Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ghost Station Madrid

Street entrance to Platform Zero

Platform Zero: Chamberí Station / Andén Cero: Estacíon de Chamberí
08/23/11 - Plaza de Chamberí
I must have walked past the entrance to this small, free museum a dozen times in the three weeks since I moved to Madrid, never suspecting that it led down to the ghost metro station of Chamberí.  In fact, once I learned of the museum’s existence via the internet, I circled all of Plaza Chamberí before I noticed the modern, steel-and-glass structure on the corner.  At the bottom of the stairs I found three helpful guards, who directed me to a short documentary on the creation and social implications of the Madrid metro (in Spanish only).  The Chamberí metro stop was one of eight original stations that opened in Madrid in 1919, on a line running from Cuatro Caminos to Puerta del Sol. The Chamberí stop became redundant and closed in 1966.  Today the Madrid metro system is the sixth longest in the world, even though the population ranks 50th in size.  Back in 1919, the metro was also one of the earliest city agencies to employ Spanish women.  The video contains an interview with one of the first female metro workers, who attests to happy and collegial times below ground.  

After the video I was free to pass through the turnstile and make my way down the abandoned tunnel to the platform.  I spent three seconds in cowardly hesitation before proceeding. Empty subway tunnels with blind corners and faded antique signs are eerie, as Scooby-Doo and Shaggy might attest.  Piped-in jazz music heightens the effect. Classic white subway tiles cover the curved ceiling and walls, and original painted tile advertisements line the platform.  Visitors are prevented from throwing themselves onto the track by a plexi-glass barrier: even though the Chamberí station is not a stop, Line 1 trains still barrel through at regular intervals.

The following day I returned with S1 and S2, who decided that Platform Zero provides ample "production values" for a scene from their crime thriller movie, now in the heady stage of scripting.

Exit turnstiles

1 comment:

  1. Dulcinea, this does sound like a gem. We love train transport, and, yes, the Madrid metro is a life-saver... one just needs to be prepared against very competent pickpockets. We certainly want to see Platform Cero on our next trip.