Regional Government of Madrid organises ‘100 years of Metro’, a trip down the past, present and future of the Madrid underground
The Regional Government of Madrid has organised the exhibition entitled ‘100 years of Metro’, which opens its doors today to a trip through the past, present and future of the Madrid underground. The display, located in the Engine Shed in Pacífico (calle Valderribas, 49), will remain open until 15 July. The Regional Councillor for Transport, Housing and Infrastructure, Rosalía Gonzalo, visited the exhibition this morning, which is framed within the activities organised by the regional government on the occasion of the centenary of the underground.
The exhibition is divided into four sections that address different aspects relating to the company: ‘The origins’, ‘An underground city’, ‘Innovation’ and ‘The future’. The display showcases historical items and typical elements of the underground, and has extensive audio-visual content to highlight certain areas of the company.
The section given over to ‘The origins’ of Metro includes, through photographic panels and infographics, what the beginnings were like for the Alfonso XIII Metropolitan Company and the history of the founders and its leading players, as well as a review of the construction techniques used in its creation.
‘An underground city’ is a section that shows the history and development of Metro de Madrid, an underground system used by more than 2.3 million people daily. It shows different aspects of the company, from its relationship with the world of culture, the history of the Metro museums and the uniforms worn by employees, to the role played by the Madrid underground during the Spanish Civil War. Various historical objects, texts and audio-visual projections help understand the dimension attained by Metro de Madrid to become a key part of the history and the life of the city and the region.
The section entitled ‘Innovation’ is a trip down the most noteworthy milestones of Metro since the inauguration of the first eight stations in the system in 1919 to the present, through an audio-visual projection.
Lastly, Metro de Madrid seeks to draw visitors closer to the underground of the ‘Future’, with a projection that allows you to see what the stations will look like in the years to come thanks to ongoing improvements and the application of technology.
In addition, and for the first time since it was built, the underground gallery has been opened to the public below the Engine Shed, which was the most powerful Spanish electric power station of its time. These service passages located underground gave access to a tunnel that connected with Pacífico station and, years later, with the sub-stations in Quevedo and Castelló. A dual 15,000-volt cable ran along these passages and a large part of the ground beneath Madrid, together with the network of tubes for the supply and transportation system for fuel, cooling agents and power, connected to the base of the three main alternators.
The general visit is free of charge. Opening hours to the public are from Monday to Friday, from 17.00 – 21.00 and on Saturday and Sunday from 12.00 – 21.00. In order to visit the basements of the Engine Shed, you must make a prior reservation on the Metro webpage (www.metromadrid.es) to receive a guided tour. This can be taken from Monday to Friday at 17.30, 18.30, 19.30 or 20.30, while on Saturday and Sunday, the tours are held at 12.30, 13.30, 14.30, 15.30, 16.30, 17.30, 18.30, 19.30 and 20.30. These tours of the basements may alter according to demand.
A YEAR OF CELEBRATIONS
The Engine Shed exhibition is just one of many activities being put on by Metro de Madrid on the occasion of its centenary that Metro wishes to bring to the people and users of the underground to celebrate this historic milestone.
These events commenced on 17 October with the inauguration by King Felipe VI of the classic train exhibition in Chamartín station.
The ‘Centenary Line’ was also opened at the stations on the original line from Cuatro Caminos to Sol (line 1), which offers a trip through the history of Metro with huge photos displayed in entrance halls, on platforms and in passages.
Another of the activities was the exhibition put on display at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, until 31 January comprising a series of photographs on the present and future of the underground system, and the display entitled ‘Underground portraits’, in which famous figures from the world of culture, communication and sport pay their own tributes to Metro.
On 3 February, the ‘Centenary Race’ was held, tracing the route at street level of the original line from Cuatro Caminos to Sol; and the latest initiatives set up include live music sessions entitled ‘Metro Vibra’ [Metro rocks] - a series of concerts being held once a month until August at seven different underground stations.
The redesign of the corporate web site of Metro de Madrid, a school drawing competition and the centenary Book – an interactive multimedia book – are other noteworthy actions developed by the Company within the framework of this year of celebrations.
THE ENGINE SHED
The Engine Shed is the site chosen to house the exhibition entitled ‘100 years of Metro’, due to its importance in the history of the company. The shed, built, between 1922 and 1923, and restored in 2008, still maintains its original appearance. Three huge diesel engines are located there, together with other machinery (alternators, transformers, etc.) which served to generate and transform engine to power the trains.