Estación Madrid Puerta de Atocha
© Vicente Tofiño
From railway infrastructure to tropical garden
Since 1992, when the Atocha Station premises were turned into a tropical garden in accordance with the plans drawn up the architect Rafael Moneo to serve as the concourse for the new AVE and commuter train stations, this railway infrastructure has been and continues to be the main connection hub between Madrid and the entire Peninsula. Inaugurated on July 9, 1851 as the terminus for the second railway line in Spain, which linked the capital to Aranjuez, its configuration and structure were the work of Alberto de Palacio y Elisague, a collaborator of the engineer Gustave Eiffel who, at the end of the 19th century, designed a grandiose station built from iron, stone and brick. Its grandiosity is certified by its dimensions: one hundred and fifty-two metres long by forty-eight metres wide and twenty-seven metres high. Its light shines through the largest vault in Spain.