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A road of iron

A road of iron

The Madrid-Aranjuez line was conceived as part of a larger project: linking the capital with the Mediterranean. But undertaking this project all at once was completely unthinkable and it was decided to construct this first route. And the destination of that first section was clear: Aranjuez, the royal court’s place of stay in the spring.

The inauguration of the new line, fostered by the Marquis of Salamanca, was held on February 9, 1851, and it was quite a popular festival, presided over by Queen Isabella II. The line was 49 kilometers long and its layout is preserved practically intact. By indication of the Marquis of Salamanca, the track was extended from the primitive station of Aranjuez to the Puerta de Damas del Palacio, and legend has it, the last rails are made of silver.

The entry into service of this second peninsular line was widely accepted by the population, mainly due to the shipment of products from the riverside orchard to Madrid, strawberries being particularly important, the Royal Precincts’ product par excellence, which gave the Train its name.

On its route, it passes through the towns of Getafe, Pinto, Valdemoro and Ciempozuelos, on a gently descending route that passes from the Manzanares valley to Jarama and the Tagus, with no special factory works other than the bridges that span these three channels.

Stations of departure and arrival: Delicias and Aranjuez

Madrid Delicias: from International Terminal to Museum

Madrid Delicias

On March 30, 1880, the Delicias station was inaugurated. Initially linked to the railroad project in Ciudad Real, for various reasons it was the railroad from Madrid to Cáceres and Portugal that had the privilege of putting this modern station into service—19th Century-Madrid’s most monumental station and, paradoxically, today the oldest station in the capital in its original design. It is a terminus station, the construction of which followed the project of the French engineer Émile Cachelièvre, and it has four tracks under a vast metal gabled canopy 170 meters long, 35 meters wide and 22.5 meters high. Its entire metal structure was built in Belgium. The service buildings were arranged on the sides, one dedicated to the entrance of travelers and the other to the exit. It had the company's offices, and at its exit, there were company workshops and garages, all of which have now disappeared. The buildings of its freight station are still intact, on the north side, but they are now employed for various non-railway uses. The simple but elegant brick construction that alternates colors stands out, with a Neo-Mudéjar aftertaste that was very much in use at the time.

It had a connection with the railroad from Contorno de Atocha to Príncipe-Pío, and was the head of the services that connected Extremadura and Portugal with the capital of Spain. In 1941, after the Civil War, it was integrated into Spanish National Railway Network (Renfe), and the successive reforms of the Madrid railway map meant that in 1969 it ceased to provide commercial service. Since 1985, it was used as the headquarters of the Madrid Railway Museum.

Aranjuez station

Aranjuez station

The first station was next to the Royal Palace, on Raso de la Estrella. Built in a "U", it was a very modest terminus station in which the trains with more remote destinations had to reverse gear. This meant that since the 1880s, a new station was planned. In fact, a through-track with its own station was built, closing the triangle of tracks for trains that continued on the route.

In 1915, the project to build a new station for Aranjuez resurfaced, however, the works did not begin until 1923. In this year a new and rather costly building was erected. This new station, which has changed its location, is a luxurious Neo-Mudéjar style building, built in a double-height brick factory, and its impressive hall with a high ceiling stands out with a beautiful light-filled coffered ceiling from which five wrought-iron ring lamps hang. Its architect was Narciso Clavería, also the author of the beautiful Toledo station.

In 1989-90, due to the renovation works carried out, a series of tiles were uncovered in the underpass of the platforms, coming from the ceramic workshop of Marigliano (Madrid), which tiled the aforementioned passageway. Both in that step and at the bases of the pillars of the marquee and the ceramic decoration of the lobby, the intertwined initials of MZA are repeated".