Culture, Enthusiast

FEVE Historic Train

11 to 16 April
Spain

Join us for a four day tour on the FEVE Historic Train. Based in Bilbao, we will visit three different lines, including a rare trip by this train onto Euskotren rails. Arrivals into Bilbao on Wednesday by air (options to travel by rail or sea are available) and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore Bilbao, including its metro, tram, suburban FEVE lines, Euskotren and RENFE Cercanías systems, as well as the funicular and famous transporter bridge. The following four days are spent riding on the historic train. First, we have an out and back trip to Santander where we hope to have access to the small railway museum located between the FEVE and RENFE stations. On the second day, we start our trip at Atxuri station, the FEVE Historic Train making a rare visit to this Euskotren terminal. From here we travel along the Basque rail operator’s lines stopping first at Zumaia where we have an excursion to the Basque Railway Museum for a private charter along the 5 km of track. We return to Zumaia to continue our journey to San Sebastian, and after a leisurely lunch we return to Bilbao. The following day we have a morning start for our trip over the longest metre-gauge line in Europe to León. We will include visits to railway museums along the line, and stop at a lineside restaurant for lunch. This is an all-day trip and we stay overnight in León. On our last day, we return to Bilbao along the same line, another all-day trip, and overnight in Bilbao. Return home the following day by air, rail or sea.

The FEVE Historic Train was recently renovated in the FEVE workshops. Dating from 1929, it is composed of classic saloons with individual armchairs and observation coach style windows. On the three days when we travel on FEVE lines the train should be hauled by one of FEVE’s class 1500 locomotives.

Your Tour Manager for this trip is David. Should you have any queries about the itinerary or if you wish to have a chat with him about the trip, please feel free to e-mail him on david@ptg.co.uk.

Highlights

  • Railway Museums
  • FEVE Historic Train
  • Beautiful scenery
  • FEVE and Euskotren metre-gauge lines
  • Extremely rare loco hauled train on the Euskotren mainline
Itinerary

Day 1 Wednesday 11 April Flights from the UK to Bilbao. Depending on your arrival time, you may have time to explore this modern city. No longer the grey, industrial city it was in the 1970s, Bilbao boasts a plethora of things to see and do. Most famous of all is the Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry and considered as one of the most important structures of contemporary architecture, the building being wrapped in titanium panels. For transport fans, a trip on the futuristic metro system, designed by Sir Norman Foster (the station entrances are known locally as “fosteritos”) is a must. Be sure to visit the UNESCO listed Viscaya Bridge, the world-famous transporter bridge where people and vehicles cross the river in a suspended gondola. Ride over on the gondola one way, and return by walking over the top of the bridge with great views of the river below. There is also a funicular in Bilbao. Near the bridge there is an old railway station with the building now serving as a tourist information centre.

Day 2 Thursday 12 April (B) Bilbao’s two main railway stations are adjacent to each other. Today we use the metre gauge Concordia station, the starting point for our out-and-back trip to Santander. With a morning departure, we will arrive in Santander in time for lunch. Like Bilbao, the metre-gauge and broad-gauge stations are side-by-side, with a small railway museum between them. We hope to be able to arrange for the museum to be open for us. After lunch, we are joined by clients on our Vintage Asturias and Cantabria tour for our journey back to Bilbao.

Day 3 Friday 13 April (B) A rare trip by the FEVE Historic Train over the Basque railway operator Euskotren’s line to San Sebastian. Euskotren also operate Bilbao’s tram system and we hope to negotiate a special tram to take us from the city centre to Atxuri station, the Euskotren station in Bilbao. From here we head eastwards on their line towards San Sebastian (Donostia in the Basque language), but we will alight first at Zumaia station where a coach will be waiting to take us to the Basque Railway Museum in Azpeita. Here we find a wonderful collection of narrow gauge locomotives, carriages, trams and even an ex-London Transport trolleybus. There is also a steam crane which is still operational, and a tram which they can run along a very short section of track. We will have a private charter train along the museum’s 5 km railway. Returning to Zumaia we re-join our historic train to complete the journey to San Sebastian. Free time for lunch, but you may wish to use this time to ride on the frequent service trains to Hendaye and back. During the afternoon, our historic train takes us back to Bilbao.

Day 4 Saturday 14 April (B,L) The Bilbao – León  line is claimed to be Europe’s longest narrow-gauge line with a length of 335 km. Though there are good commuter services at either end of the line for commuters in Bilbao and León, there is only one train per day running all the way through, with an end-to-end journey time of seven and a half hours. Our journey today on the historic train passes through some beautiful, and at times unusual, scenery and mountain formations. Along the way, we will stop to visit local railway museums, and of course we will have lunch at a lineside restaurant. We have requested a “noisy”, normally freight only, 1500 series locomotive to haul our train. Early evening arrival in León.

Day 5 Sunday 15 April (B,L) We complete our four days on the FEVE Historic Train by returning to Bilbao. Once again lunch is included at a lineside restaurant. Or you can leave the tour today by catching a fast train from León to Madrid for flights back to the UK.

Day 6 Monday 16 April (B) We return to Bilbao Airport for our flights home.

Hotels – Quality

Quality
Hotel Carlton, Bilbao (3 nights plus 1 night)
Hotel Afonso V, León (1 night)

Standard (limited rooms available)
Hotel Bilbao Jardines, Bilbao (3 nights)
Hotel Conde Luna, León (1 night)
Sercotel Coliseo, Bilbao (1 night)

Flights

EZY1877 13.50 Manchester to Bilboa (arr 17.00)
EZY1878 15.20 Bilboa to Manchester (arr 16.20)

EZY6975 17.50 Edinburgh to Bilbao (arr 21.15)
EZY6976 10.40 Bilbao to Edinburgh (arr 12.05)

BA0468 15.45 London Heathrow T3 to Bilbao (arr 18.50)
BA0467 12.20 Bilbao to London Heathrow T3 (arr 13.15)

EZY3227 18.25 London Stansted to Bilbao (arr 21.25)
EZY3226 11.00 Bilbao to London Stansted (arr 11.50)

VY7293 19.55 London Gatwick to Bilbao (arr 22.50)
VY7292 18.20 Bilbao to London Gatwick (arr 19.10)

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices (per person) – includes hotel, breakfast, special train and excursions

  • Full 6 days joining in Bilbao (double/twin): £550 standard, £695 quality
  • Full 6 days joining in Bilbao (single): £685 standard, £760 quality
  • Flights from: £170

Options

  • Trains only, no accommodation: £320
  • Individual train only days: Thu £45, Fri £105, Sat £85, Sun £85

Deposit

  • Travelling by air: £500
  • Own travel: £300

Price includes

  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • En-suite accommodation
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary; B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
  • Services of our tour manager. Holiday is fully escorted.
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