It has earned the nickname “Titanic in the Mountains”, but now Canfranc, a monumental and ill-fated railway station, will serve as a five-star company 51 years after the closure of the international railway line through the Pyrenees The hotel is reborn.
Canfranc is a village located more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) above the French-Western border. Its story is about vanity ambition and naked failure, incompetence and corruption, conspiracy, smuggling, and a century of misfortune.
The writer Alfonso Marco said that Spain wants to prove its ability to build Europe’s great “railway cathedral” on a scale El Canfranc, the story of the legendary train (Canfranc, the story of the legendary train).
“By the time it was completed, it had already belonged to 19 in terms of concept and technology.day Century,” he told the Guardian. The problem is that the station was conceived in 1853 but was not completed until 1928.
Marco is the third generation of railroad workers in the family. He was born at Canfranc Station, where his father worked and stayed.
At the opening ceremony of the route, King Alfonso XIII of Spain solemnly stated: “The Pyrenees no longer exists.” However, the mountains are only one of the obstacles to Canfranc’s success.
There are many myths and legends around the station, for example, it changed the course of the Second World War. It didn’t, but it did work.After the Nazi occupation France, The Franco regime in Spain used Canfranc to exchange tungsten, which was vital in tank production, for Nazi gold, including a single batch of 86 tons.
Franco hopes to maintain good relations with Britain and the United States, but will not refuse profitable trade opportunities with Nazi Germany.
“As an international border crossing, Canfranc is more cautious and less visible than others,” Marco said.
The station was used by spies from all directions, and it is said that many Jews also escaped persecution in Vichy France through Canfranc.
“All these stories have some truth, but they have snowballed into completely exaggerated things,” Marco said. “For example, Jews do use it as a border crossing point, but not on a large scale.
“Although the Germans ran a customs post on the French side during World War II, they never occupied Canfranc. These stories of swastikas flying out of station flagpoles are fake.”
Marco rejected the Titanic nickname, although he admitted that, like this ship, Canfranc can be seen as a metaphor for failed ambitions, and admitted that it has more bad luck than it deserves.
In fact, it has almost nothing else. When the financial crisis struck in 1929, the station had just opened. Two years later, it was severely damaged in a fire. Then, in 1936, the Spanish Civil War began, and at the moment it ended, World War II broke out. When the hostilities finally ended, the Franco dictatorship was isolated, and international rail transportation was not restored until the 1950s.
However, the tracks on the French side are different from those in Spain, so passengers and luggage must be unloaded from one train to another, adding to the already long journey time. This line has never been feasible.
In 1970, a derailment damaged a bridge and provided an excuse to abandon the station. The station had 365 windows and a 200-meter-long platform. Huge emotion and heritage. Value…a part of history that cannot be ignored, it is worthy of understanding and attention.”
Today, the station only operates moderate Spanish domestic services.
The 104-room hotel was designed by architects Joaquín Magrazó and Fernando in collaboration with the Aragonese regional government and the Barceló hotel chain. The budget cost is 27 million euros, of which the Aragonese government will invest 12 million euros to repair the track and develop the surrounding area.
The facade will be retained, but a new station is being built behind the existing station and will be accessed through the hotel lobby. The complex will include a 200-seat conference center, a railway museum, shops and a pilgrim refuge, as Canfranc is located on one of the routes to Santiago de Compostela.
It is hoped that after the completion of the project at the end of next year, the hotel will bring the village back to life, but Marco believes that it will take some time for the connection to Pau, France to re-operate.
In 2020, France and Spain agreed to begin reopening the 7.8-kilometer Somport tunnel connecting the two countries. With the support of the European Union, the Canfranc line and station are expected to be fully operational in 2026.
At the same time, the station has become a pilgrimage site for people interested in industrial heritage. Marco said that he recommends taking the train from Zaragoza to Canfranc twice a day because it passes through the Pyrenees. The magnificent view.