Estación Internacional de Canfranc


The magnificent, 250m-long, Modernista structure of Canfranc station stands as a monument to a trans-Pyrenean railway that has lain idle for half a century – but, it's hoped, will be reopening again, with a project under way to rehabilitate the line and create a luxury hotel/residential complex at the station.

The station originally opened in 1928, housing customs and immigration on the then-new line between Zaragoza and Pau (France). The line and station closed in 1970, when a bridge collapsed on the French side.

Railway nuts and lovers of decaying grandeur will enjoy the 40-minute guided tours given by Canfranc tourist office, which are the only way of visiting the now dilapidated grand edifice. The tours, in Spanish (with English and French audioguides) go at various times daily; reservations are essential.

The station's short history is a fascinating one: during WWII it was a nest of pro-Allied spies who helped Jews and Allied aviators escape from Nazi-occupied France, as well as a conduit for Spanish tungsten (for armour-plating Nazi armaments) in exchange for gold stolen by the Nazis from Jews.

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