As my journey this summer took me from Barcelona to Lisbon, the change of train stations in Madrid was inevitable. According to official connection information, I would have 48 minutes for this. Would that be enough to get from Madrid-Puerta de Atocha station to Madrid-Chamartin station?
In Madrid-Puerta de Atocha
My AVE train arrives right on time at 08:55 in Madrid-Puerta de Atocha. If you want to read more about that trip with the AVE train, read my blog here.
While still on the train, I make my way all the way to the front to get a few meters ahead. I start a conversation with a nice Spanish man who kindly agrees to help me find my way. My insider tip No. 1 – just ask!
Together we quickly walk to the escalator, then along a long corridor - he knows where to go. Then we reach the machines, where you need to pick up your "Cercanias ticket" for the Cercanias trains. They are included in the RENFE ticket for free. All you have to do is go to the machine, click on "Combinados-Cercanias", place the barcode of your ticket on the scanner and select your destination (in my case "Chamartin"). RENFE tickets for all train connections in Spain are available on Trainline. My free ticket is printed in seconds. Next you go down another escalator and can already see the barriers leading to the metro.
I quickly pass through the barriers and see the machines in the green-marked area.
You stick your ticket in and the doors open. Going down another escalator and then I´m finally on the platform. But which trains go to Chamartin? You need to be careful here: "Madrid-Chamartin" is not always the final destination.
From Madrid-Puerta de Atocha to Madrid-Chamartin
I fall back on my first insider tip and ask around. I'm going to take the train at 09:02. A friendly gentleman helped me with this information. My 2nd tip would be: just download RENFE-Cercanias app, where you can check trains and platforms in advance.
The journey takes about 12 minutes. I get off in Chamartin. Now, all I have to do is find the right platform. I am in a tunnel under the platforms. There is no board displaying departure times and platforms. I can´t see the Trenhotel night train anywhere. I make my way onto a random platform and find an escalator leading to the great hall. Finally, there is a board. I find the Trenhotel train leaving 21:43 h, no information on a platform number, though.
My 3rd tip - start looking for the way up immediately! It is 21:26 h. It took me 31 minutes to get here, including a few minutes headless search for the right platform in Chamartin. All good now! The 48 minutes that the DB-APP and timetable plan.rail.cc suggest, are enough to change stations. About 10 minutes before departure the platform is announced. Number 12.
Read here how my journey on the night train to Lisbon continues. Tickets for Trenhotel night trains are available at ACPRail, Trainline and Renfe.