El Chorro - Caminito del Rey Train Station
When railway was established in Málaga in the middle of the19th century, it was one of the most important happenings in the modern history of the province with a significant influence on the surroundings of El Caminito del Rey path, and brought the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes natural site in the centre of attention. Its creation required certain infrastructures, such as El Chorro Station, tunnels, bridges and viaducts, which are all good examples of industrial and architectural heritage from that period.
The train had a considerable impact on all economic sectors in Málaga, as number of visitors, trade and employment increased, and it positively influenced on town development and changed people's lifestyle. Of course, it was also a great stimulus for the area which was at the time more passive and away from the economic activities in the country due to its complex terrain.
Málaga was the second industrial town in Spain, and the railway was supposed to improve its future prospects. It was meant to connect this city with the Andalusian inland, especially with the coal-bearing river basins in Belmez and Espiel, in Córdoba, something which was crucial for the strong iron and steel industry in Málaga, as well as to connect it with other railways in Spain, which would help the economic development of the area that had flourishing textile and chemical industries.
Some important business people decided to make a railway between Málaga and Córdoba. This was done in 1866, twenty years later. The immense volume of the works can be seen thanks to the structures, including 17 tunnels more than 5 km long in total, eight viaducts and 18 bridges, that were built to make a trail over or through the Gaitanes Gorge (Desfiladero de los Gaitanes). This massif was a big challenge for the industry at that time as there was to drill the mountains and cross the gorges. An important part of these infrastructures had to be done only to go across the gorge.
Two stops at both sides of the gorge were made. In the north, Gobantes Station was built in Peñarrubia (today Campillos), but it was flooded by the water from the Guadalhorce Reservoir in the 1970s.
El Chorro Train Station was constructed in the south, in Álora, where the train runs on the left side of the Guadahorce River and across the gorge at almost the same altitude at which El Caminito del Rey path is. Today, it is still working. On the 4th November 2016, it was officially named El Chorro-Caminito del Rey Station. It keeps some original structures like access tunnels to the railways, metal tanks used for storing water for steam locomotive boilers, and the building for travellers, train manager and his assistants.
Between these stations, we can still see tunnels and viaducts, which used to be metal and known as 'iron bridges'. Most of these iron bridges were changed for bridges made of dry stone and ashlars few years later. Some of them were rather beautiful like Josefona, which has a big arch that goes over the entire cattle track. Only metal bridges remain there. One is in the middle of the Gaitanes Gorge, in Hoyo Valley, and the other one at the place where big walls of the gorge end in the Town of Álora.
Until 2007, all trains between Málaga and the rest of the peninsula used this railway, along which today short and medium-distance trains run and it provides access to the natural beauty spot and El Caminito del Rey Path.