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GES218 - Correos abandoned station, Barca

Catalonia's capital city is one of many cities in España that has trains rushing beneath the surface. However it's the only one with a disused metro station that in any way resembles a station, and, unlike in Madrid, hasn't been put to other uses. There are a few other 'stations' but they have very few signs left of being a station. This is equally one of the best for left over adverts, a rarity these days. London has the best, but they're sealed into a walled area in Notting Hill Gate Station, Euston disused station has a fair few too.

GE071 had been living in Barcelona for 6 months as a mattress tester, and was busy making the most of this untapped (for explorers, clearly not for graffiti writers) system. As we wandered through the streets in the early hours, he pointed out the basics of the system, and revealed the wise and intricate knowledge bestowed upon his young shoulders. GE074 was along for the ride as well, our first overseas trip since the USA back in Spring. After probing various parts of the system, we tried to give one way into Corre0s station (Corre0s = Post/Mail in English) a go, but it wasn't going to happen. There are two police forces in Catalonia, and the Mossos d'Esquadra (literally 'Squad Lads') are military trained, and are known for their less than gentle arrest methods. We didn't fancy meeting them. So the following night, GE074 & I tried a more conventional method mid-service, basically running into a pitch black tunnel and hoping/praying not to get seen or squished by any trains. We climbed into a small hole and found an odd remnant of the previous station. The original sign that waited at the bottom of the steps from the street, some steps sat behind the camera. And a seperate little alcove sat on the right.

I took turns with GE074 in snapping the station, it would be easier if there weren't two people dodging each other, as well as live trains. I looked out into the pitch black, and saw GE074's small light bobbing along. In the distance I could see the lights of a station, in the opposite direction the tunnel curved, so we couldn't see the other station. I sat back from the track access, and sat on the steps by the metro entrance sign above. I retrieved my camera from my bag, and like GE074, decided to ditch taking a bag for speediness. I went back to the access hole, and looked out for GE074, and as I did a train shot past. After it had gone I looked out again into the darkness, only to see a small light pop out from behind something. GE074 came bounding down the tracks, and climbed back up into the hole. We both sat on the steps, and after a quick catch-up, i went off down the hole and GE074 has down my camera, and I was off. A small room was just down the tracks from the hole, and I stood in there expanding my tripod. A train shot by as I sat flush to the back wall. After it had gone I looked out, and saw it was all clear. Now came the difficult part, light painting in a live tunnel! First priority was the station name, sat above the side of the station that still had a platform. An old advert for Canada Dry Fabula, sold in the 1970s.

Gambling on there not being a train for a minute, I set up the tripod and attempted to light paint the station concourse. It was only a 30second exposure, but unfortunately a train appeared halfway though. As can be seen in the distance.  I killed the light and hid behind a pillar until the train had left. Hoping it hadn't seen my torch. There are no third rails on this system, the live wires run sensibly on the ceiling.

A train whizzes down the opposite side of the station. A white light in the portal to the next station can just be seen in the distance. The platform now liberally sprayed with ballast.

An advert for Asturias furniture store. Lighting is worse than usual due to the brevity of time between trains. The trains on this side of the tracks come from the station with the visible portal down a straight section. So you have literally a second or two to hide.

Another advert for a Canada Dry product, as well as Hostalen, a plastics firm.

The other main visible advert, for El Regulador (The Regulator). The other writing is about silverware jewellery and watches.

Thinking I'd already had too much luck, I jogged off back to where GE074 was waiting, and handed him my camera, before crawling through into the cavity by the steps. Packed up, we both headed off to rejoin the outside world, and avoid being beaten up by the lovely local enforcement thugs. Props to GE071 for intel and tricky fingers.


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