miércoles, 2 de junio de 2021


Text and Pictures : José Manuel Serrano Esparza

With an antiquity of 116 years, Cerro Muriano Train Station has traditionally been one of the most representative elements in the history of this endearing and nice village located 15 km in the north of Córdoba city. 

This mythical railroad infrastructure was built on April 7, 1905 by the Andalusian Railways Company, meeting the request of the Cerro Muriano Mines Ltd English firm, which needed a railway siding to be able to convey the copper mineral from the mines it exploited in the area, so from its very beginning, the station featured a specific branch line reaching the mining deposits. 

Therefore, Cerro Muriano Train Station was integrated in the Córdoba-Almorchón Railways, with a length of 133 km and one of the most alluring ones in Europe, which from 1920, with the inauguration of Los Pradillos and Mirabueno stations, arrived at Córdoba City (before that year the line only reached La Balanzona Station, which had been opened in 1890), so Cerro Muriano Train Station turned into an exceedingly important railroad location of the Northern Cordoban Range linking different towns of the zone. 


In the same way as happened with other previously created stations of the Córdoba-Almorchón Railway like the Obejo Train Station,  

Though deteriorated by the 116 years elapsed since its making, the iron ladder of the Cerro Muriano Train Station still keeps a large percentage of its exotic beauty of yore. Handcraftedly manufactured with iron, it has iron forged rivets in some areas.

Cerro Muriano Train Station was designed and created by the Andalusian Railways Company following to a great extent the fundamental tenets of Gustave Eiffel´s design team, both the station itself and the abundant elements of rialways engineering surrounding it. 

It was incepted as a two-story building for passengers, a coterminous maintenance and repair workshop, a nearby house in which lived some railwaymen 

Railway yard beside Cerro Muriano Train Station. The thin path crossing the tracks from right to left was made during the second decade of XXI Century as an extension of the Cabanillas Passage (being placed beyond the right area of the picture, out of the image) and enables the access to the station and the main commerecial area of the village made up by the Bar Burno, the Bar Cinema, the Restaurant Bar X, the Lda Julia Rubias Chemist´s, the El Grifo Ironmonger´s and so forth. The small iron bridge visible in the background was built in mid fifties and joins the N-432A Granada-Badajoz highway crossing Cerro Muriano with El Cerro Neighbourhood.

and a rail yard. 

Height gauge structure located at very few meters from Cerro Muriano Train Station. It is one of the most beautiful railway engineering elements surrounding it. 

The same height gauge structure at dawn is one of the most defining images of the grandeur and significance boasted by Cerro Muriano Train Station during its halcyon days, until it stopped working as a passengers means of transport in 1974 and for goods in 1992. 

A further image of the height gauge structure next to Cerro Muriano Train Station, being a part of its facilities and beside which the rail yard can be seen. 

Longitudinal view of the rail yard adjacent to Cerro Muriano Train Station going towards Córdoba city. The 47 years elapsed since the Córdoba-Almorchón ceased its activity as a passengers means of transport has made that its stretch between Cerro Muriano, La Balanzona, Los Pradillos and Mirabueno currently shows a huge abandonment and decay, to such an extent that as can be seen in the image, a lot of big trees and lavish vegetation have grown on the tracks, and in addition, a number of rail stretches were pulled out. 

Lateral image of another of the most iconic railway engineering elements of Cerro Muriano Train Station : its two sturdy iron structures solidly laid on the ground, which were the buffer stop. 

Front view of those robust iron structures which made up the buffer stop. 

Iron bridge located at roughly 300 meters from Cerro Muriano Train Station, built in late seventies and under which went the Córdoba- Almorchón Railway. It can be seen in the picture how vast majority of rails have been pullud out during decades of deterioration and neglect. 

Image of the two light lamps placed on top left area of the main façade of Cerro Muriano Railways Station. The lamp on the left is the oldest one and the glass cups to isolate the light cable from the iron support can be seen over it. The lamp on the right, much bigger and featuring a street lamp shape is much more modern and on its right you can see its transformer. 

Low angle view of both light lamps and the glass cups of the left top area in the main façade of Cerro Muriano Railways Station. 

Another image in which can be seen even with greater detail the original lamp of Cerro Muriano Train Station next to the glass cups isolating the light cable from the iron support, and on the right, the much more recent and bigger lamp, next to its transformer. 

Small junction box beside its cable connection, located at mid height, under the oldest and smallest light lamp, in the confluence of the left wall of the Cerro Muriano Train Station and its main façade, few centimeters over the very nice ornamental white limestone stripe going around the whole building in its middle high zone. 

Detail of that light junction box next to its cable connection. You can read in it the inscription " RENFE, Guaranteed Until February of 1987 " . The metallic component of the right was used to prevent the rain water from getting into it, so attaining that the electrical connection was dry inside. 

Telephone and light junction boxes. Both of them are watertight. They are placed in the upper right area of Cerro Muriano Train Station main façade, at the zone where its wall and the right wall come together, just over the beautiful ornamental white limestone stripe circumventing the whole building in its high middle area.  

Detail of those telephone and light junction boxes. In spite of the many years elapsed since they were installed, they´re still in good cosmetic condition. 

Partial view of a stretch of the Cerro Muriano Railways Station roof. It is one of its most unique aspects, because it is made up by fairly sturdy tiles based on the Roman tecula mecula, whose configuration makes possible a fast water evacuation. 

Ceramic cups located on top right zone of Cerro Muriano Train Station right wall to isolate the light cables from the iron support, approximately two meters over the upper area of the second ladder of the building, painted in green colour and much more modern then the iron original one made in 1905 on the left of the building. 

Top area of the metallic modern ladder built during eighties after the creation of a second access door to the upper floor of Cerro Muriano Train Station, inhabited by the station master. 

Featuring a remarkable beauty, it isn´t very known and is placed on far right of the station right wall, an area overflowing with vegetation after 47 years of inactivity for passengers transport. 

Detail of a tract of the steps of the modern metallic ladder built throughout eighties and going up to the second access door of Cerro Muriano Train Station. 

Longitudinal low angle image of the green metallic ladder. The vegetation on the ground of this srea is so lavish that it was very difficult to get pictures from this spot. 

Photograph made from the upper area of this metallic ladder, beside the second access door to Cerro Muriano Station first floor, where the station master lived. 

Image of the lower area of the metallic green ladder ascending up to the second access door to the upper floor of the Cerro Muriano Train Station, which was inhabited by the station master. 

Detail of the large and very robust limestone blocks making up the base of Cerro Muriano Train Station, providing it with great strength. 

Detail of the joining area between Cerro Muriano Station left wall and the one of its main façade being adjacent to the tracks of the Córdoba-Almorchón railway. Remnants of mortar can be seen in the junction zones of the stone blocks. 

Another picture of the large blocks of sturdy limestone making up the base of Cerro Muriano Railways Station. 

Metallic hook clamps, painted in green colour, from which flowerpots hanged. Both these and tow further ones very near them, are placed on the right wall of Cerro Muriano Train Station at a very short distance from its meeting point with the wall of its main façade. The green colour in which the flowerpots were painted made that the area of the wall on which they rested became impregnated with that tonality, still currently visible. 

Picture in which can be seen part of the strong limestones of Cerro Muriano Railway Station base, along with the small two-step access stairs for passengers, which as a result of its deterioration, was refurbished during nineties. 

The original steps were made in white limestone, in the same way as the ledges of doors and windows, in synergy with the beautiful stripe also manufactured in limestone and surrounding the upper central area of the building. 

Metallic tube inside the front wall of Cerro Muriano Railways Station building, on far right, at a roughly height of two meters, beside the top zone of the metallic door with a white limestone frame over its upper area. A thiner tube with shape of flag was put inside it, with its top part announcing the schedules of trains. 

Lead nail indicating the height over sea level, which was chiselled on it. 


A decision which had been hatching for some years and wise in my opinion consolidated recently : the conversion of the Mirabueno-Los Pradillos.La Balanzona-Cerro Muriano-Obejo Train Station 20 km stretch of railway into a pedestrian and cyling past highlighting the significance of the area, after the agreement signed between Córdoba Town Hall (through whose municipality will be 14 of those kilometers), Obejo (through whose municipality will be the remaining seven kilometers, ending at the railways station bearing the same name) and ADIF. 

Evidently, the overall restoration, new start-up and operation of the Córdoba-Almorchón Railway (a parallel project which was born during nineties) was also an excellent choice beforehand to strive upon boosting the Guadiato Region (one of the districts having suffered most the different economical crises, with surging depopulation and unemployment) through a mixed passengers / goods service.

And train is undoubtedly a key factor for the preservation of the rural world, its traditions and habits. 

But such a refurbishment of the Córdoba-Almorchón Railway with funtioning trains, particularly in the Mirabueno-Cerro Muriano-Obejo Station strecth (from which tracks are in far better conditions up to Almorchón) would have required an astronomical investment making it virtually unfeasable in my humble understanding, even more after a pandemic which has brought about a more than considerable depletion of the available economical resources in all kind of institutions, both public and private ones. 

It is known that the mythical Córdoba-Almorchón Railroad was by far one of the most beautiful one in Europe throughout almost a hundred years, with unmatched landscapes of the Nothern Cordoba Range that could be relished by for generations of passengers from Andalusia and Extremadura on board of its legendary trains driven by wonderful steam locomotives during a great part of their existence and subsequently by diesel ones until 1974. 

And it has always been and will go on being a dirachronic nechmark regarding many sides dor the lovers of classic railways and enthusiasts of model railroading. 

Such is the uniqueness and gorgeous beauty of this railway line whose legend has become something timeless and was an inherent part in the lives of many generations of people from Andalusia and Extremadura between the three last decades of XIX Century and the XX Century until 1974. 

But it isn´t less true that almost half a century has elapsed since 1974, year in which the Córdoba-Almorchón Railway stopped operating for passengers transport. 

47 years without passenger trains circulating are a lot of years.

Too many, and the railway shows nowadays a huge level of degradation, specially between Cerro Muriano and Mirabueno : a great quantity of broken railroad ties with very ahrp and dangerous areas, pulled out rails everywhere with huge quantity of vegetation that would have to be cleaned meter by meter, widespread loosened screws and many other things. 

That´s to say, the situation of degradation and neglect of the tract of the Córdoba-Almorchón railway between Mirabueno Station (at a distance of 4 km form Córdoba City) and Cerro Muriano was already unbearable and a solution had to be given. 

And in my opinion, the choice of begetting a green way on the tracks path of this famous railway was highly probably the best one, since it will greatly enhance the zone potential, in such a way that many people will be able to enjoy its wonderful landscapes : hikers, tourists, cyclists, old men and women, sportsmen, persons with some kind of disability or reduced mobility, etc, as well as greatly boosting the bike touring, together with the nature and sports tourisms, as a green corridor of real international stature, because the sceneries of the northern Cordoban range that can be seen and breathed through this rute are truly impressive, in addition to holding microclimates whose temperatures range between three and six degrees less than in Córdoba city, in symbiosis with an unutterable breeze whose therapeutical and medical properties are well known. 

After all, this new green way will cover exactly identical path as the Córdoba-Almorchón railway line in its Mirabueno-Obejo Station stretch, so its users will revel in the same landscapes that were enjoyed by the hundreds of thousands of passengers travelling inside the trains of this railroad during XIX and XX centuries.

And making the most of that 20 km route as a top-notch green way, accessible for everybody and making possible to utterly delight in the entrance to the mythical Sierra Morena would also be something really good for both Córdoba and its inhabitants, with ecotourism and a tourism without barriers as essential concepts, in addition to enhancing the love and passion for nature, a scope in which Córdoba has always been a privileged area. 

Image of the Cerro Muriano Train Station in 2008. Throughout decades, the praiseworthy labour developed by the Association of Friends of Cerro Muriano Train Station, the Cordoban Cultural Association of Railways Friends (with its president Álvaro Olivares and its secretary Antonio Lara as driving forces) and Juan J. Ramos Vicente, author of the extraordinary book " Almorchón-Bélmez-Córdoba : The Guadiato Railway " , presented in Córdoba on November 4, 2016.

But I do believe that it would also important a future preservation of the Cerro Muriano Train Station, which has been highly beloved by the persons of the village from different generations for 116 years and a place whose facilities were walked thousands of times legendary characters of its history like Encarnación Jurado Rodríguez, Antonio Sastre Candelario, Castor Rodríguez, Ana Salguero, Manuel Calvo Ramírez, Ignacia Bejarano Lunar, Antonio Martín Cabanillas, Francisca Flores Romero, Antonia Serrano González, Pedro Cuadro Calvente, Rafael Alias Moreno, Antonia Loaisa Blanque, Ramón Lozano Gilarte, Rafael Obrero Jurado and many others who were decisive in the development and improvement of life conditions in Cerro Muriano after a postwar period full of economical difficulties, with a laudable effort and perseverance, accompanied by a remarkable fighting spirit, who also loved deeply the Cerro Muriano Train Station, and whose sacrifice was decisive in providing for their offspring and descendants, who currently enjoy a quality of life much better than the one experienced by them. 

The mythical shoemaker Antonio Martín Cabanillas, a very endearing man and one of the most important personalities in the whole history of Cerro Muriano, posing in front of the village train station in 2008, a few years before his passing away.