Regional Government of Madrid to change the name of Atocha Renfe underground station to Atocha
The Regional Government of Madrid will change the name of Atocha Renfe underground station to Atocha. This new name coincides with the recent liberalisation of the railway sector in Spain, which has resulted in the arrival of new operators, and hence Renfe ceases to be the only company that provides a service at this station.
The Regional Councillor for Transport and Infrastructure, David Pérez, made this announcement today, which not only implies the change of the name of the station itself but also its modification in the station signage and on the trains throughout the underground system, on the web page, the public address system, the ticket machines in stations and on maps. The process to adapt the name, which will begin today, will be carried out progressively and may take around four months.
David Pérez explained that the new name has been chosen as “it is generic and representative, and thus avoids confusing passengers when heading to a central transport point in Madrid, since it connects the underground system with both medium- and long-distance trains and with the suburban railway”. “It also serves as an interchange with suburban buses and the EMT of Madrid, and hence it is one of the most important connecting hubs in the capital”, he added.
CENTENARY OF THE FIRST EXTENSION OF THE UNDERGROUND
The Regional Councillor for Transport also took a trip on the underground from Sol to Estación del Arte stations to commemorate the centenary of the first extension of the underground, which took place in December 1921.
The first expansion project consisted of extending Line 1 (until then it only ran on the stretch between Cuatro Caminos and Sol) towards the south of Madrid, from Puerta del Sol, under Calles de Carretas, Magdalena and Atocha to Mediodía station, now Atocha station. This was made up of three stations: Progreso (now Tirso de Molina), Antón Martin and Atocha (now Estación del Arte).
In October 1919, the line was inaugurated between Cuatro Caminos and Sol (3.5 kilometres) and its success spurred on the company to extend it a further 2 kilometres to Atocha. Back then, these works were a major challenge, since they posed a great many construction complexities as they crossed parts of the old city of Madrid, such as Plaza del Progreso and the narrow Calle Magdalena, full of tunnels, caves and abandoned wells and a host of remains of underground paths, which had provided communications and secret hideaways in the past.
The three new stations were built at a level that was not very deep and, according to the municipal documents of the time, “took into account the needs of Madrid in the future”. More spacious entrance halls were built and more access stairways were built to facilitate the entry and exit of the public.
AN ARCHITECTURAL JEWEL
The architect Antonio Palacios was commissioned with designing these stations. The entrance hall of Tirso de Molina still maintains part of its original design. This space is a genuine architectural jewel, in which you can see the dome covered with bevelled white tiles, ceramic wainscots reflecting gold and copper colours. In addition, the city’s ancient coat-of-arms presides over the station, made of ceramic with metallic specks. The entrance hall of Pacífico station (1923) also dates back to this era.
On 8 May 1923, Line 1 continued its extension under Avenida Ciudad de Barcelona to come out in Puente de Vallecas, at the start of Avenida de la Albufera. In the third expansion, the line was extended to the north, from Cuatro Caminos, under Calle de Bravo Murillo, adding three new stations to the route, inaugurated on 6 March 1929, to Tetuán de las Victorias.
Today, Line 1 of Metro de Madrid connects the north and the southeast of the city, running between Pinar de Chamartín and Valdecarros stations, made up of a total of 33 stations, with 90-metre long platforms, joined by 23.876 km of track in a narrow gauge tunnel, and a travel time of some 57 minutes.