INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT CANFRANC RAILWAY STATION
Sitting at the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains on the Spanish side of the French-Spanish border is an immense railway station. Built with iron and glass, the station’s art nouveau building stretches a quarter of a kilometre, and its façade is decorated with more than 300 windows.
Inside the building, there was once a luxurious hotel, an infirmary, a restaurant and living quarters for customs officers. Aside from the platform and the main building, there was a large locomotive depot, two sheds for the transshipment of freight between French and Spanish trains, various other outbuildings and an extensive layout of tracks. The station was nicknamed the ‘Titanic of the Mountains’.
The Canfranc International Railway Station was part of a larger plan to open up the border between Spain and France to enable more international trade and travel. The ambitious project involved dozens of bridges and a series of tunnels drilled through the mountains.
The dream finally became reality in 1928, when the Spanish King Alfonso XIII and French President Gaston Doumergue inaugurated the newly built railway station.
Unfortunately, the railway line never became profitable. Immediately after the line opened, Europe sank into an economic crisis, and things got worse when Franco ordered the tunnels sealed during the 1936 Spanish civil war to prevent Republican opponents from smuggling weapons in.
For the short period the station operated, it saw as few as 50 passengers a day.