Fury over restoration vandalism at Almería’s historic train station

A planned restoration of Almería’s train station has caused outrage after it was noticed that historic elements have been cemented over

A long awaited restoration of Almería’s historic train station has caused much controversy after it was noticed that elements of the façade have been crudely cemented over.

The old RENFE station in Almería city
The old RENFE station in Almería city

The historic building saw scaffolding go up this week as the first phase of a much needed restoration project started. Works carried out by building company Jarquil SA aim to clean the outside of the building, make good urgent repairs to the roof and external elements, and permit restorers to draw up a detailed plan for a more in-depth repair.

But eagle eyed locals spotted that several emblems on the balustrade that runs around the roof of the building have been cemented over. The emblems are the shields and names of the original 19th century train stations between Almería and Madrid.

One of the cemented over emblems, next to an untouched original one
One of the cemented over emblems, next to an untouched original one

A joint complaint issued by two train associations states that these emblems are part of the historic building, and their wanton destruction is an abusive, illegal act that deserves investigation.

Jarquil SA have denied being responsible for the cementing, and say that the work was carried out before they undertook the project. Photos of the building taken before work commenced show that the cementing had indeed been carried out previous to its start.

A statement by the company said: “We are carrying out small jobs of stabilisation in that area, mainly working around the iron- and glass-work. Our scaffolding does not even reach to the cemented area.”

So who did this?

That is the question which is provoking much discussion. One theory is that the emblems may have featured fascist elements, causing them to be destroyed in a fit of misplaced political correctness.

The building, which was first opened in 1895, was the subject of a “hug” by hundreds of residents last May 28, as people turned out to demand its repair. Earlier this year it was declared to be Spain’s prettiest train station by El Mundo newspaper, and fêted as “a perfect example of late 19th century steel and crystal architecture”. But it has been closed since 2005 after train and bus traffic moved to the mixed station nextdoor, called the Intermodal, which was the first mixed station in Spain.

The building is said to be in a precarious state and in need of urgent repair. However, restoration work has been constantly delayed over the years as it is hoped this will be a central feature of any new AVE high speed trainline, should it ever arrive in the city.

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