Culture

Douro and Minho by Special Train

19 to 24 October 2017
Portugal

Join us on a 6-day trip covering most lines in Northern Portugal, with stunning scenery, aboard our private charter train using the recently restored “Schindler” carriages. After many years out of service, six of these carriages, dating from the 1940s and built by the Swiss Schindler company, have returned to service this summer on the Douro Line between Porto and Tua (five are known to have already returned to service, the sixth should return shortly). Over the four days we will travel the full length of the Douro Line to Pocinho and back, a rare trip beyond Tua for these carriages. We also cover the full length of the Minho Line to Valença, and on the Sunday, visit Leixões, Braga and Guimarães, the first known trip on this line by these carriages. Our last day includes a visit to Contumil workshops followed by a trip to Aveiro and a special charter of the Vouga Historic train. This is the train, hauled by 9004, that previously operated on the Corgo Line, but had remained out of service

Your Tour Manager for this trip is David.

Your Tour Manager for this trip is David.   david@ptg.co.uk

Itinerary

Thursday 19 October Flights from many airports in the UK to Porto, with a transfer by the modern metro to our hotels. The next five nights are in Porto.

Friday 20 October (B,OL) Our trip begins at Porto Campanhã station when our train, composed of a class 1400 locomotive and three Schindler carriages, heads off along what is arguably Portugal’s most scenic line, the Douro Line. We stop at Tua with lunch at the famous “Calça Curta” restaurant included. After lunch we continue to the end of the line at Pocinho, a rare visit by these carriages to this station. The metre gauge Sabor Line branched off here, but even though it closed in 1988, there are still traces of track and a steam loco here. The loco will run round here and get us back to Porto in time for dinner.

Saturday 21 October (B) We head north towards the Spanish border at Valença on the scenic Minho Line. After leaving Campanhã station, we have a stop at Nine to visit this normally closed museum. Though small, it houses some important exhibits, including the oldest surviving broad-gauge steam loco in Portugal. We continue north on this line which is currently being electrified as far as Viana do Castelo, and will eventually reach Valença and across the border to Spain. At Valença we will break for lunch, but there will also be an opportunity to visit the museum there, another museum which is normally closed. After lunch we return south to Porto.

Sunday 22 October (B) A busy day today, as we cover the remaining branches in the Porto area. We also hope to have a 1901 or 1961 locomotive on our train. All operational locos in these classes were transferred to the privatised C.P. Carga, now known as Medway. First of all we travel along the freight-only Leixões branch. From there we go directly to Ermesinde, on the third side of the triangle of lines in the area. From there we go directly to Braga with time there for lunch. As well as a regular suburban service, Braga is also served by Intercity and Alpha trains, and we should see some movements of these during our time here. We retrace our steps as far as Lousado, where the train will reverse in order to take the Guimarães branch. We also have time to visit the excellent Lousado Museum, which houses metre-gauge stock, including the oldest surviving metre-gauge steam locomotive in Portugal. We believe we will be making history now, as this visit of the Schindler carriages to Guimarães is almost certainly the first time they have traversed this branch. When these carriages were in regular use, the

Monday 23 October (B) We join our special train to head south to Aveiro, another line that these carriages will not have visited since being returned to service. Our coach will be waiting to take us to Sernada, where we will visit the workshops which contain the metre-gauge Allan railcar 9310, its trailer and stored steam locomotives. Leaving Sernada, we cross the only remaining shared road-rail bridge in Portugal, and soon after stop at Macinhata to visit the small but interesting museum. The line from Sernada to Agueda was completely re-laid recently, with ballasted track for the first time. With the arrival of the historic train on the line this year, there is now pressure on the track authority to upgrade the section of line from Sernada to Oliveira de Azeméis, currently only available to ECS workings and with a 10 km/h speed limit. On arrival at Aveiro we leave the historic train and return to Porto on the Schindlers.

Tuesday 24 October (B)
 This morning we visit the railway workshops at Contumil. These workshops are responsible for the Alpha stock, as well as the units in use in northern Portugal, the Spanish Camelos. They also look after the Historic Train stock and the steam locos, 0186 and 0187, the latter of which should be here awaiting restoration. Metre-gauge steam loco E214 should also be here, as it is being restored for use on the Vouga Historic train next year.  After the visit, we travel to Porto Airport on the metro to catch our flights home.

Place(s) available
Holiday prices per person
  • Special train only: £99*/£120 a day
  • 5 nights in 4* hotel in twin/double: £330, or £530 single
  • Self catering apartments: from £390 (sleep up to 3)

Options

Deposit

  • £100
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Highlights
  • No fly
  • Stunning scenery
  • World’s first demarcated wine region
  • British port wine families
  • Private charter train
  • Vintage Schindler carriages
  • Vintage English Electric locomotive
Your holiday price includes
  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • Good quality en-suite accommodation
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary; B = Breakfast
  • Services of our tour manager. Holiday is fully escorted.
Flights
  • Direct flights from Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Manchester