Since the inauguration of the railroad station in 1854, Alcázar de San Juan became a major junction in the railway network of the Iberian Peninsula on the line linking the capital, Madrid, with the Levante and Andalusia.
The city, declared as such in 1877 by King Alfonso XII after he made a stop at the station, experienced an important economic, social, urban and infrastructure development, still present in the urban fabric: modernist style houses, opening of new streets and avenues, emergence of a powerful trade and wineries and industries derived from the railroad and wine, were some of the consequences of that period.Show more content
It is essential to take a walk through the center of the city to see the facades of the most outstanding houses built at this time, according to the decorative principles of Modernism, by architects such as Críspulo Moro Cabeza and the imposing building of the current City Hall built in 1911 as the headquarters of the Casino de Alcázar and in eclectic style.
The railroad station, for its part, also underwent different expansions and improvements, according to the growing evolution of the number of passengers it received, in which decorative elements were adopted in accordance with its relevance, such as the set of tiles that decorate the Old Fonda and Passenger Waiting Room declared as Heritage Assets in 2016.
The tile panels of the inn come from the ceramic workshop of Mensaque Rodríguez, from Triana (Seville), a set of 3,824 tiles of which 378 are quixotic images that reproduce, in a historical manner, 11 chapters of Cervantes’ novel, taking as a model the illustrations that José Jiménez de Aranda created for the edition of “Don Quixote” that was published in 1905 on the occasion of the work.
The former Fonda del Ferrocarril is today a Visitor Reception Center where, in addition to enjoying this tilework, you can learn about the relationship of the population of Alcázar with the railroad and with Cervantes. It also shows the illustrious travelers who have passed through the station platforms in different periods. Multiple cultural activities take place in this space.
In the same station is also located the current Railway Museum, with about 900 exhibits (ticket machines, locomotive parts, various track work equipment, telephones, switchboards, caps, station and locomotive lamps, models or photos and transport tickets. Outside you can see a steam locomotive from 1864, manufactured for the Compañía del Norte; a Renfe diesel shunting locomotive; an intermediate trailer of the prototype of the German-made ferrobus; a closed wagon from the end of the 19th century, as well as other elements: fixed steam boilers, track machinery, traffic lights, mechanical signals, etc…