Hi, nice thread… and I will try to talk about first picture and part of its history (there have been pages and pages, and some read several books, I could fill a full thread and feel free to ask)
After starting works in the 19th century, on 18th July 1928, Canfranc tunnel was opened.
Here you are a 2010 SSC banner about this station
And its location in google maps
Former path to St.James crosses behind station but nowadays road hasn’t so much traffic since Somport tunnel (entrance one km before town) was opened. Only to reack two ski resorts.
Nowadays it receives daily two small trains from Zaragoza (on weekends a third one until Jaca) and up to six buses from Bedous (less ones in winter). There are links Pau-Bedous by train and Bedous-Canfranc by bus, all managed by SNCF (despite it is a bus, should you have any railway reduction in France, it will run on these buses)
It was used to have always two twin stations in the border Spain/France and usually all trains arrived to the other country and back empty (for one km in Irun/Hendaye, for instance). All border controls where made by both polices “in the arrival country”. This made, for instance, that all trains will depart from their own country and tickets sold in local currency. For instance, a Madrid-Paris via Irun/Hendaye would be a Madrid-Hendaye Hendaye-Paris and conversely Paris-Irun and Irun-Madrid
But in the case of Canfranc it required an 8 km tunnel…and to avoid extra cost, they made only one electrified track, thus an international station was built in Canfranc.
That meant that a lot of French workers had to live in Canfranc and a bi-national treatment was signed. Those workers (customs, railway workers and services) could leave within town without custom formalities. Should they wanna leave the town (and just go to another village valley down) they had to go to both French and Spanish border controls inside station but a railway worker, who for instance had arrived to Canfranc and went to his house there, could leave the train and went there without formalities.
French citizens had some own services as schools for instance and French police was entitled not only to control border pass inside station but to go through village with soveranity over French citizens living there. This treatment hasn’t been abolished yet, thus… it could run again (despite Schengen treatement is more or less the same because Canfranc is not far away from border)
Tracks are different in Spain and Portugal and in the rest of Europe. That meant all trains arrived to Canfranc and had to change of train (or for freight, sometimes, enable to shift wheels). There was a hotel and more services inside station (and in google maps there is one picture inside station)
While Second World War, during French occupation, German army arrived to Canfranc and controlled border after that treatment. Not strongly weird since that Spanish government was friend of German one… and it was often to see Civil guard and German SS together within Canfranc streets… and several politicians who lived there (one, already dead, had a family summer house there and first Aragonese president was born there and his family had main hotel) remember German svastic flag in the French area of the station for several years.
Tunnel was down after war to avoid people leaving through tunnel and later several bunkers where built inside tunnel. Today one out of those tunnels was really enlarged and it is a physics lab. It is almost 2.000 metres under mountains which means 6.000 or so m under sea level for experiments. It belongs to University of Zaragoza and each time I have seen a documentary about it, few people speak Spanish… (thus, it is an unique lab due to its location wihin mountains for experiments and well known in scientific community).
I remember one schedule table. They had two direct trains to Zaragoza, one train through Huesca until Zaragoza (today all go via Huesca) and two night trains to Valencia and to Madrid.
To France they have several ones to Pau and later joining to Paris (and Bordeaux, Toulouse…)
An accident in 1970 in French side made line down… and it was in 2016 when Aquitanian government decided to re-open line between Oloron and Bedous, thus Oloron-Canfranc bus services changed only to Bedous-Canfranc service.
Future plans?. Building has been bought by Aragonese government and refurbishement works are going on, slowly but on. Since it was bought, touristic activities and visits started again and in summer it is full of tourists
Plan is next one: all tracks will be changed to the last corner of station, behind all buildings.
Current buildings will be refurbished and several ones built in the area making a square, public space, hotel, appartments and so on to give life to that area as well as railway operations will remain in one corner of former station.
It is expected from French side to re-open line until Canfranc (only 28 km until tunnel but the most difficult ones)
It is expected from Spanish side to refurbish line, changing to international gauge and upgrading some areas
Nowadays there is enough capacity in international passes but should Spain will deal with freight by train, they will not have it. Canfranc tunnel can help and… the most important work (the tunnel) is already done.
Hope it helps… a lot of histories can be told about this station…. But it is not a ghost. Every day two trains arrive there and several buses from French side.