It was one of the world’s most glamorous stations – and biggest, earning the nickname the Titanic of the Mountains thanks to hundreds of doors and 200-metre platforms.
But, after years of neglect, Canfranc International Railway is now just a crumbling shell that blights the beautiful Pyrenees mountains.
Fortunately, that all looks set to change – after local officials revealed plans to repair, and reopen, the decaying relic, which straddles the French/Spanish border.
Dilapidated: The abandoned Canfranc International Railway Station, which sits on the French/Spanish border
According to a report by the BBC, the local government in Aragon – a landlocked region in northeastern Spain – has purchased the site with plans to restore it.
They were inspired by the surprise presence of 120,000 Spanish tourists who visited Canfranc between 2013 and 2017.
Local politician Alain Rousset reportedly wants the dilapidated venue to become a luxury hotel with a functioning railway line attached.
The latter vision is already part-realised thanks to a twice-daily service that operates between Saragossa and Canfranc, but the ultimate plan is to reignite tourist travel throughout the Pyrenees.
Refurbishment costs are estimated at £350million, but Roussett says this investment will be split evenly between the Spanish government and grants from the EU.
If successful, the entire project could be finished – and accessible to the public – by 2022. That’s almost 100 years after it was first opened in the presence of Spain’s King Alfonso XIII in 1928.
Back on track: Local officials in Spain’s Aragon municipality have reportedly purchased the site with plans for a £300million revival
Stranded: A railway carriage sits frozen in snow as a fierce winter on the Pyrenees mountains takes hold
After that, the station operated successfully until the Spanish Civil War, 17 Jul 1936 – 1 Apr 1939, when said monarch closed its tunnels to stop arms smuggling.
At the start of World War II, Canfranc provided a vital lifeline for thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing occupied Europe.
But in 1940 Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco was pictured proudly leading Hitler along one of its wide sprawling platforms.
Impressed, the Nazi leader later took control of the station, adorning it with Swastika flags and using it to smuggle tonnes of gold his army had plundered from across Europe.
Ironically, after losing the war, Nazi war criminals used the station to evade capture.
Still popular: Although run-down, Canfranc’s shell attracted 120,000 Spanish tourists between 2013 and 2017
History: In 1940 Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco was pictured proudly leading Hitler along one of its wide platforms
The station returned to business as usual in the 1950s and 1960s, but suffered from a dwindling local population. It was ultimately closed in 1970 after a train derailed, causing costly damage.
It has remained largely abandoned ever since, apart from the implementation in 1985 of underground astroparticle laboratories, which have allowed scientists to study the existence of dark matter.
Located in the former railway tunnels under nearby Monte Tobazo, the experimentation bunkers have been financed by the Spanish National Programmes of High Energy Physics and the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Second life: The railway station is now used as an astroparticle physics lab with experiments taking place in tunnels deep underground
Insight: A diagram shows how the labs, where scientists research dark matter, are situated in tunnels deep below the surface
More than 50 scientists from 12 different institutions and eight countries have conducted research there, focusing on the interactions of neutrinos of cosmic origin, or dark matter, with atomic nuclei.
According to a 2015 article in Scientific American, the labs were most recently involved in a definitive study to prove – or disprove – the existence of dark matter, which scientists believe comprises 80 per cent of the mass of the universe.
They expect the results to be announced in 2018.