Explanada de los Arañones de Canfranc is open to the public, transformed into a space with a railway spirit and for walking

Huesca, January 7 (Europe Press) –

The Minister of Territorial Structure, Mobility and Housing of the Government of Aragon, José Luis Soro, together with the Mayor of Canfranque, Fernando Sánchez, inaugurated the new Explanada de los Arañones, now transformed into a rail-spirited space for walking, memory and claim.

The Government of Aragon, through the public company Suelo y Vivienda de Aragón, carried out this project with an investment of 7.8 million euros and its works began in August 2020, although it could not be properly promoted. Hurry up until April 2021, with the commissioning of the new passenger terminal and the new route package .

Thus, moving the tracks to the eastern region has allowed the environment of the Canfranc International Station to be freed up to create a recreational area, as indicated by the Department of Territorial Structure, Mobility and Housing in a press release.

The act of opening to the public was symbolized by the opening of access to the park via the new footpath, a section built over the Aragon River which lies 200 meters to the north of the Albert Le Lay bridge. In this way, there are currently three entrances to the park: the Albert Le Lay Bridge, the footpath, and the northern entrance for road traffic.


Loaded with symbolism, the new Explanada de los Arañones is an open-air museum where original Canfranc railroad materials are on display. A walk through the 12 hectares allows you to explore the history of Canfranc and is a tribute to the ancestors and generations that made the construction of Canfranc’s international station and the Somport tunnel possible.

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The Minister of Territorial Structure, Mobility and Housing, José Luis Soro, recalled that in 2015 work began, in collaboration with the City Council of Canfranc, to restore the park and the archaeological station. He noted that “this Saturday is another step before the completion of the proposed project in 2015 and now we have the opening of the hotel only in the coming weeks.”

Access to the park from the north of the municipality is via a road, which is an example of a circular economy because “we reused the materials from the excavations that were carried out, and the land was also used for green spaces,” Soro explained in detail, adding that in this way the environmental impact was reduced. The yard has several parking lots, including an area equipped for mobile homes.

The backbone of this space is a central corridor over 700 meters long and 3 meters wide, complete with several cross-passages. The counselor has crossed: “The pedestrian evokes the route that Canfranero takes from Zaragoza to Canfranco, crossing plains, valleys and mountains.”

Around these paths, large green areas with lawns of grass, shrubs, and trees are demarcated, integrated into the environment, “not only because the species from the area have been cultivated, but also because we want it to be a living landscape, evolving: in the dense areas the space is left uncultivated.” cultivated so that native species can spontaneously evolve there,” José Luis Soro noted.

The investment in the urbanization amounted to 7.8 million euros, in addition to the 9.8 million euros invested for the construction of the new railway district, and 15.8 million euros for the rehabilitation of the international terminal for its destination as a hotel.

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The soul of the Canfranc railway

Urban furniture was created using existing railway materials, such as five train cars, an original section of track with a shunt, an impressive gantry crane, levers that were used to move goods between French and Spanish trains, gouache that was used to feed steam locomotives with water; manual turnout lifts; or scale.

The 47 lampposts that light the way for road traffic reproduce the original lampposts and some of the original lampposts have been preserved next to the runway.

On the other hand, the seats in the aisles were created specifically for this environment, re-using the original aisle for the aisles of the way. Railroad materials were also used in the three installed media posters drawn by Aragonese designer Débora Aguelo. The vertical supports for these banners are original rails.

At the north entrance, the old access doors into the station have been moved; While in the southern area, an amphitheater has been created that will be able to host cultural and social events, “evoking the science of the mountains that Canfranero passes”, the consultant specified, because it is a natural amphitheater, with a turf lawn, where two children’s slides are installed.

Finally, various symbolic spaces have been created, including the Albert le Lai memorial; Sombort Tunnel Honor. and the Cypress Trees Monument. Therefore, this square already has all the necessary services for water supply, electricity, sewage, communications and general lighting.

A unique space

The mayor of Canfranc, Fernando Sánchez, saw it as a unique space, “a railway garden that could only exist in Canfranc”. Canfranc City Council has created a website explaining the work carried out by the Employment Workshop where you can learn about the symbolism of each of the spaces created.

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“Everything is ready to serve future projects that are being developed in existing buildings on the plaza that are still not renovated,” Sanchez added, adding that most of these buildings have residential uses and two of them will be used for public housing for rent.

Festive and popular opening

The park’s inaugural visit by Os Gaiters de Chaca was revived and finished in the amphitheater. There was a brief explanation of the work carried out.

Minister Soro concluded by noting that the largest outstanding collective challenge was the reopening of the Canfranck International Line and encouraged the men and women of Aragon to continue claiming a link with France.

Myrtle Frost

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