Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is personal view of Spain and Spanish life as seen by a Briton living in a small village in Alicante province.
The other tabs link to similar blogs when I have lived in other places. The TIM magazine is an English language magazine I write articles for.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Choo choo

We've just had a bit of a holiday. You know the sort of thing where you drive hundreds of kilometres, 1617 in fact, stay in lots of hotels, wander from bar to bar and church to museum and put on weight in lots of restaurants. We were in Lerida, in Cataluña, and we wandered around the Valle de Arán up in the Pyrenees and we even spent fifteen minutes in France. On the way home, with the garbox on the Mini sounding like it was going to fall apart, we stopped off to see the place where the Ebro, the river with the second greatest volume of water after the Duero and the second longest after the Tajo, flows into the sea.

We were there principally to go on the Tren dels Llacs, the Train of the Lakes, but we didn't.

It went like this. I'd read somewhere about this train. It sounded a bit like the Settle Carlisle line. A line with lots of bridges and tunnels to cross difficult terrain for a train. There were pictures of old diesel locomotives, apparently often referred to as ye - yés, pulling old carriages. The dates when the historic train ran were few and far between but the 22 August was one of them. Maggie took the time off work and I rang to reserve the tickets. The special train was full but ordinary service trains run along the line every day so I bought the tickets from RENFE, the state railway, on one of the standard diesel multiple units and we had the basis for a holiday.

I presumed it was a train with history, you know the sort of thing, the train that hauled saltpetre or iron ore or something  but it seems to always have been a passenger train from the very limited information on the website. In fact the first part joining Lerida to Balaguer was opened in 1924 and it was extended to Pobla de Segur in 1951. It must have gone out of service for a while because there was a re-opening in 2007. Anyway when you are on it the 41 tunnels and the 31 bridges are just part of the route. The scenery was nice - running alongside rivers all the way with lots of green lakes and orangey brown cliffs but I can't say I was overawed.

It's one ticked off the list though. Caminito del Rey next.

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