What was once the biggest railway station in Europe is now a decaying shell overlooking train tracks smothered in weeds. Canfranc International Railway Station opened with much fanfare in 1928. Sprawling, glamorous, and equipped with a ritzy hotel, it was the centerpiece of a railway line between France and Spain.
During the early stages of World War II, the train route became a lifeline for Jews desperate to escape occupied France. But within a few years, the Nazis took control and a swastika flew above the station. Under Nazi control, gold plundered from murdered Jews left occupied France on the line bound for Portugal and Spain. After the war, Nazi war criminals slipped through allied hands on these same rail lines.
A train derailment in 1970 lead to the abandonment of the railway line and its elegant Art Nouveau station. Canfranc Estación saw little activity until 1985, when Spanish physicists took advantage of its remote location and abundant subterranean space and opened the Canfranc Underground Astroparticle Laboratory. Here, beneath the husk of a former transport hub, scientists conduct experiments on dark matter, neutrinos and geodynamics.
View 22880 Canfranc-Estación in a larger map
TODAY IN SLATE
Scalia’s Liberal Streak
The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.
Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters
There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?
The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”
The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B
Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey
No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.
The Other Huxtable Effect
Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.