23rd - 29th September 2000
Portuguese Traction Group
Palaces and Pousadas
|Locos Used||CP 1413, 1462, 1465, 1810, 1901, 1964 & 9006|
|Trams Used||Companhia Carris de Ferro de Lisboa Trams No. 735 and
Also 2 x Sintra Trams (6)
|Stock Used||(1668mm gauge) Confirmation required on all Stock Used
(metre gauge) 2 x Allan Railcar Trailers (10)
|DMU Used||CP Refurbished Allan Railcar (20)|
|23/09||753||Santo Amaro (1) (dep 16.30) - (2) - Belém|
|23/09||735||Belém - (2) - Largo de Martim Moniz (3)|
|24/09||1462||Lisboa, Estação Santa Apolónia (dep 1005) - Bifurcação de Xabregas - "Linha de Cintura" - Sete Rios - Campolide - Ponte 25 de Abril - Pragal - Coina Depot (4)|
|24/09||1462||Coina Depot - Pragal - Ponte 25 Abril - Campolide (5) - "Linha de Sintra" - Cacém - Sintra|
|24/09||?? (6)||Ribeira de Sintra (dep 1535) - Praia das Maçãs|
|24/09||?? (6)||Praia das Maçãs (dep 1619) - Ribeira de Sintra|
|24/09||1465||Sintra (dep 1715) - Cacém - "Linha de Sintra" - Sete Rios - "Linha de Cintura" - Bifurcação de Xabregas - Lisboa, Estação Santa Apolónia|
|25/09||1810||Barreiro (dep 0950) - Pinhal Novo|
|25/09||1810||Pinhal Novo - Penalva Freight Terminal|
|25/09||1901||Penalva Freight Terminal - Volkswagen Factory spur (7)|
|25/09||1810||Volkswagen Factory spur - Penalva Freight Terminal - Pinhal Novo - Setúbal - Concordância de Agualva (Poceirão South to East Curve) - Vendas Novas - Torre da Gadanha (8) - Casa Branca - Évora|
|25/09||1810||Évora (dep 1845) - Casa Branca - Vendas Novas - Pinhal Novo - Barreiro|
|26/09||9006 + (10)||(9) Aveiro (dep 1351) - Macinhata do Vouga (11) (dep 1544) - Sernada do Vouga (dep 1617) - Accidente (12) - Espinho (13)|
|27/09||1964||Porto, Estação São Bento (dep 1045) - Porto Campanhã - Trofa (14) - Nine - Viana do Castelo (15)|
|27/09||1964||Viana do Castelo (dep 1500) - Nine|
|27/09||1964||Nine - Braga (16)|
|27/09||1964||Braga (dep 1654) - Nine - Porto Campanhã (arr 1800) (17)|
|28/09||1413||Coimbra A (dep 0949) - Pampilhosa (18)|
|28/09||1413||Pampilhosa (dep 1400) - "Ramal da Figueira da Foz" - Cantanhede - Figueira da Foz|
|28/09||1413||Figueira da Foz (dep 1618) - "Ramal de Alfarelos" - Coimbra B|
|28/09||1413||Coimbra B (dep 1737) - Coimbra A (19)|
|29/09||?? (20)||Coimbra A (dep 0950) - Coimbra Parque - Lousã (21) (dep 1205) - Serpins|
|29/09||?? (20)||Serpins (dep 1240) - Lousã - Coimbra Parque - Coimbra A|
Source : Andy Pullar
(by Andy Pullar)
This was a PTG trip that promised something different; loco haulage on two of the remaining Portuguese narrow gauge systems whose services were now provided solely by diesel units, loco haulage to Sintra and across the 'Ponte do 25 de Abril' as well as other unit only haunts and rare haulage by a 1960 class diesel not to mention the slow pace and cultural detours of palaces and forests. and there was also some tram mileage thrown in for good measure and the odd bit of required track.
However as many a PTG veteran will tell you nothing ever goes quite according to initial proposals. It was a disappointment to me when the proposal for a farewell tour of the Porto metre gauge failed to materialise (though not surprising given the lack of locos and rolling stock- the one loco left on the system being defective if I recollect correctly). The pousada accommodation also didn't make the cut but there was still plenty of interest left for me nonetheless over the seven days. The highlight for me was to be 9006 on the Vale do Vouga system though little did I suspect how memorable it would prove.
Day 1 started with an old faithful in the form of a tram charter round the remnants of the Carris system in Lisbon including a visit to the Tram Museum and depot (located directly beneath the 'Ponte do 25 de Abril' before it reaches out across the Tagus).
Day 2 was a sedate stagger by 1400 class loco (minus the graffiti) to the unit only Sintra line with a side trip across the 25 Abril Bridge to pad out the journey. There followed a bus tour to some of the palaces dotted around Sintra before the most interesting part of the day's trip for me; a trip to the Atlantic Coast on the Sintra tram. This did not pass without incident as a car driver decided not to stop as the tram passed one of the many side turnings. Two trams were employed to take everyone off to the beach and back in glorious weather so it had to be a swap at the end to get both in the book (and the extra couple of inches of track too).
Day 3 was the point in the itinerary for the customary PTG pilgrimage to Évora with an 1800 class for haulage; this time number Ten of the species was doing the honours. The trip was not without its interest from a new track perspective with the sidings at Penalva duly griced. There was also a bonus in the form of a shunt release from Alstom diesel 1901 though calling it mileage might be even too much for even the most committed of spin doctors. At the time I was employed by one of the Alstom Group Companies so a pose with 1901 in the background was obligatoire. Fortunately I have since received the cure and no longer have to pretend to be unemployed when Alstom and product reliability is mentioned in the same sentence.
The line of 1321 class locos provided a photographic distraction along with some wishful thinking about additions on the traction front. Still must be patriotic. Up the Westerns! What do you mean they're German?
With Évora duly out of the way for another year it was back to Barriero at high speed (kind of) for that other great tradition post tour Trans Tagus boat ride. Minho was the tub back with Algarve doing the honours in the morning. Another custom sadly relegated to the past. There's nothing like a boat journey to make more room for dinner.
Day 4 loomed and with it the anticipation of Portuguese metre gauge loco haulage on the Vouga system. After sampling the daily Lisbon to Porto inter regional and lunch in Aveiro it was loitering in the station time awaiting the throaty roar of 9006. The appearance of the loco towing two Allan railcar trailers made for a fine sight followed by the mad scramble for seats and then some last minute photography. The rear trailer was my preferred choice for the extra yardage it afforded up the platform at Aveiro as a service train needed some room. Then it was off at a sedate speed with not a hint of the white knuckle ride to come.
Visits to the museum at Macinhata do Vouga and the depot at Sernada do Vouga passed some time then it was north up the hill continuing the leisurely pace to the end of the line at the resort of Espinho or so I thought. The train began accelerating away after reaching the summit of the climb out of Sernada do Vouga and an alarming pitching and rolling set in. What was most alarming was the two trailers were rolling in opposite directions. Just as I thought who needs a Trans Tagus ferry to make room for more lunch we were off road with no 4 wheel drive.
An alarming drop down the valley was the sight out of the side the coach was listing towards with ever greater angle until all the bags on the overhead racks headed for the poor chaps on the other side of the coach before the driver noticed and the train was stopped. Who needs Alton Towers with a ride like that even at 30 kph. All heads out like a bunch of giant meerkats before piling out the coach to survey the situation and count limbs.
Then it was retrieve all the belongings after the coaches were separated and confirmation no one was the worse for wear (other than a few bruises) clamber aboard the remains of the train and head off to the beach, Porto and a few large ones.
Days 5 and 6 were somewhat after the Lord Mayor's show though 1964 tried it's best and the visit to Guifões was not without interest with steam locos being overhauled and stored narrow gauge locos and stock filling the yard. It is a pity that the closure of the Porto metre gauge system didn't (as far as I'm aware) get properly marked by a railtour of some description (even a unit to do the depot and connection to Guifões).
Day 6 was noted for the quantity of rain that fell whilst everyone was outdoors in the Buçaco Forest. Once back on the train naturally the rain stopped. 1413 did its bit along the Ramal da Figueira da Foz and back to Coimbra to mark off more lines as not required for loco haulage. Because of the excitement of day 4 people were offered the opportunity to travel back to Porto on the ECS. With single line working on a large stretch of the main line and my bags waiting for me in the hotel I had to regrettably pass up on the chance (since put right) as I had plans to be in Beja in time for the Comboio Azul rather than suffer a plastic Allan on dud track with the rest of the Group.
Day 7 and the final day of my pass from home and one last trip across the Tagus this time courtesy of Alentejo. I duly boarded the Blue Train headed by another of Alstom's finest for new track and a good blow out in the buffet, a final night's hotel in Coimbra and a dash back to Lisbon airport for the flight home reflecting on the good bits of the tour and the once in a lifetime (hopefully) experiences that came my way.
I'm starting to miss those trips to Évora.
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