Historic stations

Valladolid Station

"... Go to Castile and Aragon, celebrate in my royal name the opening of work on the Northern and Zaragoza railways, and let the Castilians and Aragonese know of my deep and constant desire for the exaltation and future prosperity of the loyal people held in high esteem by their Queen Isabel..."

This is what Queen Isabella II wanted General Espartero to convey to the people of Valladolid on her behalf in a solemn act of 28 April, 1856, the starting point for work on the station and which involved an important celebration for the city, and of great significance for the social and economic life of Valladolid.


Valladolid station illustration

As outlined in some press clippings from the time, a great brick arch was built due to the fear of the population that their houses could collapse due to the ground vibrating as the enormous steam engines and trains passed by. The bridge itself would fall before the houses.

The Commemorative Brick Arch recalls the commencement of the railway line work, towards Medina del Campo on one side, and towards Burgos on the other side, forming part of the Madrid – Irún line that the Compañía de Los Caminos del Hierro del Norte (Northern Railway Company) started to build in 1856. The first thing to do was to mark out the line, building naturally ending with the parts that presented most problems, such as the Guadarrama Mountains in Castile and the Pyrenees foothills in Guipúzcoa. There were times during April 1860 when the labour force employed on work in the mountains was reckoned to be as much as 13,750 men. Not enough effort was made to keep to the agreement made with France during the reign of Isabella II in order to link up their railway infrastructure via Bayonne. Lack of clarity in French projects and concessions, the situation of internal conflict and the commissioning of the France-Spain sea link via Santander with the "Compagnie Internationale de Navigation" would put back the rail connection until the start of the 20th century.No great effort was made to make a compromise possible, the line should achieve the link with France, a country that shared the same aim since its railways finished at Bayonne, although due to lack of clarity in the French concessions, the work in France was delayed. Queen Isabella II attended the act to commence work on the Prince Alfonso bridge (over the River Pisuegra) in 1858, on which she laid the first stone.

The construction project was headed by the Franco-Spaniard Enrique Grasset y Echevarría and the architect Salvador Armagnac, leading to what is today the Campo Grande or North Station in Valladolid. A new project, which in its second corrected version, was finally approved in May 1891. The building was finally finished in October 1895, in a place where there had only been a simple halt whose only purpose was to give passengers the opportunity to get on and off the train.

Collection from the Museo del Ferrocarril de Madrid (Madrid Railway Museum). Fundación Ferrocarriles Españoles (Spanish Railway Foundation)
Station concourse

The Project consisted of a central section, two side parts and two end sections, following the typical outline of the Compañía del Norte stations. Three large doorways under semi-circular arches open up into a central building divided by twin pilasters projecting out from the facing of the facade and supported back to back by a base.

The stone-brick combination dominates the facade. There is masonry in the central part, and chain-effects on the flanks of all buildings, stone too at door and window openings; the rest being pressed brick. Sculptures of Agriculture and Industry, the work of the sculptor Ángel Díaz mark out the façade and both sides of the city coat of arms.

Collection from the Museo del Ferrocarril de Madrid (Madrid Railway Museum). Fundación Ferrocarriles Españoles (Spanish Railway Foundation)

The addition of the iron roof over the platforms with clocks on the screens at both ends, bring to mind the station of Príncipe Pío, since its construction (hinged system of Polonceau type blades) is similar. The twenty metre span was maintained, but it is less elevated - starting from the cornice on the first floor of the building - than in the first design by Enrique Grasset, and with less decorative fringes. The columns supporting it were cast at the Zorroza workshops in Bilbao.

The allusion to Campo Grande (Big Country) is due to its proximity to the popular, widely used city park, being an ideal setting for meeting and social coexistence at the time.

Traces of those years of prosperity and optimism remain at the station itself, of course, and in the old engine sheds sheltering the steam engines. But the future shape of this conglomeration started to change with the cooperation agreement reached by Renfe and Valladolid Council in May 1993 to find a technical solution to the obstacle that the railway line represented to the city’s development. The railway arterial system aims to turn Valladolid into the most important transport centre towards the North East and, with respect to the station, involves its immediate conversion into the passenger service centre.

Valladolid Station

Valladolid Station today appears very spacious, elegant, and luminous in all of its formal parts following its extensive refurbishment to celebrate one hundred years from the start of its construction (1891-1991). Valladolid always had very good artificial light: it was the first on the line to have gas lighting, and a facade lighting system was introduced in 1990 that allows a magnificent night-time view of its qualities.

Edición Impresa


Portada de la edición impresa

Noviembre de 2006

En esta edición han participado Adif, a través de su Dirección de Patrimonio y Urbanismo, Dirección Ejecutiva de Estaciones de Viajeros y la Fundación de los Ferrocarriles Españoles.