The forgetfulness of Barcelona's first train line

* The author is part of the community of readers of La Vanguardia.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
01 April 2024 Monday 10:36
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The forgetfulness of Barcelona's first train line

* The author is part of the community of readers of La Vanguardia

Today I want to reflect on the memories of the past erased long ago by our municipal authorities. It is a shame that, when we visit other cities, especially European ones, we trace the ancient vestiges of their ancestors and see that their citizens boast about them and that their politicians have tried to preserve them. For me it is completely impossible to teach my grandchildren almost anything that I knew in my childhood.

It is logical that, over time and with the changes caused by progress, old things have disappeared, but it would be necessary for our authorities to try to make us know them and not forget them.

Who among Barcelonans under 50 years old knows a little about the history of the first railway that Spain had? It is logical that with the urbanization of the area it does not exist, but that there is no plaque to remind the new generations of it is regrettable.

The first railway line that left outside the walls of Barcelona and reached the city of Mataró, was the first railway line that Spain had.

It was built outside the wall near the port at the beginning of the Paseo de Don Carlos or the Cemetery (Vía Icaria, currently Doctor Aiguader), between the Paseo Nacional (currently Juan de Borbón) and the Torin bullring, on land belonging to to the glacis of the Citadel (a gentle, clear slope that preceded the moat of a fortress), which caused innumerable bureaucratic problems with the military authorities, who delayed the start of the works as long as they could.

The main obstacle they alleged was the perforation of the caponera (it consisted of a stockade with splinters or embrasures to defend the fortress moat), which joined the Citadel with the Fort of Don Carlos, which was located on the beach.

This drilling would allow the passage of train tracks. The work was authorized on December 18, 1847, carried out by Martí Audinis i Domènec Tomàs. With the walls still not demolished, the construction suffered from the limitations imposed by the military authorities, which forced the size of the tunnels to be limited.

The station consisted of a central building with a small tower with an exterior clock and two U-shaped side naves, intended for the tracks and platforms covered by an iron structure, with a glass and zinc roof, a warehouse, a large water tank and a small building for employee housing.

The inauguration took place on October 28, 1848, which its promoter Miguel Biada could not attend, who had died on April 2 in his city of Mataró.

With the urbanization of the area, the new commuter station that was built was Barcelona Termino-Cercanías, to provide service to the commuter line, next to Estación de Francia, between Pla de Palau and Plaza de Pau Vila. And to be able to continue providing service to the Mataró Massanet-Massanas coastline, a station inaugurated on August 27, 1860.

The new station was built by E. Remy y Compañía, with a main entrance through Pla de Palau, with two large wrought iron doors. On the left it was a wall with the Estación de Francia and on the right with the old Avenida del Capitán López Varela (later Icària).

Rectangular in shape and consisting of a ground floor and two upper floors, the first being taller than the second. The front façade or access to the street on the ground floor had four central entrances to the station platforms, a cafeteria bar on the left side and a bazaar on the right side, all accesses were protected by a metal canopy with the station name.

Each of the upper floors had six windows, in the rear part that faced the tracks in the center a clock informed passengers of the time. Next, the platforms that served the tracks of the different routes departed, which was inaugurated on March 24, 1964.

On the occasion of the 1992 Olympics and the opening of the seafront, the section of the Cercanías and Sant Adrià de Besòs station was suspended on Sunday, May 28, 1989, immediately beginning the lifting of the tracks in the Poblenou area to begin the development of the maritime façade and the Olympic Village. And the demolition of the old station.

From then on, the trains that traveled from Cercanías to Sant Adrià de Besòs took the Vía Trajana branch, making stops in Clot-Aragó, Arco de Triunfo, Catalunya and Sants.