Old 10-17-2006, 11:09 AM   #1
WembYard
Senior Member
 
WembYard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Bedfordshire, UK
Posts: 646
Default Travel by train!

OK then, let me be honest - the main reason for this trip to Portugal was for a bit of what we call "haulage" in the UK. This can take many forms but is basically travelling behind different types of locomotives, preferably loud diesels and there are plenty of those in Portugal.
PTG Tours usually organise at least one tour each year using several different types of engine over two or three days, this was a three day tour covering a large area of the country and would hopefully bring good weather and lots of photographic opportunities.
The tour itself commenced on Thursday evening so those of the group who had flown out the previous day had a few spare hours before the start of the tour. I decided on a round trip from Lisbon to Guarda (Portugal's highest city), out via the main line and return via the scenic Beira Baixa line. Not much scope for photography as the service over here is sparse, but one opportunity did present itself at Covilhã when the cleaning ladies started on the locomotive cab after going through the interior of the coaches.

Image © Janet Cottrell
PhotoID: 161646
Photograph © Janet Cottrell


We caught up with the special at Entroncamento and went to Coimbra for our overnight stay. The following morning dawned bright and clear, enabling a nice shot of the coaches arriving for our special train past some of the basic, but interesting CP semaphore signals.

Image © Janet Cottrell
PhotoID: 161692
Photograph © Janet Cottrell


Day one was a trip down one of my favourite Portuguese lines, the Douro Valley - with the added attraction of (probably) the first ever visit of a 1931 class loco to Pocinho. There were a quite a few opportunities for pictures along the way but the weather had deteriorated so the results were not what had been hoped for. It even started raining on the return journey but it was still an enjoyable trip behind what has to be one of the loudest diesel engines in Europe (all the 1901 and 1931 class locos had their silencers removed some years ago due to reliability issues, and boy - are they LOUD)

The highlight of Saturday's trip was a run to Serpins, the only access to this line being via a little used street tramway which normally only sees one return working very early in the morning. For the rest of the day the trains terminate at Coimbra-Parque which is a short walk from the city centre.
There was another "first" today - that of a visit to Serpins of a Bombardier 1961 class on a passenger train. It might even have been the very first visit ever, though that would be hard to prove bearing in mind that detailed documentation of locomotive workings in Portugal were rather unknown even as recently as 15 to 20 years ago. These Canadian built locos date from 1979 and are CP's longest locos - UK railfans have given them the nickname of "dumper trucks" because that's just what they sound like.
After trundling down the street, the line rises quite steeply into the hills so a good noisy journey was had to the terminus where there was time to take some more photos.

Image © Janet Cottrell
PhotoID: 161647
Photograph © Janet Cottrell


Although we could have run round at the end, there was an English Electric built 1401 class on the rear of the train to work back. These engines are one of the main reasons why many UK railfans have an interest in Portugal, being based on the British Rail class 20

Image © Mark Bearton
PhotoID: 147542
Photograph © Mark Bearton


1461 had to work hard to drag the five coaches and dead Bombardier up the hill out of Serpins, a good performance from a relatively small engine. Once back at Coimbra-Parque we had to negotiate the section of street running again, this time against the flow of road traffic, so a police escort was required. If reasonably fit, it is possible to keep up with the train on foot and take pictures all the way down this section. However, fit I am definitely NOT - so after taking a couple of departing shots I gave up and made for the major road junction opposite the art deco "Hotel Astoria" where a further shot was managed courtesy of the train halting briefly to allow the road traffic to stop.

Leaving Coimbra, the train headed north - stopping briefly at Pampilhosa to drop the Bombardier loco off the rear. We then took the Ramal da Figueira da Foz which is still open despite many threats of closure.

Image © Janet Cottrell
PhotoID: 161648
Photograph © Janet Cottrell


We ran round at Figueira da Foz and headed for Lisbon with a stop at Valado where there was an option for a brief off-train excursion. Dinner was served on departure accompanied with copious amounts of local wine and noise from the loco on the front. A bonus photo opportunity cropped up at Torres Vedras between the main course and dessert when a bit of early running caused us to pause for a few minutes to wait for "right time".

Image © Janet Cottrell
PhotoID: 161649
Photograph © Janet Cottrell


The third and final day saw a change of power to an "old electric" which took us from Lisbon to Setil, by old I mean late 1950's / early 1960's vintage as opposed to the more modern types in normal use on passenger trains. These locos were built in two slightly different batches, 2556 was one of the second batch which mostly have stainless steel bodies.

Image © Janet Cottrell
PhotoID: 161693
Photograph © Janet Cottrell


By the way, bearing in mind the thread on another part of this forum, I should point out that walking across or along the tracks in Portugal is not generally an issue except in parts of Lisbon or Porto. It is not unusual to see a train arrive at a station and half the passengers walk off down or across the tracks to get to their destinations.
From Setil we had a change of loco to MLW built 1564 which would take us on a long circular tour back to Lisbon, including a run on the freight only line to the pyrites mine at Neves Corvo. It was not long before we stopped for another photo at the currently disused station at Coruche.

Image © Janet Cottrell
PhotoID: 161650
Photograph © Janet Cottrell


Many miles later we reached Neves Corvo, ran round, and returned to the junction station of Ourique for a break. This is one of the more remote areas of Portugal and there were fears of there being nothing there to while away the time, of course we were wrong - nearly every CP station has a bar on the platform or nearby and Ourique was no exception. There were three bars within a stones' throw of the station, the one we chose was basically an old guy's front parlour - the door behind the counter led directly into his house. It was a very hot day and the hundred or so passengers on the train must have consumed about a month's supply of beer, cold drinks and ice cream in the hour and a half we were there.
Upon leaving, we headed north towards Beja and back to Poceirão for our final locomotive of the trip. This was to be 1905, a no-heat "freight" version of the 1931 class, they look the same and are just as loud so it was a rousing finale to the three days.

Image © Janet Cottrell
PhotoID: 161651
Photograph © Janet Cottrell


A map of the CP system can be found Here

Last edited by WembYard; 10-17-2006 at 11:25 AM.
WembYard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2006, 12:52 PM   #2
dodi4200
Senior Member
 
dodi4200's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: kfs city, egypt
Posts: 742
Send a message via Yahoo to dodi4200
Default

Great report Janet.I think that its the first trip report for you in the forums.Im really enjoyed it and hope to read more nice reports like this one.Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work.
__________________
mohamed
bnsf-born 2 fight
big boy 4-8-8-4 ''best of the west''
(if you like an idea,thought alot in it and worked hard for it.you will get it)
click here 2 c my pix @ rp.net
dodi4200 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2006, 03:23 AM   #3
ccaranna
Senior Member
 
ccaranna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 740
Thumbs up

I agree, this is a great trip report. The more and more I think about it, and after I see great photos like these, the more I realize that I need to travel abroad.

Also, I'm impressed that the report was completed using all RP.net photos! This is usually quite a challenge to accomplish without having to link photos that didn't get accepted here from elsewhere. Nicely done!
ccaranna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2006, 04:11 AM   #4
WembYard
Senior Member
 
WembYard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Bedfordshire, UK
Posts: 646
Default

Thanks for the compliments. Finally got round to uploading the rest of the pictures HERE , just to prove that the sun didn't shine all the time over the four days.

There are also some nice lineside shots of the tour HERE and a report in Portuguese (try Alta Vista Babelfish or Google to translate)
WembYard is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:09 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.