Enthusiast

Trains and Trams of Spain – Part 1

29 Sept to 6 October
Spain

This tour is the first of a three-part (i.e. three year) programme designed to permit a detailed examination of the tram systems in Spain. This first tour, in 2018, will visit the cities with trams in the Levant (the east of the country). Along the way, surviving narrow gauge railway networks will be sampled, and transport museums visited. Many of these systems have been constructed very recently in some of Spain’s most historic and famous cities—for example, Barcelona and Valencia—and this will permit a series of interesting parallel visits to be offered to those of a more cultural persuasion.

The tour has been designed, and will be led, by John Bennett, one of the News Editors of the prestigious railfan magazine ‘Locomotives International’. John lives in Spain and speaks Spanish, and is responsible for compiling all the Notes and News about Iberia (Spain & Portugal) which appear in the LI magazine.

Itinerary

Day 1 Saturday 29 September Flights from all the major UK airports to the fine Spanish city of Barcelona. Late afternoon visit to the Vilanova Railway Museum, home to an interesting collection of ex-Renfe broad-gauge steam engines. Overnight in Barcelona

Day 2 Sunday 30 September (B) In the morning we ride the Blue Tram (see photo), the last surviving route of Barcelona’s original and once-extensive nineteenth-century tram network with seven historic 4-wheel cars still in service. In the afternoon, we have a coach trip from Barcelona to La Pobla de Lillet up the valley of the River Llobregat which is where Spain’s industrial revolution started (the first factories were water-powered). Many of the mills and mill towns survive and can be seen from the new main road. Pobla de Lillet is in the foothills of the Pyrenees and the scenery is splendid. At Pobla de Lillet station we visit the museum of industrial railway locomotives and vehicles from the Catalonia region and ride the FC de l’Alt Llobregat, a 600mm gauge railway which continues up the valley to the now-closed cement factory which it was built to serve. The railway runs up the middle of the road in the village of La Pobla. Overnight in Barcelona.

Day 3 Monday 1 October (B) A morning exploration of Trambaix, one of Barcelona’s new-generation tram systems with 23 Alsthom Citadis tramcars. In the afternoon, we take a metre-gauge train of the FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya), the Catalan government’s own railway company, to Martorell and visit the depot and workshops. There will be an option (walking) to visit instead some of Gaudi’s buildings in the morning, and to take a train ride including a rack railway to the Montserrat monastery, home of a black Madonna which is one of Catalonia’s holiest shrines. Gaudi was a well-known Catalan architect famous inter alia for having designed the Sagrada Familia Cathedral which is still being built. He died after being run over by a tram. NB there is a second new tram system in Barcelona—Trambesos—and this will be visited on another of our tours, maybe next year. The two systems are very similar in appearance and material. Overnight in Barcelona.

Day 4 Tuesday 2 October (B) Morning flight to Mallorca (Majorca). In the afternoon, we ride the Soller Railway which runs from Palma to Soller in the north of the island. It is an electrified line through some magnificent scenery and the trains date from the 1920s (see photo). Both the railcars which haul them, and the coaches, are clad in wood. At Soller Station, transfer to the Soller tram for a trip to the port. This uses seven classic 4-wheel motor trams, some of them original, some second-hand from Lisbon (Portugal). Sleep Palma.

Day 5 Wednesday 3 October (B) After breakfast we fly to Valencia. In the afternoon we visit the newly-opened Torrent Museum, with a collection of some 70 trams and railway vehicles (metre-gauge electric) from the Valencia region. Ride back into town on a train of the FGV (Ferrocarriles de la Generalitat Valenciana), the metre-gauge railway company of the Valencia regional government. There may be time, for those who wish to ride more of the FGV system, to do so, but at their own expense.  There will be an option to stay in Valencia (not go to Torrent at all) for a walking tour of the old city centre. Sleep Valencia.

Day 6 Thursday 4 October (B) Morning exploration of Valencia’s new generation tram network which uses 25 Siemens trams and 19 from Bombardier. In the afternoon, we take our bus to Dénia and take an FGV metre-gauge train to Alacant (Alicante). This is DMU as far as Benidorm and modern tram-train to Alacant, Benidorm to Alacant having been electrified. We enter Alacant over the city’s tram tracks. The Alacant to Dénia route was a classic Spanish narrow-gauge line, now being modernised and updated. Sleep Alacant.

Day 7 Friday 5 October (B) In the morning we explore Alacant’s new-generation tram network which uses 23 Bombardier trams and 9 Vossloh tram-trains built (or to be built) in the Stadler factory in Valencia.  In the afternoon we take a bus to Cartagena, to ride the isolated and little-known FEVE line (FEVE-Sur) which uses metre-gauge diesel railcars. Option of a walking tour of Cartagena, or maybe a tour of the harbour by catamaran. Sleep Cartagena

Day 8 Saturday 6 October (B) Flight home from Valencia or take a morning train (loco hauled with buffet car) from Cartagena to Barcelona for an extra night in Barcelona and fly back to the UK on Sunday 7 October.

The tour in 2019 will start in Murcia, and then travel around Andalucia (the south of Spain).

 

Hotels

TBC

Flights

BA484 09.35 London Heathrow to Barcelona (arr. 12.45)
BA479 11.35 Barcelona to London Heathrow (arr. 13.00)

EZ8569 09.05 London Gatwick to Barcelona (arr. 12.15)
EZ8572 10.50 Barcelona to London Gatwick (arr. 12.20) or EZY8222 13.05 Valencia to London Gatwick (arr 14.40)

VY7965 09.05 Luton to Barcelona (arr. 12.15)
EZ2264 10.50 Barcelona to Luton (arr. 12.15)

FR9553 09.50 Birmingham to Barcelona (arr 13.05)
FR9162 13.45 Barcelona to Birmingham (arr 15.15)

FR7542 06.25 Manchester to Barcelona (arr 09.45)
FR7543 10.20 Barcelona to Manchester (arr 11.55)

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices

  • Full 8 day tour including flight from the UK: £1,199 standard
  • Full 8 day tour Barcelona to Valencia: £999 standard
  • Full 9 day tour including flight from the UK: £1,299 standard
  • Full 9 day tour Barcelona and back to Barcelona: £1,099 standard

Options

  • Single Room Supplement: £210

Deposit

  • £500 with flights
  • £300 if own flights

Highlights

  • A full range of wonderful tramways and vehicles
  • Great scenic ride in both trains and trams

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 from/to Barcelona

Flights

  • Direct flights to Barcelona from most UK airports
 
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