The historical connection between Canfranc Station and the Spanish-Mexican railway: A tribute to Fernando Ramirez de Dampierre
France and Spain shared ownership of Canfranc Station due to it’s border position. It’s now owned by the local Aragon government in Spain, who worked on the hotel regeneration process with the Barcelo Hotel Group.
Railway and history buffs officially have a new destination on their bucket list, while Mayor of Canfranc Fernando Sánchez Morales says locals have greeted the opening “with enthusiasm.”
Photographers were attracted to the Canfranc station, designed by Fernando Ramirez de Dampierre, as it was a forgotten piece of European rail history.
The architect stumbled across Canfranc Station a few years ago. When he discovered the abandoned rail hub would become a hotel, O’ Hare promised to return after completion.
Before the Nazis took over the Canfranc municipal area, the station acted as a gateway to liberty for some European Jews who were persecution by the German regime.
Ramon Diego Campo Fraile wrote books about Canfranc’s history, which can be found here.
The Canfranc Hotel & Hotel – Historical and Social Heritage of the Spanish Post-Holocaust Casado Fraile
Campo Fraile claimed that there were other painters, among them, the painters Max Ernst and Chagall. Josephine Baker was also at the station.
Canfranc was the only Spanish municipality occupied by the Nazis – and the regime made its presence felt. Campo Fraile said more than 300 people were arrested fleeing towards Lisbon in Portugal and sent to prisons across Spain.
Campo Fraile told CNN Travel that a local bus driver found evidence revealing that “86 tons of Nazi gold passed through the station between 1942 and 1943.”
The interior design of the hotel wants to evoke the 1920s with its fabrics, decor and staff uniforms. Bellosta calls it a nod to Canfranc’s historical, cultural and social heritage as well as the role it played in the 20th century.
There are four suites in the hotel. There’s a wellness area, including a pool and three restaurants. The hotel reception is what used to be the station concourse.
The hotel pool costs 15 more for each guest. Plus, Canfranc’s stunning mountainside location means it doesn’t have much in the way of grounds.
The history of the Canfranc Station and the development of an hotel that preserves the First World War II: Heraldo.es/canfranc
He also suggests the hotel could benefit from a display detailing the history of Canfranc Station, but adds that the staff are very knowledgeable on this subject.
Bellosta says that post-regeneration the photographers will be able to use their cameras to remember it, as well as enjoying a good meal.
The mayor says that he’s very happy with the way the hotel evoked the history of the station and railway environment.
Once one of Europe’s largest rail hubs, opulent Canfranc opened in style in 1928, with an inauguration ceremony attended by the king of Spain and the President of the French Republic.
During World War II, Canfranc was a hive of activity and intrigue, witnessing arrests, espionage and gold trafficking, but by 1970, the station had closed its doors.
“The plans to revitalize the Canfranc station is the best way to recover all the historic buildings and infrastructure that haven’t been used since 1970,” says Campo Fraile.
France and Spain share ownership of the station due to its border position. It’s now owned by the local Aragon government in Spain.
The writer behind the project heraldo.es/canfranc says that thousands of Jews fled to the United States from Canfranc during the first years of the world war.
“The town now survives off of natural tourism, such as skiing, other services and overall the tourism that the train station brings,” says Sánchez Morales.
“This project […] will promote tourism to the place where thousands of people were saved when fleeing the horrors of war, and where various channels of espionage helped the allies to victory,” says Campo Fraile.