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Metro de Madrid was established 90 years ago in order to facilitate the mobility of Madrid residents. The population of Madrid at that time was 600,000

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Metro de Madrid was established 90 years ago in order to facilitate the mobility of Madrid residents. The population of Madrid at that time was 600,000. Today, 90 years after its inauguration, every day Metro conveys over two and a half million passengers around its 284-kilometre network and its 294 stations. Mobility within the Autonomous Community of Madrid is increasingly safer, faster and more efficient.

Metro de Madrid, 90 years at the service of the community

The first Metro line, inaugurated 90 years ago, had 8 stations and a length of just four kilometres. Since then, Madrid has changed a lot and the demographic and economic growth undergone by the Autonomous Community of Madrid in recent times has called for a parallel effort to bring the Metro system to the places where this growth has taken Madrid residents. In this way, it now reaches twelve municipalities in the Region, and 76.7% of the population of the Autonomous Community of Madrid has a Metro station within 600 metres of their home.
All this has become possible thanks to the fact that, after successive expansion plans executed as of 1995, there has been an increase from 164 stations and a 120-km network, to 294 stations and a 284-kilometre network, figures that make Metro de Madrid the third-ranking network in the world in the number of stations, behind the New York and Paris subways, and the fourth in extension, behind the New York, London and Moscow underground systems.

The effort devoted by the authorities to endow Metro de Madrid with the maximum transport capacity has meant that a large proportion of its network is heavy metro, which also makes Metro de Madrid the top-ranking underground system in the world insofar as tunnel length is concerned.

In the course of the last few years a considerable effort has been made to endow the network with accessibility measures facilitating access to the facilities. Metro de Madrid is now the network that is equipped with the largest number of escalators (1619 units), followed a long way behind by the underground systems of Moscow (598) and Paris (504).
Similarly, it is number one in the number of lifts installed in the network (458), followed by the New York (196) and London (150) underground systems, which makes Metro de Madrid the most accessible metropolitan transport network in the world.



System Km

System Tunnel Km




New York


Inclusive of quadruple tracks in some cases

The largest expansion undergone by an Underground system

The origins

At half past three in the afternoon of 17 October 1919, Alfonso XIII inaugurated the first section of what is now the Madrid Metro system at Cuatro Caminos station.

The North-South Line, as it was called then, was four kilometres long and had eight stations: Puerta del Sol, Red de San Luis (Gran Vía), Hospicio (Tribunal), Bilbao, Chamberí (now called Museo), Martínez Campos (Iglesia), Ríos Rosas and Cuatro Caminos.
The public opening took place on 31 October 1919. On this first day the new transport system was used by 56,200 passengers. Madrid residents, who had made the same journey hitherto by tram, with a travelling time of just over half an hour, were able to verify that they could do the same trip in barely ten minutes, including stops.
The first lines: 1920-1926

Metro made such a successful start that in the course of the first year it was used by 14 million passengers. At the suggestion of the City Council, the return ticket was introduced in 1924 and it remained in force for several decades, with a rate of use that was extremely high.

In this period Metro multiplied its length by four, going from 3.5 to 14.6 km.
Metro continues growing: 1927-1935

The expansion of the system called for new equipment. The increase in rolling stock made it necessary to have a larger area for Workshops and Car Sheds at Cuatro Caminos.

The Civil War: 1936-1939

During the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) the Metro remained open and was regularly used as a shelter during shelling. In addition, a few weeks after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, on 9 August 1936, the first section of Line 3 was opened between Sol and Embajadores, but five days later traffic on this branch came to a halt because the Estación del Norte area was practically in the war zone, so there were hardly any passengers then.

In the next three years, Franco’s troops put the city of Madrid under siege and the Metro started working again almost without any problem.
Throughout the siege Metro cars carried both coffins and bodies to the cemeteries located in the East. The short Goya–Diego de León Line, in turn, was closed and used as an arsenal. On 10 January 1938 a powerful explosion took place there, which caused an unknown number of victims.

After Madrid was taken on 28 March 1939 by the National army, the Socialist and Communist employees of Metro were dismissed and their place was taken by sympathisers with the Nationalist cause. Some stations changed their name under the influence of the Falangist regime.

Culmination of the initial projects: 1940-1954

The Company’s institutional situation continued to be that of a private company. The Central Government, however, reserved the right to lay down the internal pay and conditions policy as well as the pricing system, which represented an economic imbalance for Metro.

The State builds the infrastructure: 1955-1966

As of 1955 Metro financing was distributed in such a way that the State was responsible for building the infrastructure and the Company for providing the equipment and rolling stock and for operation. The high saturation rate borne by Line 1 made it foreseeable that technical steps would be taken to increase transport capacity and enlarge platform length from 60 to 90 metros in order to permit the running of 6-car trains. The Transport Plan was implemented not only with the commissioning of new sections that extended the existing lines, but also with the construction of the new Line 5. Ferrocarril Suburbano de Carabanchel was also inaugurated, although its operation was assigned to Metro in 1960.

Expansion Plan: 1967-1977

In 1967 the Government approved an Expansion Plan, which was reviewed in 1971 and carried out in 1974. It envisaged the building of new lines, which now correspond to Lines 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 (the last only partly).

The Intervention Period: 1978-1985

The bulk of the new sections came into service in the early eighties. In this way, the length of the system increased by half in the period 1979-1983. In that year, the Metro system had an overall length of more than 100 kilometres, if we take into account the line endpoints for train parking.

Public ownership: Regional Transport Consortium 1986-1994

On 24 March 1986 the Madrid City Council and the Autonomous Community assumed ownership for Compañía Metropolitano de Madrid, and the Intervention Council, set up in 1978, was replaced by the newly appointed Board of Directors.

Both institutions temporarily transferred their Metro shares to the Madrid Regional Transport Consortium (CRT). This Body assumed responsibility for planning and designing the transport system. As of 1990, under the 'Plan of Action for Madrid Public Transport', provisions included the investments required in new infrastructure: Extension of Line 1 from Portazgo to Miguel Hernández, commissioned in April 1994, and closing of the circle Line 6 with the Laguna-Ciudad Universitaria section.

The main expansion plans: 1995-2003

Between 1995 and 2003 two expansion plans were implemented that enabled Metro to extend its network by almost 150 new kilometres. The first of the plans, carried out between 1995-1999, consisted of designing and building 56 new kilometres of Metro with 38 stations. The Government of the Autonomous Community of Madrid considered that the Metro should reach eight outlying districts as well as areas of great importance to Madrid and the rest of Spain: the Juan Carlos I Trade Fair Ground and Barajas International Airport, by means of the extension of the new Line 8.

The most important feature and highlight of the Second Expansion Plan was the inauguration on 11 April 2003 of 47 additional kilometres to the Metro system. This enlargement comprised the extension of Line 10 to Puerta del Sur, in Alcorcón, as well as linking-up of the main towns in the south of Madrid (Móstoles, Fuenlabrada, Getafe, Leganés and Alcorcón) by means of the new Metrosur circle line.
The largest Metro expansion: 2003-2007

During the legislature 2003-2007 the Autonomous Community of Madrid carried out the largest Metro expansion in history, which consisted of the construction of 80 new kilometres of conventional Metro and Light Metro, involving a total of 90 new stations. The bounds of the action plans took the Metro to those municipal districts that did not have this means of transport at their disposal. Specifically, the residents of Villaverde, La Elipa, Hortaleza, Pinar de Chamartín, Alameda de Osuna, Montecarmelo and Carabanchel Alto were the ones to benefit from this expansion scheme. In addition, a series of jobs included in this Expansion Plan forestalled the demands of the new urban developments both in the north of the city (Sanchinarro and Las Tablas, in the Light Metro modality) and in the south (Ensanche de Vallecas).

The main municipalities in the north and east of the Region, such as Alcobendas, San Sebastián de los Reyes, San Fernando, Coslada, benefited from the expansion.
In the last twelve years the Metro de Madrid network has undergone unprecedented growth, almost tripling its length and doubling the number of stations.
Looking to the future: 2007-2011

The Regional Government is forging ahead with the work that it has been carrying out over the last few years in order to place at the disposal of all Madrid residents a quality public transport system that will meet the mobility requirements of such a dynamic region as Madrid.

Amongst the new action plans in the area of conventional Metro, in the current legislature the Autonomous Community of Madrid will undertake the following projects:
-Extension of Line 11 from La Peseta to Barrio de la Fortuna in Leganés

-Extension of Line 2 from La Elipa to Las Rosas

-Extension of Line 9 from Herrera Oria to Mirasierra

-New car sheds for Line 2

Metro de Madrid, the most innovative Underground in the world

90 years ago Madrid underwent its own particular revolution in urban transport: the industrial revolution had started up the machinery of social change. The building of the Underground in 1919 placed our city on a par with the great metropolises that already possessed this fast and efficient transport system (London -1863, Budapest -1896, Paris -1900 and Berlin -1902).
The original design envisaged the construction of 4 lines which would serve the inner city as well as a few surrounding districts. The foreseen length was 14 kilometres. The trains, which were made up of 5 cars with a capacity for 250 people, would run at a speed of 25 km/h. Today Metro de Madrid has a network of 294 kilometres, its current trains can carry over 800 people and they can reach a speed of 110 km/h. In addition, they have a high degree of automation and are equipped with modern signalling and safety systems.
This great leap forward has taken many years and, above all, Metro has had to devote a great deal of effort, taking advantage at all times of the latest technology, research and its own inventiveness, something which has made it one of the most innovative Underground systems of all those in existence.
Metro de Madrid is currently working on 38 R+D+i projects aimed at improving the service that the Company offers to over 2.5 million passengers who travel on the underground every day. These projects are denoted for being conducted either independently or in conjunction with other companies and universities.
The most notable ones include international projects of great impact, such as MODURBAN (European transport system), URBAN TRACK (New tram and light metro track system) and other domestic projects or ones carried out specifically by Metro de Madrid, such as the CBTC (Communication-Based Train Control) system, a signalling and train traffic control system that makes it possible to increase passenger carrying capacity, at the implantation stage on Lines 1 and 6. It is also equipped with its own driving simulators, advanced fire protection systems, predictive maintenance in various areas, an auscultation train, and a lot more.
A number of these projects undertaken by Metro de Madrid are exported afterwards to other metro systems round the world. We should single out the development and implementation of rigid catenary, a system patented by Metro de Madrid on a European scale, which consists of a rigid section that sustains the train overhead electrification system contact wire, offering improved performance and a lower installation cost. The multinationals have shown interest in the exploitation rights of this patent in Europe and it has already been implemented in the Santo Domingo metro system. In addition, many of these projects are being conducted in cooperation with other companies and various universities.

Domestic and international acknowledgements
MetroRail 2009 Award as the most innovative Underground system in the world.
MetroRail 2008 Award as the world’s Underground that most improved in 2007.
Manuel Seijas y Lozano Prize for Industrial Innovation for its firm commitment to technology and R+D+i projects and in recognition for its public efforts on behalf of Industrial Engineering.
Prodis 2005 Prize for Accessibility and Integration of the Handicapped, awarded by CERMI in 2005 for the jobs carried out on a pilot test basis at Canal station in the field of Accessibility.
ONCE Silver Stick Award for its commitment to achieving a transport system more accessible to handicapped people.
Prize for Excellence in Strategic Management, awarded by BSColl in recognition of the excellence achieved in the area of strategic management.
Prize for the best Sustainable Environmental Management Business Initiative conferred by Garrigues and Expansión.
V Prize for Public Service Excellence and Quality in recognition for the Improvement Plan in the area of the excellence and quality of the public service afforded to our customers.
AENOR Environmental Management System Certificate after successfully meeting the environmental management requirements laid down in the public passenger transport service and maintenance of rolling stock and facilities.

Metro users, how they’ve changed

Metro de Madrid has developed over these first 90 years of life in line with the changes in Spanish society. Nowadays, the people who most use the Metro are Spanish women of 24-35 years of age commuting to their place of work. But who used the Underground in the 20s, 30s or 50s?
Today, the fact that women are the main users of Metro de Madrid is no surprise. Their integration in the world of work in practically all economic activities is now a fact, something that ninety, eighty or seventy years ago was, in any case, a mere illusion. We should not forget either that the main reason for the journey made by our users is to commute to their workplace, although journeys for leisure purposes have increased in recent times.
However, despite the fact that the standard profile of the Metro user is that of a working woman below the age of 35, Metro de Madrid accommodates as many profiles as there are in the whole Autonomous Community of Madrid, and in terms of diversity there is nobody who beats the region of Madrid. Today, 26% of Metro users are of foreign origin, which was something quite unthinkable when Alfonso XIII gave the green light to the metropolitan company, and in its network we may come across socioeconomic profiles of all kinds, exactly the same as at street level. In the early years of Metro operation Madrid society was, naturally, less diverse than it is now, so that, although there are no statistics available on users in those times, we may state that men were the main users of the underground system, mainly for their journeys to and from work.
If we can talk in the Metro today to people with thousands of different professions or occupations, according to a number of historians the people who most used the Metro in its early years were labourers. Furthermore, they made their journeys in rather more uncomfortable conditions than nowadays. Previously, back in the 20s, 12 passengers were carried per kilometre travelled by each Metro car. Today, in 2009, 3.5 passengers are carried per kilometre travelled by each Metro car.
As for the cost of the ticket, the proportion of the price in relation to other basic products in the early years of Metro operation is similar to now. In the twenties the price was around 22 cents, while a litre of milk cost 20 cents, bread 66 cents a kilo, and potatoes 0.30 a kilo.
Yet we do not have to go back to those years to verify that the Metro user is immersed in a process of change as rapid as that of the society that it services. In fact, according to the Origin-Destination survey conducted by the Regional Transport Consortium in 2000, we may observe that in these last nine years women have become 54-58% of the total number of Metro de Madrid users and that the average age of users has increased considerably, as has the proportion of passengers of foreign origin and journeys made during the weekend.
The most important change, however, that has taken place in these last ten years is the behaviour of the user when it comes to gaining access to the underground system and to leaving it. Before, especially in its early years, Metro users often had to make combined use of other means of transport in order to reach their destination. Today, many more users go to their Metro station on foot and also walk from the Metro to their end destination. The enlargement of the underground system by 80 kilometres and 90 stations over the period 2003-2007 has meant that many residents who did not have a Metro station close to their home and place of work before are now able to commute using this means of transport only. Not in vain, 76.7% of the population of the Autonomous Community of Madrid now have a station 600 metres from their home or workplace, which has meant that from 2000 to the present day the number of people using the Metro as their sole means of transport has risen from 58.6% to 71.8%.



35-44 years old

45-54 years old

Over 54 years old


Under 24 years old

24-34 years old


Female Male

90 years are not nothing: station and train developments

The architecture of stations has not been exempt of changes either throughout its history. The first lines, which were built in the open air, offered stations at very low depth, with convenient accesses for all users at a time when no elevating means were available. Until 1960 the average depth of stations was 9 metres. After 1996, with increasingly widespread use of escalators, the average depth of stations built doubled in relation to the previous period, reaching 18 metres. The greatest depth, however, was reached between 1974 and 1994, with an average that bordered on 25 metres. At this time depth became a decisive factor predetermining the shape of stations, along with mining construction systems, which were the ones most widely used at those depths.
With the traditional criteria that we are familiar with vaulted stations were built with long connecting passageways, which form a complicated network of tunnels and shafts necessary to assure all the movements, with considerable distances to be covered by passengers.
In the late 80s and early 90s, the basic concepts of station design changed and large-scale successful alterations were made in the Metro network, such as Sol and Príncipe Pío stations, which endeavour to expand to the exterior for the sake of attaining conceptual clarity.

As of 1994 a new approach has been adopted in Metro architecture, as stations have become more spacious, more open and more comprehensible in their layout. Stations and interchangers are designed to facilitate fast-moving passenger circulation flows and to simplify transfers to other Metro lines, suburban trains and, more recently, the new Light Metro lines. In particular, stations are designed to be much more permeable and less shallow, with an average depth of stations commissioned between 1994 and 2007 of 16 metres.

Current design criteria

Amongst the criteria guiding the current design of Metro stations, we may mention simplicity, operating capability and accessibility. The opening-up of space to facilitate its compression and its luminosity permits the creation of multi-level areas conferring the simultaneous vision of the different connecting flows, endowed with a marked visual richness which is only obtained at Metro stations, due to the confluence of stairs and levels around large spaces, with the civil engineering geared to operating capability and placed at the service of the passenger.

As an example of the passage of time and of the contrasts between old and new stations, it is recommendable to visit the old Chamberí station. It belongs to the first Metro line inaugurated in Madrid in 1919, which had eight stations. In the early 60s, Compañía Metropolitana decided to increase train length and in view of the fact that it was impossible to lengthen this station, it was closed. Final closure took place on 22 May 1966.
The design, also by Antonio Palacios, opted for a very straightforward functional solution in terms of routes and organization and for simple finishes. It incorporated daylight by means of a skylight in the concourse. For the interior a tiled lining was chosen with ornamental motifs. The station vault is covered with white bevelled tiling and its abutments were decorated with large panels of Seville tiles forming the similarly ceramic outside frame of the advertising posters, in ochre and blue bordering. These advertising posters are one of the main attractions of the station, as they are preserved practically as they were created in the twenties. The restoration and new entrance construction project is the work of the architects Pau Soler and Miguel Rodríguez.

Universal accessibility is assured by means of the installation of lifts servicing all levels and the adaptation of all access routes to different kinds of disability.

Rolling stock

Metro de Madrid rolling stock has been pioneering in its field of activity throughout its history. In the period between 1919 and 1936 the Madrid metro rolling stock consisted of five car models, which went under the names of Cuatro Caminos, Vallecas, Ventas, Quevedo and Embajadores. These trains were refurbished in the late fifties and early sixties.

Later, they were replaced b the 300, the 1000, 2000 and 5000 models. These last ones represented a great change in the conception of the trains that had existed until then, at the end of the eighties. However, the technological improvements applied today have again exceeded all expectations. The Metro de Madrid car stock now numbers 2,310 units (in 1989 the total number of cars barely exceeded 1000), all of them now with advanced protection, public address and station announcement systems and with improved comforts for passengers, such as the installation of air conditioning and heating.

Series 2000

Metro now has 736 cars of this type in its network and they run on Lines 1, 2 and 5

Series 3000

Series 3000 is present in the network with 432 cars on this model on Lines 2, 3, 4 and 11

Series 5000

Series 5000 is made up of a total of 352 cars, which run on Lines 6 and 9

Series 6000

There are currently 132 cars of this series spread over Lines 9 and 10

Series 7000

Series 7000 is made up of 222 cars, which run on Line 10

Series 8000

Series 8000 is composed of 155 cars, running on Lines 8, 10 and 12.

Series 9000

There are 246 Series 9000 cars on Lines 7 and 10.

Light Metros

It is a modular vehicle, which allows for different options. Metro de Madrid has chosen a five-section articulated unit.

Metro as an exporter of technology and expertise

The leadership of the Madrid underground has led to repeated demand for Metro de Madrid technical services by external entities.
In practice, these activities represent an exportation of the know-how that Metro de Madrid has acquired in the course of its lengthy experience in the design, development, commissioning and operation of a wide range of railways installations and rolling stock for different modes of guided urban transport: heavy and light metro trains and trams.
But external activities are only justified if they if they serve to increase the organization’s know-how, if they produce value added for Metro de Madrid users, and they bring prestige to the organization and to Madrid.
The efficiency shown by Metro de Madrid – through the times, construction prices and quality of the service offered - has meant that the procedures applied in Madrid in order to obtain the degree of success already known everywhere as “the Madrid case” are widely taken as a benchmark.
Today Metro de Madrid is growing beyond our borders and has great business opportunities ordered from abroad. The most typical example is Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, which already has its first Metro line with the same design and conception as the Madrid ones. Since 2005, the Madrid underground has cooperated closely with the Dominican Republic authorities and has taken part in the design, in the execution of the works, in the acceptance of the rolling stock, in the training of personnel, and in all the operations required for the running of stations and trains.

One of the new Santo Domingo metro stations

This has not only happened in the case of Santo Domingo, Metro de Madrid also supplies services to other railway authorities that wish to improve their lines or implement new systems and more efficient working methods. In this way, Metro advises and provides consultancy and technical assistance services for such countries in America, Europe and Asia as: Argentina, United Kingdom, Mexico, Colombia, Tunisia, China or Chile. In the future, Metro de Madrid could work on other projects for Chile, Mexico, Russia, Peru, Tunisia, Algeria and United Arab Emirates.

When Metro puts out the lights

During the hours when Metro de Madrid remains closed to the public, activity does not decrease because, besides continuing with the supervision and control jobs from the Central Command Post, station control, security, energy and computer equipment, Metro employees focus on the tasks of the maintenance and cleaning of the rolling stock, stations and the rest of the facilities.

If cleanliness is important, then maintenance is even more so, not only of the installations – through modern trouble-shooting and repair systems, but also of the trains, by way of the Preventive Maintenance Plan, which, along with the so-called M4 Project, is aimed at increasing the availability and reliability of the trains and the efficacy of their final adjustment.

In the hours when the rolling stock is not in service the so-called "visit" inspection is carried out, the one with the shortest cycle within the preventive maintenance cycles, which requires the unit to remain idle for the shortest time. It basically consists of safety checks (door, brake, etc. circuit) and functional checks on the different train systems.
Furthermore, during night-time hours different repair jobs are done that remain pending being carried out in order that the whole set of stock may be in perfect condition for service first thing on the following morning.
Metro workshops

All these tasks are performed in the specially prepared enclosures that Metro has distributed all round the network and which have been gradually increased and modernized in line with the growth and improvement of the system.

In the last few years, the train parking facilities and repair shops have been increased in terms of area and equipment available. Metro now has 14 main workshops, a central one – at Canillejas - and nine secondary depots - sited strategically all round the network, with a total area of 1,501,873 square metres, equivalent to 214 football pitches.
In this way, each maintenance shop corresponding to each line is able to carry out all the upkeep and repair activities needed for the rolling stock of that line, which means that all the trains always have a maintenance point nearby, so that movement times and costs can be reduced.
Installations maintenance

On the network jobs comprise, on the one hand, servicing the energy sections (substations and power distribution system, overhead line (catenary), signals and track.

Thus, when the service is closed to passengers, the auxiliary working vehicles and track motor cars (which are self-propelled vehicles that can run when there is no power supply) are then deployed. These are used for inspections of the overhead line, track and also to meet the needs of other Company departments, such as works, lighting or signalling.

It is also during the night when servicing is carried out on the substations responsible for supplying electricity to the actual catenary system (where the train receives the power for its operation) and to the Metro de Madrid stations, as well as the tasks of cleaning the installations and rolling material.


The purpose of the thorough cleaning of the facilities and trains is so that every day passengers may find a network in perfectly healthy and hygienic conditions. The jobs extend to every single one of the items forming part of the Metro de Madrid network included in a thorough comprehensive Environmental Treatment Plan, including such tasks as disinsectization, disinfection and deratization in all the Metro network installations in accordance with a pre-set schedule.

The rolling stock cleaning jobs are daily, extraweekly (approximately every 12 days), and integral (i.e. meticulous jobs on installations and trains that are carried out every nine months approximately) and they are performed at depots, car sheds and line ends.

To all this we have to add the tasks relating to the activities that do not come to a halt at Metro de Madrid upon reaching the end of the working day. These jobs extend mainly to the Central Command Post, computer services, medical services and the technical personnel responsible for supervising the afore-mentioned night-time jobs.

Metro de Madrid and Corporate Responsibility

In modern-day society, Corporate Responsibility (RC) is postulated as a means for being able to assure business competitiveness beyond economic results. In the case of Metro de Madrid, CR has been present in its everyday working ever since it came into being 90 years ago, owing to the actual activity that it carries out. Back in 1946, Miguel Otamendi, from one of the founding families of Metro de Madrid, said that “As is common knowledge, metropolitan railways have the special function of setting up quick economic communications across large cities, and they are an essential factor for these to be able to expand and progress, within the conditions of hygiene and comfort demanded by modern life”.
Today, with over 7,500 employees, almost 700 million journeys a year (50% of the public transport share in the Region) and around 1,300 suppliers, Metro de Madrid is one of the companies with the greatest impact in the whole activity of the Region. These magnitudes reveal not only the opportunity that the Company has to act and be viewed as a responsible company, but also the need to promote social and environmental responsibility in the whole community.
The internal approach to CR implemented at Metro de Madrid is to regard it as a tool for managing the Company’s effective contribution to Sustainable Development. In this context, CR should be a means for:

  • Assuring universal accessibility: this means that all the groups present in the environment in which Metro operates should have possibilities of gaining access to it. This idea has two facets: on the one hand, the need to expand the network so that it may reach more people; on the other, facilitating the access to the network of all the people in the vicinity of an underground station. In both cases, the contribution of Metro de Madrid has been embodied in the execution of three main expansion and improvement plans, which have meant that the network now has 294 stations and an overall length of 284 km and is the top-ranking network in the world in the number of lifts and escalators.

  • Combating climate change and improving air quality. The Metro is the means of transport with the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger-km (as much as 4.5 times lower than the private vehicle). For this reason, the mere exercise of its activity generates substantial reductions in emissions of this greenhouse effect gas to the atmosphere. Let the fact serve as an example that thanks to the expansion plans executed since 1995, Metro de Madrid has absorbed an excess demand for 1,819 million additional journeys through making a more extensive network available, which has resulted in saving the discharge to the atmosphere of 2 million tons of CO2 compared with what would have taken place if the public had had to move around by car. In addition, the Company is constantly promoting projects for effectively reducing CO2 emissions and air pollution, as is the case of the installation of systems for slowing escalators when they are not in use or the construction of temple-shaped glass skylights and photovoltaic cells to take maximum advantage of sunlight. A noteworthy feature in this respect is the entry into service of latest generation rolling stock. Along with the parallel layout of the electrical substations and the installation of braking energy accumulators for harnessing train braking energy, this has permitted an annual saving of 41 GWh.

  • Reducing surface traffic. Resulting from excess demand that the expanded Metro network has proved capable of absorbing in relation to 1995, a substantial contribution has been made to reducing surface traffic congestion. Thus, if this enlargement of the network had not taken place, surface traffic would be 7.7% greater, entailing considerable losses of time for Madrid residents in moving around, higher fuel consumption levels in such congested conditions, and greater emissions stemming from this additional consumption.

  • Assuring maximum efficiency in the use of the economic and natural resources available for the provision of the public transport service.

In fact, they are values and qualities that have underlain the activity of Metro de Madrid ever since its establishment. This tool, Corporate Responsibility, merely helps to put in value and manage what already exists in the organization: an ever-increasing effort towards strengthening the social, environmental and ethical commitment to the community.

In addition, in order to assure business competitiveness and take advantage of the opportunity offered by the environment in which Metro de Madrid operates, it is necessary to fortify the relationship with its main interest groups: employees, users, society, Public Authorities and suppliers. In this context, a direct ongoing dialogue has to be set up with the afore-mentioned interest groups, primarily users and society, which may provide an insight as to their expectations and needs with a view to orienting future guidelines of action.
Special mention should be made of the participation of Metro de Madrid in numerous forums and working groups, such as Fundación Entorno, Fundación CONAMA, Forética, fRC (Corporate Reputation Forum), Forum of Railway Companies for Sustainability, UITP (International Public Transport Union), ALAMYS (Latin American Association of Metro and Underground Systems), IAI (Institute for the Analysis of Intangible Assets, and Forum for Social Integration (FIS) (of which it is the sponsor). They are places of technical debate and creation of insight into the sphere of Sustainability and CR, while at the same time methods of contribution by each of the companies taking part in Sustainable Development are examined.

Metro as a cultural benchmark

The actual Metro installations and stations are an example of the architectural and artistic development of Madrid from its beginnings. It could not be otherwise, bearing in mind that the architect Antonio Palacios took part in the conception and design of the first lines, imposing his mark on the Madrid underground. Even today we may observe the design of his entrances at stations like Tribunal or his decorative finishes at the Pacífico motor shop or at Tirso de Molina station.
Following in the footsteps of Palacios, since the Metro was inaugurated in 1919, over 100 decorative murals and ornamental items have been added to the platforms and concourses of the metropolitan network. Some of these works date back to the turn of the last century and are specimens of the artistic styles of the time. Tirso de Molina station houses the oldest exhibit that is preserved in the network: a Madrid shield dating from 1919 made in bronze over a blue and white tile panel. Other works are more modern, such as the Retiro station mural, in which the cartoonist Mingote played a part, or the great Chamartín mural, which reproduces a waterfall effect by means of the interplay of fluorescent lights. They form a varied selection of samples that depict the evolution of art and which offer an interesting review of the trends that have marked these last few years.
Another contribution of Metro de Madrid to the culture of the Region has been the restoration of Chamberí station and the Pacífico Motor Shop, two landmark facilities that were in a state of disuse and which played a major role in the history of the Metro, so as to turn them into the seat of the Underground Museum, Platform 0. They present a slice of the history of Metro and its contribution to the city as a powerplant of the economy and social advances.
Cultural show window open to all audiences

Since 1919 many things have changed, even though its vocation to provide all users with the best public transport has remained invariable. In its eagerness to stand alongside the user, Metro has attempted to offer a value added to its customary service by creating an alternative cultural space accessible to all Madrid residents. Thus, in the last ten years Metro has endeavoured to become a place that is able to accommodate all the activities that are carried out on the surface, thereby mirroring what goes on in the outside world. The actual underground system facilities have become ideal places for housing artistic representations, as well as other types of activities, such as concerts, film shows or theatrical representations. In this way, it is not hard to see Metro de Madrid as a showcase for the cultural and social trends pervading the city.

In this function, Retiro station, where the Expometro hall is located, has played a fundamental role. It is the case of an exhibition hall which, since it was opened in 1976, has housed various displays and temporary photography, painting and video creation exhibitions. In addition, thanks to their location and features the Nuevos Ministerios or Chamartín station concourses have also become a landmark in the network for the dissemination of these activities and their facilities have accommodated displays and exhibitions of all kinds.
Bearing in mind that the underground system serves as a reading room extending over some 280 kilometres, Metro has also fulfilled the purpose of encouraging the habit of reading thanks to the Bibliometros or Metro Libraries, which in their four years of existence have become an invaluable service for users. The Bibliometros were set up, on the one hand, to encourage and facilitate reading and, on the other, to act as a connecting link with the public libraries so as to disseminate their use amongst the public at large.
Metro has also placed its faith in music as one of its main cultural offerings. Concerts and musical events held in the underground have always enjoyed great acceptance amongst users and they are the ones that have drawn the largest audiences. Such artists as Rafael, Luz Casal, Soledad Jiménez, Sara Baras or Rosario have appeared on the Metro stage to offer their shows to users. Initiatives like the Cumbre Flamenca or the Festival de Creadoras have become a benchmark in Madrid cultural life, familiarizing all audiences with the latest musical trends.
Other activities conducted in the Metro have gone even further, such as the holding of the Pasarela Off, which turned Chamartín station into an authentic fashion show, which helped to stimulate the creativeness of young designers; or the Metrorock festival, which in its early years made use of the actual Metro stations as concert halls and which became consolidated as one of the most important musical initiatives on the domestic and international scene. Furthermore, Metro has taken part in the cultural proposals sponsored by the City Council and the Autonomous Community of Madrid in the last few years, such as Theatre Night, Architecture Week or the White Night, amongst others.
Metro de Madrid sets out to make public transport a new cultural and social benchmark for all its users. It is eager to become a leisure alternative to those already well-known spaces, to offer activities in a new environment and thereby encourage the use of public transport. That is the aim of Metro de Madrid, which seeks to be a different theatre, but not only that, it is also anxious to exhibit contemporary works, publicize them and familiarize people with them.

Metro de Madrid, 90 years at the service of the community

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