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If you’re a history buff, enjoy old architecture and art, interested in something called a “ghost station,” and are into free things to do in Madrid, visiting Andén Cero in Madrid (Platform 0) is something you must-do!
Andén Cero is a truly unique museum–and a free museum in Madrid–that allows you to really look back into history and see what the Madrid metro was like long ago.
Andén Cero in Madrid, also known as the Chamberí Ghost Station, is a long closed metro station that is now open to the public as a museum. It originally opened in 1919 and was a popular metro stop in Madrid’s Chamberí neighborhood.
As you descend into Anden Cero—after passing the small information desk and gift shop—you are transported back in time to the 1960’s.
The crisp, white subway tile.
Ornate details that just don’t exist today.
There are no Metro cards, electronic signs, or maps showing the extensive metro system that we now know exists in Madrid today.
Instead, you are greeted with walls of classic, white subway tiles and a ticket booth with woodwork for the workers, and even a small heater for them in cold winter months.
You essentially see the Metro station exactly how it was when it closed in 1966, except that it’s just you, your guide, and your small tour group.
All of the artwork including the Metro line map with stops, stations name, and advertisements down on the platform itself are all handcrafted and exactly how they would have been in the 1920s.
This is pretty amazing considering the amount of work put into restoring them and that Andén Cero sat vacant in the center of Madrid for years!
When down on the platform, you are surrounded by all of the handcrafted tile advertisements that were typical of the 1920s. They are simply immaculate and trump any of the Metro advertisements you’ll see when taking the Metro around Madrid nowadays. They range from watches to coffee and truly do bring you back in time.
One of the most eerie features of Andén Cero is that when you are down on the platform, Línea 1 (Line 1) goes whizzing by every 5 minutes or so. That’s because the tracks where Andén Cero is located are still the tracks of today’s Línea 1. This is also the reason Andén Cero gets the nickname of the Chamberí Ghost Station!
Andén Cero was abandoned in 1966 because of faulty design, not due to lack of use. It was actually almost the opposite as the station was very popular!
It’s built on a curve and when the Metro stops at the station it’s actually a little distance away from the platform, causing a gap. When the Madrid Metro changed their trains and made them longer, it made that gap wider.
Andén Cero is also a smaller station in terms of length and width of the platform compared to most of today’s Metro stops, so the longer trains were too long for the stop, and there wasn’t enough space for all the people to wait for the next train.
Therefore, the Madrid Metro closed Andén Cero permanently in 1966, and it sat vacant. However, it was still along Línea 1, so when it passed Andén Cero passengers saw a metro station that they never stopped at—with advertising and everything!
While this alone could have given it the “ghost station” name, there’s even more reason as to why it’s called the Ghost Station of Chamberí!
The Madrid Metro runs from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., so when the last train would pass, people who were homeless would walk onto the tracks to Andén Cero and sleep in this abandoned Metro stop.
However, as the Metro runs again at 6:00 a.m. they needed to be out, but obviously that didn’t always happen.
And if they didn’t get out of Andén Cero by the time the Metro was running again, they had to spend all day there and wait until it finished running.
That means that passengers riding línea 1 most likely saw some people moving about in Andén Cero—a Metro stop they saw but never stopped at. This obviously led to stories of people seeing ghosts at this mysterious stop, and without proper explanation, it makes complete sense as to why someone would think that!
Fortunately, or unfortunately, there are not ghosts in Andén Cero. It is, however, a museum that you can visit in Madrid nowadays, and it’s FREE!
The only catch is that you have to book your tickets ahead of time, specifically the last week of the month before you want to go.
For example, if you want to visit Andén Cero on May 15th. You need to book the tickets the last week of April.
They don’t release them on an exact date at the end of each month, so just go to their website and continue to check and refresh because they will sell out fast!
Andén Cero in Madrid is only open on specific days:
- Fridays: 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Saturdays: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Sundays: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Tours of Andén Cero are every 30 minutes, and the last tour leaves 30 minutes before the closing time listed above.
If you are looking for something unique to do that most visitors don’t get to visit, you need to visit Andén Cero in Madrid. It’s a special part of Madrid’s history that is quite literally hidden underground. Plus, it’s free!