The train stations of Abando-Indalecio Prieto and La Concordia are not right beside each other, but they are close enough to go and visit them one after the other since the history of one has a lot to do with the history of the other.
The area in which they are located was not part of Bilbao a couple of centuries ago. Where Abando is, there was a land of crops and livestock. Beyond the bridge, an area of peasants or farmers in which there was not much more than a church and a few small houses.
But changes were coming. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century, the idea of a railway didn’t sound so crazy anymore, and everyone was willing to invest in it: it was a safe business because it was the future, and that word, always sounded irresistible to the ears of anyone.
So in 1863, the same year in which Jules Verne published his first novel, the Railway Company of Tudela to Bilbao was inaugurated in Abando, a station where today, there is hardly anything left but the traces of the rails. It was all part of a project to prevent the area from being isolated after the Railway Company of the North had decided to connect Irún with Madrid without diverting as far as here.
The original structure was built in an English style and was a milestone as it was one of those temples of the new era that was fascinating, with its technical advances, and appreciated so much. Perhaps the current station, which was opened in 1948 to replace the older facilities, retains some of that flavour. You may even notice it while looking at its large window, decorated with traditional Basque scenes.
However, the weight of history is much more present in La Concordia Station, and you just have to take a short walk towards the river to find yourself in front of the spectacular rose window of its façade. The station was built in 1902, at the height of modernism, and was used to serve the narrow-gauge railways travelling the Cantabrian coast carrying goods and passengers between Bilbao and Santander.
Its name is also linked to the history of the train, do not think that it’s not: it turns out that the Railway Company of Tudela to Bilbao, of which we talked before, was exhausted by the effort taken laying a line that had cost much more than expected. It went bankrupt after a financial crisis, but by an agreement reached in a pavilion that existed right in this area, it was decided to be absorbed by the Railway Company of the North in 1878.
It was such an important event in Bilbao at the time that people started calling the place La Concordia meaning the concord, a name that the station in front of you finally adopted.