We explain the history of the city through the development of public transport with exhibitions that feature objects in our collection and the photographic and documentary holdings of the TMB Foundation.
Exhibition: "Tickets, please"
From late 2013 to early 2014 the Espai Mercè Sala (in the lobby of Diagonal station) hosted this exhibition produced by TMB, with the voluntary support of employees and collectors of railway memorabilia. A total of 300 items were displayed at the exhibition curated by José Antonio Patiño, including signs, caps and ticket inspectors’ equipment, showcasing the most curious features of public transport ticketing over the last fifteen decades.
The show starts with the very first days of public transport in Barcelona, from 1872 to 1900, followed by the period up to the 1929 Universal Exposition, moving on to the period of upheaval from 1931 to 1941, then the years from the end of the Civil War to the last days of Franco’s dictatorship, and finally looking at the years from the start of democracy in the late 1970s to the present day. Visitors to the Espai Mercè Sala could also view collections of commemorative tickets such as the "Barcelona monumental" series (1973-1974), "125 years of the tram" (1997), the opening of line 2 (1995) and International Gaudí Year (2002), together with a collection of palindrome tickets, i.e. with numbers that read the same in both directions, and a collection of unusual tickets.
More information in the article "Una visita de culte per als col·leccionistes" (CA) in Hora Punta magazine
Exhibition "Advertising on public transport. 1870-2011"
The advertising and public transport sectors have been inextricably linked for many years. This exhibition, produced by TMB, in the Espai Mercè Sala from July to November 2011, showed how advertising developed and adapted to the forms of support available on different means of transport from the late 19th century to the present day.
A selection of photographs from the company’s archives showed how advertising reflects changes in society itself and allowed visitors to study the characteristics that define the public in each era. The exhibition thus bore testimony to the many social, political and economic changes seen in Barcelona over these three centuries.
The advertising industry, with its aim of stimulating mass consumption, understood from the start that public transport was an ideal means to directly and effectively reach a wide audience in its efforts to open new markets. The exhibition was also an ideal opportunity for a look at the different forms of public transport found in Barcelona and its metropolitan area over the years.
- Information sheet on the exhibition "Advertising on public transport. 1870-2011", (pdf) [PDF: 2839 KB]
Exhibition "Station 1924: 90 years of the Barcelona metro”
Historical exhibition in the Espai Mercè Sala, from 17 September 2014 to 26 March 2015.
The 30th of September 1924 was a historic date for Barcelona, as it was the day the city’s first metro line opened. The construction and opening of the metro service had an enormous impact on the city’s inhabitants.
This exhibition was a journey through time, covering the years before the line was built, its conception, design, construction and inauguration, to give visitors an understanding of this historic moment.
The exhibition included photographs and historical assets belonging to the TMB Foundation.
- Catalogue “Station 1924: 90 years of the Barcelona metro” exhibition catalogue in PDF format (CA) [PDF: 6168 KB]
Exhibition “Barcelona, city and urban public transport”
It featured documents and photos illustrating the evolution of public passenger transport in contemporary Barcelona, which expanded considerably due to increased population and urban expansion.
The documents and photos exhibited were a small selection of the archive holdings of the former concessions companies and Transports de Barcelona and Ferrocarril Metropolità de Barcelona.
- Download the cathalogue "Barcelona, city and urban public transport" in PDF format (CA) [PDF: 183 KB]
Exhibition "Glass negatives"
We have digitalized an interesting collection of glass negatives produced between 1877 and 1940. Exhibition opened on January 2020.
Photographic techniques have advanced constantly since their beginning in 1826. The first negatives were done on silver plates (daguerrotypes) or on paper (calotypes). The first glass negative was created in 1851. These were called collodions or wet plates.
Glass negatives improved the quality of the image and simplified the photographic process, as the required exposure time was reduced from 15 minutes to just a few seconds.
The Fundació TMB photography archives have an interesting collection of glass negatives produced between 1877 and 1940. The photos that were then developed on paper from these negatives, did not do them justice, as at that time, the developing process did not have the quality of cameras at the start of the 20th century.
With the guidance of the Agrupació Fotogràfica de Catalunya and the collaboration of the photographer, Manual Daniel Rivera, together with Fujifilm, we digitalized the collection of glass negatives to preserve the photos they contain.
The selection of photos of this exhibition allowed you to enjoy high-quality images both of public transport of the age and details of the city in the background.
Watch the video of some of the works in the exhibition on Instagram (53 ").
More information about "Negative glasses" on TMB notícies website.
Watch on YouTube the video "TMB recovers a unique photographic material"(CA) (13'29").
- Download the standard screen background picture [PDF: 183 KB]
- Download the panoramic screen background picture [PDF: 183 KB]
- Download the poster picture [PDF: 183 KB]
Exhibition: "Tilling-Stevens, 1922"
In 1922, a group of business people who believed that the bus was the future of urban transport created the Compañía General de Autobuses (CGA) in Barcelona and thus managed to launch the city's first bus network.
The entrepreneurial nature of the CGA drove them to choose the buses of the English manufacturer Tilling-Stevens, equipped with petrol-electric engines, an almost unprecedented technology in the Spanish state and one which proved to be a forerunner for today’s hybrid vehicles.
Many things about the spirit of the GCA are still alive in the current bus service: the commitment to mobility in the city, the commitment to technological innovation, the dedication of workers... This is why, like the Tilling Stevens from England, modern buses are still red.
Although they marked the beginning of something important, those first buses on the network no longer had a place in our memory. Now, as part of the celebrations of the centenary of the Barcelona bus network, they are being reincorporated into our collective memory through the restoration of a Tilling-Stevens B-8302, the publication of a book dedicated to the history of the CGA, Història de la CGA (1922-1940), and this exhibition.