Estación de Atocha

( Madrid Atocha railway station )

Madrid Atocha (Spanish: Estación de Madrid Atocha), also named Madrid Puerta de Atocha–Almudena Grandes, is the first major railway station in Madrid. It is the largest station serving commuter trains (Cercanías), regional trains from the south and southeast, intercity trains from Navarre, Cádiz and Huelva (Andalusia) and La Rioja, and the AVE high speed trains from Girona, Tarragona and Barcelona (Catalonia), Huesca and Zaragoza (Aragon), Sevilla, Córdoba, Málaga and Granada (Andalusia), Valencia, Castellón and Alicante (Levante Region). These train services are run by Spain's national rail company, Renfe. As of 2019, this station has daily services to Marseille, France.

Exterior of old Atocha station
Interior plaza in old Atocha station
High-speed train departure concourse at the new Atocha Station.

At this site, Madrid's first railway station was inaugurated on 9 February 1851 under the name Estación de Mediodía (Atocha-Mediodía is now the name of an area of the Arganzuela district, and means south in old Spanish).

After the building was largely destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt by the MZA railway company and reopened in 1892. The architect for the replacement, in a wrought iron renewal style was Alberto de Palacio Elissagne, who collaborated with Gustave Eiffel. Engineer Henry Saint James also took part in the project.[1] The name Atocha has become attached to the station because of the nearby basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Atocha. The train platforms were partly covered by a roof in the form of inverted hull with a height of approximately 27 meters and length of 157 meters. The steel and glass roof spreads between two brick flanking buildings.

This complex of railway tracks expanded through the years. In 1985, a project of complete remodeling began, based on designs by Rafael Moneo. In 1992, the original building was taken out of service as a terminal, and converted into a concourse with shops, cafés, and a nightclub. Like the Orsay Museum in Paris, the concourse has been given a new function, that being in the case of Atocha a stunning 4,000 m2 (43,056 sq ft) covered tropical garden.[2]

A modern terminal was also designed by Moneo, and built in adjacent land to serve both the new High Speed trains, regional and local commuter lines. The main lines end in the new terminal; regional and commuter train platforms are located underground, at the ingress to a rail tunnel extending northward under the Paseo de la Castellana. The station is served by two Madrid Metro stations, Estación del Arte (located near the Museo Reina Sofía) and the Atocha Renfe metro station. The latter was added when the new terminal building was constructed and is directly linked to the railway station, providing access to Line 1. A connection to Line 11 will be constructed in the first half of the 2020s,[3] with work scheduled to begin in November 2022 for completion by the end of 2026.[4]

On 19 December 2021, the regional government of the Community of Madrid announced that Atocha Renfe station would be renamed "Atocha", owing to the liberalization of Spain's railway industry and the entry of new rail companies into the Spanish market.[5] The station was originally set to be renamed "Atocha-Constitución del 78" (Atocha-Constitution of '78), announced by Vice President Ignacio Aguado on 16 February 2021, and proposed by Citizens (Cs), his political party,[6] but was halted after Cs lost all its seats in the Assembly of Madrid in the aftermath of the 2021 Madrilenian regional election.[5] The name change, which entailed replacing signage, updating maps and modifying station announcements, took effect on 1 February 2022.[7] The following month on 3 March 2022 the Spanish central government announced a second name change to rename Puerta de Atocha after writer Almudena Grandes, who died four months earlier,[8] with the name change taking effect on 19 November 2022.[9]

^ "Madrid's Official College of Architects website". Retrieved 24 December 2012. ^ "Jardín tropical Estación de Atocha". Official tourism website (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 September 2019. ^ Medina, Miguel Ángel (20 July 2019). "La ampliación más necesaria del metro de Madrid llega tarde" [Most needed improvements to the Madrid Metro arrive late]. El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 4 September 2019. ^ Tragacete, Mónica (7 February 2022). "La línea 11 de Metro de Madrid empezará a ampliarse en noviembre de 2022 y abrirá completa en 2027" [Line 11 of the Madrid Metro will begin expanding in November 2022 and will open completely in 2027]. 20 minutos (in Spanish). Retrieved 19 February 2022. ^ a b Medialdea, Sara (19 December 2021). "La estación de Atocha Renfe cambia de nombre, y será solo Atocha desde ahora" [Atocha Renfe station changes its name, and will be only Atocha from today]. ABC (in Spanish). Retrieved 19 February 2022. ^ "Aguado anuncia que la estación de metro Atocha-Renfe pasará a denominarse Atocha-Constitución del 78" [Aguado announces that Atocha-Renfe metro station will be called Atocha-Constitución del 78]. 20 minutos (in Spanish). 16 February 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2022. ^ "La Comunidad de Madrid hace efectivo el cambio de nombre de la estación de metro Atocha Renfe por Atocha" [The Community of Madrid effects the change in name of Atocha Renfe metro station to Atocha] (Press release) (in Spanish). Community of Madrid. 1 February 2022. Retrieved 19 February 2022. ^ Torres Benayas, Victoria (3 March 2022). "La estación de Atocha se llamará Almudena Grandes" [Atocha station will be named after Almudena Grandes]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 March 2022. ^ "El BOE publica el cambio de nombre de la estación de Atocha a Puerta de Atocha-Almudena Grandes" [BOE publishes name change for Atocha station to Puerta de Atocha–Almudena Grandes] (in Spanish). Europa Press. 19 November 2022. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
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