Tour Date: 22 to 29 October 2022Location: Portugal

Following the notable renaissance in Portugal’s railways over the last two years, we invite you to join us on our first Enthusiasts’ rail tour in Portugal since 2015.

Since that last tour, much has changed. Half of the  class 2600 electric locomotive fleet has returned to passenger service after a decade in storage, and several class 1400s, including those once destined for Argentina, have also been resurrected for work on the Douro Line. Add to that the long-stored 1940s-built Schindler carriages being put back into service, including three that were taken back from the National Railway Museum and the metre-gauge historic train being returned to service on the Vouga Line with diesel loco 9004 and steam loco E214. One class 1551 loco, 1554, has also been put back into service for C.P. to haul the emergency rescue train when needed. The line between Covilhã and Guarda, closed in 2009, has also reopened, completely modernised and electrified with a new section of track, the Guarda avoiding line (or Beiras Variante), allowing direct access from Vilar Formoso to the Beira Baixa Line.

Our main line charter train will consist of restored Schindler carriages and be top-and-tailed with two 1400s and a 2600. We also hope to be able to use 1554 on the trip up the Beira Baixa Line. On the Vouga Line we will use the Vouga Historic train with 9004 and hopefully E214, as well as recently restored railcar 9310.

Availability

Tour Highlights


  • Our own private charter train
  • Reserved bay of 4 seats per 2 people
  • Restored 1940’s Schindler Carriages with large opening windows
  • The wonderful Beira Baixa Line including reopened section between Covilhã and Guarda
  • Many freight only branches
  • First passenger working by a 1551 MLW locomotive for over 10 years
  • Metre Gauge vintage train – hopefully steam hauled
  • Add-on option to travel on the Linha do Douro steam hauled vintage train
  • All days expected to start after 09:00 and arrive at destination in time for dinner
  • Off train culture options each day
  • Depot visits (TBC)
  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices & Options
  • Booking
  • Gallery
  • Transport & Accommodation

Holiday Prices (per person) TO BE CONFIRMED

  • Full 8-day trip from most UK airports: £1,950
  • 8-day trip joining in Porto: £1,750
  • Special trains only: £1,400

Options

  • Single Room Supplement: £150 (main hotels but with Peninsular in Porto), SOLD OUT (main hotels throughout)
  • Douro Valley, with steam train: £65
  • Douro Valley, full length on vintage diesel hauled train: £28
  • Night of 29 October in Porto: £55 pp in twin/double, £90 in single use room (main hotel) or £45 (Peninsular)

Deposit

  • Travelling by air: £500
  • Own travel: £300
  • several UK airports
  • Return flights from Porto to several UK airports
Online Booking


Please note that you cannot book a flight inclusive trip on our website but if you select the flight option you prefer then we will contact you with the flight details and convert your booking into a flight inclusive package.

 

Click here to see our Booking Conditions

 

Click here to see our Privacy Policy

We recommend you also check the FCO website for the latest travel advice https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Hotels

  • Royal Bridges Hotel, Porto (option for singles to use Pensão Peninsular)
  • Hotel Dos Templarios, Tomar – dinner included
  • Tryp Covilhã Hotel (double/twins), Santa Eufémia (singles) – dinner included
  • Melia Hotel Setubal (3 nights)
  • Porto Legendary Batalha (option for singles to use Pensão Peninsular)

Flight Options

  • TP1331 12.00 Gatwick South to Porto (arr.14.20)
  • BA2790 19:55 Heathrow to Porto (arr 22:15) or morning flight at 06:40
  • EZ2097 06:15 Luton to Porto (arr 08:40)
  • FR7965 16:05 Stansted to Porto (arr 18:30) or morning flight at 09:45
  • FR6147 18:20 Bristol to Porto (arr 20:30)
  • TP1317/1960 10:55 Manchester, via Lisbon, to Porto (arr 17:00)
  • FR6603 07:00 Edinburgh to Porto (arr 09:40)

Day 1, Saturday 22 October 

Flights from many UK airports directly to Porto. Transfer to the city centre by metro. Overnight in Porto.

It is also possible to travel overland, via Eurostar, TGV, Sud-Express sleeper.

Day 2, Sunday 23 October (B, D)

After breakfast we join our special train consisting of 1940s Schindler coaches along with two class 1400 diesel locos and one class 2600 electric loco and head south to the freight only branch to Aveiro docks. After traversing the branch, at Aveiro our coaches* will be waiting to take us to Sernada from where we have an out and back trip to Aveiro on the Vouga (metre-gauge) Historic train hauled by diesel loco 9004, and, subject to the weather not being too hot and dry, steam loco E214. The Historic Train previously ran on the Corgo Line, but after many years stored in Régua, it was beautifully restored in Contumil and Guifões. The original three carriages have been joined by three Napolitano coaches which were previously abandoned and decaying at Régua and Tua. Incredible work by the staff in Guifões has seen them restored and back in service on the Vouga Historic train. Visit to Sernada Works for those who wish to see the other steam locos and vintage vehicles stored here. We will then return to Aveiro on our coaches and head south to Tomar, probably the first time there has been a 1400+2600 combination on the branch. (09:15 – 18:30). Culture Option: Travel one direction only on the Vouga Line to arrive in Aveiro around 13:10. Time for lunch. Aveiro, also known as the Venice of Portugal. The town has a series of canals and fine Art Nouveau mansions. At the Ria de Aveiro lagoon, which covers 25 square miles, we join a boat trip to explore this unique backwater. This is known as the Rota da Luz “route of light” running between gleaming salt flats, pale beaches and sparkling ocean. We rejoin the main tour at 16:00.

Overnight in Tomar (welcome dinner included for everyone on the full tour with accommodation).

* Coach transfer included for all tour participants.

Highlights of the day:

  • Vouga Historic train hauled by first 9004 and then E214 (steam Mallet)
  • First visit by a 2600 and Schindler coaches to Aveiro Docks

Day 3, Monday 24 October (B,D)

A change of traction today, with our train top and tailed by a 2600 and 1554, the first example of the previously withdrawn class 1550 ‘MLWs’ to be brought back into service with C.P. with the loco used for the “emergency train”. Leaving our 1400s at Entroncamento to cover for it, 1554 will haul our train on the Beira Baixa Line all the way to Vilar Formoso using the recently reopened electrified line north of Covilhã and the newly opened Beiras curve, avoiding Guarda station. First, though, we visit the short branch line at Rodão, with the 2600 bringing us back out, a rare visit to the branch by either class. We have requested a 90 minute break at Castelo Branco for lunch and then continue our journey north behind 1554, traversing the new Guarda avoiding line and then to Vilar Formoso. From here our 2600 hauls us back to Guarda where once again 1554 takes over as we head back to Covilhã, where we spend the night (dinner included). Group dinner included for everyone on the full tour with accommodation. (09:10 to 19:10). Culture option: A walking tour of Castelo Branco with a local guide including the Bishop’s Palace and gardens. Packed lunch available to take on the train.

Highlights of the day:

  • First passenger working of a class 1550 in a decade
  • First visit of a 2600 on Rodão branch
  • First visit of a 2600 Covilhã to Guarda and Variante das Beiras
  • First 1550 hauled passenger service on the Variante das Beiras

Day 4, Tuesday 25 October (B)

Heading south from Covilhã with 1554 leading, we take in the short branch at Fundão, the first PTG charter on the branch and possibly the first ever passenger train. From here we continue to Entroncamento to swap 1554 back for the 1400s, but instead of going through the station, we take the line through the freight yard before reversing at Riachos-Golegã and returning to Entroncamento station, almost certainly the first passenger train to run through the yard. With time for lunch or, for enthusiasts a visit to the National Railway Museum and railway Works and depot. We then depart south with our 1400s leading, we take the freight line from Setíl to Vendas Novas and onwards to Barreiro, before ending our day in Setúbal, our base for the next three nights. (09:30 – 18:10)

  • Fundão freight terminal
  • Possibly the first passenger working through Entroncamento freight yard
  • First electric loco-hauled passenger working to Barreiro

Day 5, Wednesday 26 October (B)

We have a day exploring the lines in the south of Portugal today, first heading south behind our 2600 using the “old” line via Alcácer do Sal. From here we continue to Ermidas Sado and the Port of Sines, the first time an electric loco hauled passenger train has been to Sines. Once again, our 1400s take over to take us back to Ourique via the Ermidas-Sado south and Funcheira north curves, the first known class 1400 hauled service on these sections of track. Leaving the class 2600 at Ourique, we traverse the Neves Corvo branch with our 1400s. From Neves Corgo, we then retrace our steps, collecting the 2600 again and head to Funcheira, completing the triangle with the first scheduled passenger working from Ourique to Funcheira since 2012. We return to Setúbal via the main line and  Alcácer do Sal avoiding line. (09:30 – 19:40). Culture option: After the visit to Sines leave the train at the old station of Santiago de Cacém for lunch followed by a visit to the Templar castle and the 13th century Igreja Matriz (church) before our coach takes us on to the vineyard at the Serenada Enoturismo Winery for tasting of the unique wines of this region. Journey time is about 35 minutes. After our visit we are taken by coach (35 minutes) to rejoin our special train at Ermidas-Sado at 17:50.

Highlights of the day:

  • First electric hauled passenger train to Sines
  • First 1400 hauled service on the Ermidas-Sado south and Funcheira north curves
  • First known 1400 hauled service to Neves Corvo
  • First passenger workings Ourique-Funcheira since 2012

Day 6, Thursday 27 October (B)

We complete our travels around Alentejo today. After leaving Setúbal, we head for Casa Branca and a rare loco-hauled visit to Beja. We will be hauled by our 1400s both ways, but the 2600 will stay with us. Time in Beja for lunch before we return to Casa Branca from where our 1400s will take us into Évora. This will be the first ever visit by a 2600 on this line, and as we leave Évora and turn north at Vendas Novas, it will also be the first 2600 to traverse the Vendas Novas east-to-north curve. At Vidigal we reverse to complete all three sides of the triangle and head to Coina. At Coina, we take in the Siderurgia branch in another first, an electric loco hauled passenger train down the branch, before continuing to Pinhal Novo and around the circle via Poceirão and Águas de Moura with a reversal using the Praias Sado freight triangle. (09:30 – 19:25). Culture Option: alight at Casa Branca for a short coach transfer Evora, rejoining the tour when the special train arrives in Evora (around 15:30). Rising out of the Alentejan plain is the enchanting city of Évora. The town rose to prominence under the Romans and flourished throughout the Middle Ages as a centre for learning and the arts. It was a popular residence of Portuguese kings. The city’s historic legacy was officially recognized in 1986, when UNESCO declared Évora a World Heritage Site. The most famous site is the Roman Temple dedicated to the goddess Diana.

For Enthusiasts there might be an early morning visit to Barreiro Works before departure.

Highlights of the day:

  • First ever verified/daytime electric loco to Beja (even if DIT!)
  • First ever visit of a 2600 to Evora
  • First 2600 hauled service on Vendas Novas east to north curve
  • First electric loco-hauled passenger working to Coina branch

Day 7, Friday 28 October (B)

On our last day we return to Porto via the 25th of April Bridge and the West Line, with a break for lunch in Caldas da Rainha. Our 1400s will be leading, with the 2600 on the rear, the first known visit of a 2600 to this non-electrified line. After lunch we continue north, visiting Figueira da Foz where the 2600 takes over. ENTHUSIASTS: We have requested a visit to the old storage shed here to see a couple of stored ex-CP locos. At Coimbra B we have a quick trip down the branch to Coimbra’s city centre station, a very rare visit by any kind of loco and potentially the last loco-hauled passenger train on the branch as it is scheduled to close due to Coimbra’s new metrobus system. Overnight in Porto.

  • A rare visit of a loco hauled service to Coimbra city station and possibly the last.

Day 8, Saturday 29 October (B)

Return to Porto Airport by metro for your flights home. Or stay on for a trip on the wonderful Linha do Douro, definitely one of the world’s most scenic lines. The Inter-regional trains on this line are now back in the hands of 1400 locomotives hauling restored Shindler and Sorafame carriages, meaning you can open the windows to see, and photograph, the valley in all its glory. We will reserve the front carriage of the morning train (provided there is enough interest) and offer two options:

  • Alight at Regua for lunch then a return ride on the restored “Historico” train hauled by steam locomotive 0186 (built by Henschel & Son in 1925) with early 20th century wooden bodied carriages with open verandas. This goes as far as Tua where there is a break for refreshments while the locomotive is turned for the run back to Regua. Then we take the diesel hauled IR train back to Porto
  • Remain on the IR train all the way to the end of the Douro line at Pocinho. You won’t see better scenery anywhere in the world. Return to Porto in late afternoon by loco hauled IR service.
  • Depending on train timetables it might be possible to travel right through to Pocinho then return to Tua to pick up the steam train on it’s return run (however you will still need to pay for a return ticket for the steam train).

Return fare from Porto to Regua on the IR service is less than £20 and allow about £45 for the steam train. Return fares on the IR for the full length of the line is only £28. Sunday 30 October (B) Return to Porto Airport by metro for your flights home.