Metro has finally finished its new Gran Vía station. This Thursday, the day of its inauguration – on Friday it opens to the public from 6:00 am – the atmosphere was of an important appointment: dozens of officials from the Community of Madrid, with its president at front, members of Adif and many journalists roamed the subsoil of the Red de San Luis checking that everything was ready for use.
GALLERY: the archaeological and futuristic details of the new Metro station in Gran Vía
There were many faces of relief among the members of Metro de Madrid, who see the light at the end of a long period of construction. In total, it has been almost three years of which the last two were not foreseen: the complexity of the work and the unforeseen archaeological finds ended up lengthening the work 825 days longer than necessary and leaving one station, Gran Vía, without service. , which was on the list of the busiest in the network with 52,000 users a day.
As of this Friday there will be more, because the 22,000 who will use these facilities to take the Cercanías de Sol will be added to the usual traffic, which can be easily accessed through a tunnel excavated under Montera street and which comes into service at the same time than the Gran Vía station. All travelers will pass through facilities in which Metro de Madrid has thrown the rest to make it one of its iconic stops. Here it will show some of the elements that it intends to incorporate for the future in other stations, such as the new models of lathes and the fourth generation of its auto-sales machines. And it will exhibit part of its past, starting with the replica of the original Antonio Palacios temple, which has supporters and detractors, but whose presence on Gran Vía is now imposing.
Past and future intertwine in a station that will attract the attention of the first travelers due to its bluish appearance, thanks to the decorative geometric panels and the lights placed by the company to give the place a certain personality. Then they will find the new lathes (there are 17) in bright colors and a system of lights and screens to make the entrances and exits more intuitive.
Another of the great technological innovations at the Gran Vía station are the 14 self-selling machines, with a technology 4.0 -in Metro’s words- where it is possible to pay for the first time in the suburban with the contactless system and where the acquisition of titles is simpler and more intuitive. Through a huge touch screen you can load different subscriptions on the Multi card or search for a destination -be it a network stop or a point of interest in the city- and buy the corresponding ticket.
The technological deployment is completed with the installation of 13 escalators and 4 elevators to make the entire complex accessible. The most outstanding of them all is the one that recreates the elevator that went down to the first platforms, inaugurated in 1920 and which was crowned by the famous temple of Palacios, the company’s architect, creator of many of Madrid’s icons. For the recreation – it is not an exact replica, although it is quite close – a company from Porriño, Palacios’ hometown, was hired, which copied the measurements of the original moved there in 1970 and manufactured the modules in the abundant granite of those land.
Travelers who enjoy historical details will be able to go down this elevator to the new 2,000 square meter lobby (the previous one had 900) where the ceramic mural by Miguel Durán-Loriga has been recovered, where you can see the recreation of the same temple from the seventies. Although they will have to go down one more level to find the most valuable patrimonial details.
As soon as you go down the stairs, in a display case, you will find one of the two Madrid coats of arms that Palacios commissioned for the suburban with metallic reflections tile, all of them gold and green. One of them settled in Cuatro Caminos and the other, over the years, was forgotten in Gran Vía, buried by a reform. Fortunately, it appeared during the works in a vaulted area and is now preserved in perfect condition, together with a panel explaining the details of its extraction.
On the same floor are other remains of the original station staircase, opened on November 18, 1918, which have been preserved and placed in their exact original location. Two elements powerfully attract attention: on the one hand, the stairs in which commercial advertisements were inserted in tiles, so that the travelers who climbed them could read them about the soaps and bicarbonate that Torres Muñoz manufactured.
On top of these stairs there are spectacular vitrified tiles, crowned with four lions that open their jaws. In total, during the archaeological work, remains of up to 13 different heads were recovered. Antonio Palacios chose this type of decoration to dignify a popular means of transport in the lower classes, which could also be endowed with a monumentality typical of royal buildings.
“He tried to give finishes of this type to give relevance to public transport”, comments Carlos Zorita, head of infrastructure and stations of the Madrid Metro. In addition, an iron handrail, beams and a large iron hanger that could support a lamppost or a sign have also been recovered.
Along with this cabinet are other older objects, from the 18th and 19th centuries, corresponding on the one hand to the Casa de Astrearena cellars, from which numerous bottles have been recovered. Also elements of pharmacies, coins, vases and some ornaments cataloged during the excavations. The underground archaeological tour could be completed by walking through the tunnel that leads to the Cercanías de Sol station, where since its last renovation, in 2013, the remains of the Iglesia del Buen Suceso have been displayed.
Metro de Madrid has invested 10.7 million euros in the reform of Gran Vía, which is added to the 3.1 that Adif has spent to complete its passage under Calle Montera. The result, along with all the surprises it holds, can be seen from this Friday.