The most important Madrid train station is Atocha. It is the terminus station for most of the AVE high-speed trains. But it is also the main Cercanías trains station hub, where all the lines connect. Additionally, Atocha has a Metro station. In fact, is very well connected by bus to the Barajas airport and the rest of the city.
Madrid’s first train station was inaugurated on February 9 1851 and was a small construction. After a massive fire destroyed the original building, the railway station was rebuilt and reopened in 1892 as Estación del Mediodía. The architect in charge of the reconstruction collaborated with Gustave Eiffel, and designed a structure made of wrought iron and red bricks, a style typical of the time.
Since then, Atocha train station has been renamed, remodeled and expanded; especially after the AVE trains started being used. The original building was converted into a concourse and an impressive tropical garden occupies now part of the surface. The tracks were located under the new terminal.
Atocha has all the services of a big train station, including cafeterias, restaurants, shops and a left luggage service (located at the back of the old building concourse).
Apart from Renfe ticket offices, there is an information stall at the main entrance to the Metro station, and a Madrid tourist office at the new building main hall.
On March 11 2004 arriving Cercanías trains completely crowded exploded in a series of coordinating bombings. As a result, 191 people were killed and 1,800 were injured. On June 10 2004 a dark and minimalist memorial was dedicated for the victims of the attack. Located in the first floor, it is open to the public on weekdays.
A second memorial, called Bosque del Recuerdo (Forest of the Remembrance) can be found in the Parque de El Retiro.
How To Get There
Atocha is in the southeast of Madrid. The exact address is Plaza del Emperador Carlos V, s/n.
Read more about purchasing a Cercanías train ticket.
There is a Metro station inside the premises, Atocha Renfe, with access to line 1 (light blue). Unfortunately, there are no Metro direct routes from Chamartín or Barajas airport. Therefore if you have lots of luggage it might be preferable to use an alternative.
Atocha is very well connected with
Barajas airport. If you need to go from Atocha to Barajas airport you have two options.
- You can catch the Barajas airport express bus running from 6:00 to 23:30 (between 23:30 and 6:00 terminus is at Plaza de Cibeles) all year round with only two stops on the route. The bus stops at Terminals 1, 2 and 4 (T1, T2 and T4).
- Or you can take a Cercanías train on line C-1 (light blue). Despite this is a much faster option remember that the airport train station is located in Terminal 4 (T4). So if your flight lands at Terminal 1 or 2 (T1 or T2) you will need to catch the free shuttle bus to get to Terminal 4 (T4).
- You could also use the subway but, as I said before, you need to change lines twice so it’s not very handy if you are carrying lots of luggage. For more information, have a look at how to exit the airport and how to get to the airport.
Chamartín, the second most important train station. To get there from Atocha, the easiest and fastest way is to catch a Cercanías train using lines C-1 (light blue), C-2 (dark green), C-3 (purple), C-4 (dark blue), C-7 (red) and C-10 (light green).
Additionally, all Cercanías lines stop at Atocha. These are C-1 (light blue), C-2 (dark green), C-3 (purple), C-4 (dark blue), C-5 (yellow), C-7 (red) and C-10 (light green).
Obviously, you can also get there by bus (lines 10, 14, 19, 24, 26, 32, 37, 54, 57, 59, 85, 86, 102, 141, 203 –also called Barajas express, C1, C2, N9, N10, N11, N25) and taxi.
You may be interested in reading about getting to Madrid by train.