviving artistic expression on the Metro network. You can see it in the Conde de Romanones hall of the station, formerly called Progreso. The coat of arms is made of glazed ceramic with metallic highlights and is set on a white and blue tiled soffit, framed by decorative valances.
And this is the end of our route. Do you know where you want to start? Remember that if you complete the visits to these museums, you can get our precious Museum Passport and get a very special reward. Come on, it's a great plan!!!