Which engineer's design is that locomotive? Who were the workers who built it? Which driver handled it, and what people and goods did it carry? Questions like that make the Asturias Railway Museum such an exciting experience. Thus, any of the 140 rolling stock – including sixteen steam locomotives, some of them still in working order – is presented by its own individual story. The museum is located at the old northern Train Station of Gijón, right next to the city's central beach Playa de Poniente. It occupies more than 14,000 square metres and includes the original station, built in 1872-73, two new buildings and the railyard. During summer, on so called steam days, there is much action with visitors boarding historic trains and, albeit briefly, travelling back in time nearly 150 years. Indeed, the railway has thoroughly transformed people's lives in Asturias and helped making Gijón the town it is today. The museum, featuring more than 1,000 exhibits, tells this story as if it happened the minute before.
In 1872-73, when the railway station "Estación del Norte" was built in the northern parts of Gijón, there was not much going on in that particular area. But this was to change very soon. In no time at all the quiet rural setting of El Natahoyo transformed into one of the city's most important proletarian suburbs. Laid out on a quite limited surface, bounded by rail and sea, it became home of many industries, including some of the most important 20th-century Spanish shipyards. With the railway the mining valleys of Asturias gained access to the sea which gave a boost to the region's export activities. Thus, the railway age contributed a lot to the rise of Gijón as the economic centre of Asturias.
This explains why the museum strongly focuses on the role of railways in the social, technological and economic history of the industrial region of Asturias. It was inaugurated in October 1998 by the current king Felipe VI, then Prince of Asturias, in a station that closed 1990, putting an end to over one hundred years of history. The museum includes the former platforms and railway tracks, a new building hosting the permanent exhibition, a restoration workshop and a multipurpose warehouse. It preserves the heritage of one of the densest railway networks in the country and showcases locomotives - steam, diesel, and electric – and rail carriages of eight different gauges. This variety of track systems is partly due to the fact that the majority of the displayed engines operated in the coal mines and other industries of the region. The locomotives where built in France and Germany as well as in Spain. A steam crane constructed in 1890, which is said to be the oldest functional vehicle in Spain, is also part of the exhibition. A research unit includes extensive collections of photographs, books, maps and other documents. All this accurately demonstrates the profound change that the advent of the railway triggered in Asturias and Gijón.
|Recommended duration of visit:||2 Hours|
|Duration of a guided tour:||60 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||Available|
|Infrastructure for children:|
|Gift and book shop on site:||yes|
April to September:
Tuesday - Friday 10am-7pm
Saturday, Sunday, Bank holidays 10.30am-7pm
October to March:
Tuesday - Friday 9.30am-6.30pm
Saturday, Sunday, Bank holidays 10am-6.30pm