The Community of Madrid kicks off the celebration of Metro’s Centenary with an exhibition of the first trains to run on its tracks
The President of the Community of Madrid, Ángel Garrido, accompanied His Majesty King Felipe VI today at the inauguration of the exhibition of restored classical Metro trains. With this event, the Community of Madrid has kicked off the underground’s Centenary celebrations, which will take place throughout the year with an extensive programme of activities.
Prior to the inauguration of the exhibition, His Majesty the King and the President of the Community of Madrid rode a train from Sol Station to Chamartín, a route similar to the one travelled by King Alfonso XIII in 1919 during the inauguration of the underground, which was the first metro journey ever taken in Spain. In addition, His Majesty the King repeated the same photograph as the one taken of his great grandfather Alfonso XIII at the inauguration in 1919, next to the first train to run on the tracks of Metro de Madrid.
During the ride in a Metro car, the King was accompanied by a dozen workers from several departments of the Madrid underground, as well as by passengers who progressively entered the car during the train’s stops at the stations on the route.
A JOURNEY THROUGH THE HISTORY OF METRO
Starting today, Madrid citizens and tourists alike will be able to enjoy this exhibition, inaugurated by Felipe VI and located in Chamartín Station, featuring the original cars which ran on the Metro line a century ago. These trains (a total of four cars) are the ones which were used initially on the network, that is, the MR-6 and the MR-9. Nevertheless, another eight cars (currently in the process of restoration), which began to operate later in 1924, 1927, 1942, 1955 and 1965, will arrive in the next few months. With this exhibition, Metro seeks to provide a detailed look at the evolution of its rolling stock and, consequently, of the history of Metro and of the Community of Madrid.
The exhibition has been designed as a permanent display to enable all Metro passengers to enjoy these treasures of extraordinary historical value. The exhibition can be visited on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 AM to 2 PM. There is no entrance fee; however, visitors will need to hold a transport ticket, since access to the exhibition is through the turnstiles.
With respect to the characteristics of the models on exhibit, both were capable of reaching a maximum speed of 55 km/h and remained in service for 70 years. The entire structure of the body was in metal and was unlined on the inside, whereby the entire metal skeleton of the car was visible. The body had 3 wooden doors on both sides, which were opened manually by the passengers. Also, the interior ventilation was provided exclusively through a cupola on the roof.
In addition to the trains -the focal point of the exhibition- there are close to 100 elements which have gradually changed over time and have become pieces of history in the life of the underground. Thus, visitors will be able to view, for example, a telephone which was used in the sixties for communicating with the nearest station; the driver carried it in the train cabin and would connect it to the communications line from one of the posts installed next to the tracks in the event of an emergency. Similarly, the evolution of elements of the uniforms can be observed, such as the cap worn by the personnel assigned to the stations and trains up to the beginning of the eighties.
The exhibition inaugurated today is only the first of the many events organised by Metro to celebrate its Centenary, which include historical and cultural activities designed to engage the citizens of Madrid and make them participants in this milestone. Around twenty events have been planned, including the opening of another three exhibitions showing the past, the present and the future of Metro.
During this last quarter of the year, Metro will launch its new website with a focus on offering public service and corporate information from a modern, visual, practical and user-accessible approach. In addition, a microsite devoted exclusively to the Centenary will be made available, showing the history and the progress of the underground through photographs, videos and unpublished material. November will bring with it many more activities, such as the launch of a drawing contest for schoolchildren with a view to involving the youngest members of the community in the celebration of the Centenary.
The ‘Centenary Race’ will be organised at the beginning of next year, and everyone in Madrid will be invited to run the route on the surface between Cuatro Caminos and Sol, emulating the original route travelled by the first users of Metro one hundred years ago.
METRO DE MADRID AND ITS HISTORICAL HERITAGE
With the aim of recovering the company’s historical heritage, the Madrid underground has made a significant effort to restore the classical models of its trains, with an investment of 1,334,000 euros, making it possible to keep and preserve this part of Madrid’s history.
This action is yet another of the many efforts made by Metro over a number of years to preserve its most significant heritage, such as the restoration of the Chamberí ‘ghost’ station -which was closed in 1966 because it was ‘too short' for accommodating the new longer trains- and the Pacífico Engine Shed, which formerly supplied electricity to the network. Today, both facilities have been recovered as Metro history museums. In addition to these two iconic spaces, a design by Antonio Palacios can also be admired in the restored ticket hall of the Pacífico metro station.
METRO DE MADRID IN FIGURES
Metro de Madrid was inaugurated on 17 October 1919 between Sol and Cuatro Caminos with 8 stations and 4 kilometres. Almost one hundred years later, the underground arrives at 12 municipalities in the region of Madrid where more than 75 % of their inhabitants have a Metro entrance at a distance of less than 600 metres from their homes.
Since that first journey by King Alfonso XIII, Metro de Madrid has grown exponentially up to the 294 km and 301 stations which the network has at the present time, placing it among the major underground systems in the world: it is the fifth network in the world in terms of number of stations, surpassed only by London, New York, Shanghai and Paris; and ranks eighth in extension behind the metros of New York, London, Beijing, Guangzhou, Seoul, Shanghai and Moscow.
And not only can it boast of its size. Second only to Shanghai, Madrid’s Metro is the most accessible in the world, with a total of 1,699 escalators and 515 lifts. In 2017, a total of 626.4 million users chose the Madrid underground as their means of transport in the region. The daily average number of users is 2.3 million on working days, with Line 6 ranking as the busiest -103 million users last year-, which is 16 % of the total. The most frequented station is Sol, with a daily average of 180,000 passengers.
The trains can travel at a speed of 110 kilometres per hour on some sections of Line 8 and Line 12, where the distance between stations is greater, although the average speed of the trains in the network is between 30 and 32 kilometres per hour.
In terms of the distance travelled each day, the Metro trains running on a working day, taken overall, cover a total of 100,000 kilometres, that is, two and a half times around the world.
The Control Centre of the Madrid underground is an international reference in the railway sector and receives more than 50 visits yearly by a range of public administrations, universities and companies associated with the sector from all parts of the world.
Metro de Madrid was a pioneering company in the integration of women into the working world. The Metro ticket clerks ranked among the first women in the workforce, together with the Telefónica switchboard operators.
Other figures of interest: Metro operates on an annual budget of 1 billion euros, has 6,849 employees, 1,254 ticket vending machines, 515 lifts, 1,699 escalators and 8,563 surveillance cameras distributed in trains, stations and depots.