Discussion:
Northern Spain
(too old to reply)
Arthur Figgis
2005-05-01 09:43:05 UTC
Permalink
Does anyone have any recommendations for railway (and transport)
enthusiasts' "must see" highlights in northern Spain? The most scenic
lines, ancient (and new) rolling stock, unorthodox technologies,
steam, etc?

I'm off there in a couple of weeks. We've picked a country off the map
which we've not been to, and don't really know what's there. We think
we can do a fair chunk of the lines between France and A Coruna, with
careful planning.

We've got the Bilbao transporter bridge, metro, funicular and trams on
our list, but obviously the usual tourist guidebooks aren't
particularly strong on railways :-)
--
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK
Lorenzo
2005-05-01 14:32:33 UTC
Permalink
I'll try to give you some information in spite of my poor english. I'm so
sorry. But I know Spain rather well, especially the northern region.

From France border to El Ferrol (near Coruna), there is a narrow track
railway used by people living all the northern coast along. The company is
FEVE (Ferrocarriles Espanoles de Via Estrecha). It's a very slow train
because the line follows rivers, the coast, etc. It's modern and looks like
Paris tube. I like it because it is typical and many sightseeings are
lovely.

This company is the operator of the "Transcantabrico", a luxurious touristic
train that offers a one week journey between East and West ; it's a package
rather expansive all included (meals, suite, shows, all kinds of visits,
etc.) ; it looks like a small Orient Express...

I think you could get more information on the FEVE Internet site.

I hope these few indications will be helpfull for you, and I wish you a
pleasant journey in Spain.

Christian BERTE
Amiens, France
Post by Arthur Figgis
Does anyone have any recommendations for railway (and transport)
enthusiasts' "must see" highlights in northern Spain? The most scenic
lines, ancient (and new) rolling stock, unorthodox technologies,
steam, etc?
I'm off there in a couple of weeks. We've picked a country off the map
which we've not been to, and don't really know what's there. We think
we can do a fair chunk of the lines between France and A Coruna, with
careful planning.
We've got the Bilbao transporter bridge, metro, funicular and trams on
our list, but obviously the usual tourist guidebooks aren't
particularly strong on railways :-)
--
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK
Tadej Brezina
2005-05-01 16:00:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lorenzo
I'll try to give you some information in spite of my poor english. I'm so
sorry.
Don't know what are you affraid of. The best English from a french guy since
ages... :-)

Tadej
--
... aber auch bei Frauen hat das Großhirn tatsächlich eine Funktion ...
Selbst im wildestens Winterschlußverkaufrausch verstehen sie noch das Wort
"Kreditkartenlimit".
<David Kastrup in d.t.r>
U***@web.de
2019-12-02 11:39:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lorenzo
I'll try to give you some information in spite of my poor english. I'm so
sorry. But I know Spain rather well, especially the northern region.
From France border to El Ferrol (near Coruna), there is a narrow track
railway used by people living all the northern coast along. The company is
FEVE (Ferrocarriles Espanoles de Via Estrecha). It's a very slow train
because the line follows rivers, the coast, etc. It's modern and looks like
Paris tube. I like it because it is typical and many sightseeings are
lovely.
This company is the operator of the "Transcantabrico", a luxurious touristic
train that offers a one week journey between East and West ; it's a package
rather expansive all included (meals, suite, shows, all kinds of visits,
etc.) ; it looks like a small Orient Express...
I think you could get more information on the FEVE Internet site.
FEVE has been now transferred to RENFE, so they accept
Interrail passes. This does not include Euskotren
from Hendaye to Bilbao.

Regards, ULF

Lorenzo
2005-05-01 15:49:18 UTC
Permalink
More elements at :

http://www.maint.com/GreenSpain/

Christian BERTE
Post by Arthur Figgis
Does anyone have any recommendations for railway (and transport)
enthusiasts' "must see" highlights in northern Spain? The most scenic
lines, ancient (and new) rolling stock, unorthodox technologies,
steam, etc?
I'm off there in a couple of weeks. We've picked a country off the map
which we've not been to, and don't really know what's there. We think
we can do a fair chunk of the lines between France and A Coruna, with
careful planning.
We've got the Bilbao transporter bridge, metro, funicular and trams on
our list, but obviously the usual tourist guidebooks aren't
particularly strong on railways :-)
--
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK
Phil Richards
2005-05-01 18:16:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Arthur Figgis
Does anyone have any recommendations for railway (and transport)
enthusiasts' "must see" highlights in northern Spain? The most scenic
lines, ancient (and new) rolling stock, unorthodox technologies,
steam, etc?
If time permits a run from Hendaye right accross to Ferrol is well worth a
few days. Today's Railways recently published an excellent two part feature
on the narrow gauge systems of Northern Spain which is well worth looking
at.
--
Phil Richards
London, UK
Home Page: http://www.philrichards1.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk
Marratxi
2005-05-01 22:53:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Arthur Figgis
Does anyone have any recommendations for railway (and transport)
enthusiasts' "must see" highlights in northern Spain? The most scenic
lines, ancient (and new) rolling stock, unorthodox technologies,
steam, etc?
I'm off there in a couple of weeks. We've picked a country off the map
which we've not been to, and don't really know what's there. We think
we can do a fair chunk of the lines between France and A Coruna, with
careful planning.
We've got the Bilbao transporter bridge, metro, funicular and trams on
our list, but obviously the usual tourist guidebooks aren't
particularly strong on railways :-)
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK
There's a superb railway museum at a place called Azpeitia - see
http://www.railfaneurope.net/pix/es/museum/Azpeitia/pix.html and
http://www.euskotren.es/castellano/museo/
Its about halfway between Bilbao and Biarritz and amongst other railway
items has a Nasmyth Wilson tank loco which they use to give steam loco
driving instruction.
Cheerz,
Baz
Roderick Smith
2005-05-07 03:54:21 UTC
Permalink
It is all worth doing, but takes time.

Most of the quaintness has gone as the urban systems have been reshaped, but
the scenery and interesting buildings remain.

From east to west:

Hendaye - Donastia (former San Sebastian): just an ordinary emu now.

Donastia - Bilbao: still has nice scenery, particularly the coast at Deva.
The railway museum at Azpeitia is on the former ZZ, which junctioned at
Zumaya. IIRC, it has some operational track and isn't just static. You will
have to get there by bus.

Bilbao: A favourite city, but it is hard to link mentally the merged mg
systems with the separate ones from my earlier visits. A must: the
transporter bridge downstream over the river (Nervion?), accessible by
trains on either bank. The older equipment has gone on all routes (and at
least one route has gone).

Bilbao - Leon: Passenger service on La Robla has been restored.

Bilbao - Santander: The alternate route. Twice I found Santander to be the
least friendly FEVE station in Spain, and was stopped from photographing
trains, long after the rest of Spain didn't care. The twin stations (mg and
bg) are a beautiful matched pair.

Oviedo - Gijon: unbelievably complicated network, also reshaped. The former
sg to Lavinia was converted to mg years ago.

Gijon - El Ferrol: comparitavely recent and fast, with glimpses over
interesting fishing coves.

There is also a railway society with mainline preserved equipment based at
Monforte de Lemos (includes an English Electric loco and an Alco world
model). It has a website, but 'under construction' on my recent attempts to
access it.

Regrettably: Ponferrado - Villablino lost its steam and passenger service
over 20 years ago.

How to do it all?

Hendaye - Bilbao - Leon by mg, then bg to Monforte and El Ferrol, then
return via the coast on mg.

Bilbao: minimum 2 days

Oviedo - Gijon: minimum 3 days

Santander: 1 day

If time allows, taking the inland route from Bilbao would add to variety: bg
to Miranda d'Ebro, then bg to Donastia and Irun/Hendaye.

Buses run every half hour direct from Bilbao to Vittoria if you are trying
to save some time, and yet still do some inland running.

Regards,

Roderick B Smith

Rail News Victoria Editor
Post by Arthur Figgis
Does anyone have any recommendations for railway (and transport)
enthusiasts' "must see" highlights in northern Spain? The most scenic
lines, ancient (and new) rolling stock, unorthodox technologies,
steam, etc?
Arthur Figgis
2005-05-08 21:15:21 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 7 May 2005 13:54:21 +1000, "Roderick Smith"
Post by Roderick Smith
Bilbao - Santander: The alternate route. Twice I found Santander to be the
least friendly FEVE station in Spain, and was stopped from photographing
trains, long after the rest of Spain didn't care.
Is photography likely to be a problem? I've heard stories of problems
in Spain in the past, and we don't want a free trip to Cuba :-)
--
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK
Roderick Smith
2005-05-08 22:46:13 UTC
Permalink
1970s: approval required, but not needed. The armed guards everywhere were
to help to tourists, not hinder them.
1980s & 90s: no problems anywhere (except Santander FEVE).
2000s: I don't know if the Madrid bombing has made Spain go like USA or not.
Spain has the reputation of being a country in which you would not want to
have a collision in a hired car, but again, that could be years ago. Why
hire a car, when you can travel by train?

IIRC, three of the four Douro mg branches in Portugal remain (although
shortened since the 1970s & 80s), and the Sernada do Vouga mg can still be
traversed in full once per day each way, with more services at each end.
If Spain annoys (and it probably won't), keep going to Portugal.

Regards,
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

"Arthur Figgis" <postmaster@[127.0.0.1]> wrote in message > Is photography
likely to be a problem? I've heard stories of problems
Post by Arthur Figgis
in Spain in the past, and we don't want a free trip to Cuba :-)
A.C.P.Crawshaw
2005-05-09 10:22:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Arthur Figgis
Is photography likely to be a problem? I've heard stories of problems
in Spain in the past, and we don't want a free trip to Cuba :-)
I was politely told by "security" that photography is not permitted on
Valladolid station last month.

Alan
Mike Roebuck
2005-05-09 14:26:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by A.C.P.Crawshaw
Post by Arthur Figgis
Is photography likely to be a problem? I've heard stories of
problems
Post by A.C.P.Crawshaw
Post by Arthur Figgis
in Spain in the past, and we don't want a free trip to Cuba :-)
I was politely told by "security" that photography is not permitted on
Valladolid station last month.
And I was prevented from filming on Bobadilla station, Andalucia, on
one occasion in the mid-1990's. I solved it by filming from the car, at
the lineside, some distance away from the station.
--
Regards

Mike
Arthur Figgis
2005-05-25 21:39:44 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 01 May 2005 10:43:05 +0100, Arthur Figgis
Post by Arthur Figgis
Does anyone have any recommendations for railway (and transport)
enthusiasts' "must see" highlights in northern Spain?
We're back. We went on the metre gauge lines between Hendaye and
Ferrol, but in a round-about sort of way, out via Donostia and Bilbo
to Leon and then RENFE to Santiago and A Coruna, then back along the
coast to Bilbao before going inland again.

Bilbao - Leon is a long afternoon's ride, but very scenic and well
worth doing. Anyone know why this line still exists? Does it carry
freight anyway, so the marginal cost of a passenger service is low?
The FEVE DMUs with 2+1 seats used on the seriously long runs are
pretty good, but ones with 2+2 seats are less than ideal for long
trips.

Viveiro has a small halt on the Ovideo-side of the main station which
is closer to the old town centre than the main station - the FEVE
ticket seller at Ferrol helpfully pointed this out (does Ferrol really
need separate RENFE and FEVE ticket offices, given the lack of
trains?).

The Asturias railway museum in Gijon is worth a look, with lots of
narrow gauge locos and stock, and even some 1435mm gauge stuff. If
like me your Spanish runs to a forgotten GCSE grade E(!), it is worth
paying EUR1.50 for the English-language audio tour. There is also a
plinthed steam engine at Bilbao RENFE station, looking like a
Metropolitan Railway loco (at least when seen from a distance in the
rain at night).

The EuskoTren EMUs used between Donostia and Bilbao are more like
trams than trains, a long ride on low-backed seats with no on-board
facilities. The recorded music is different, but I hope it doesn't
catch on here!

We failed to buy Oviedo - Leon return tickets; either they wouldn't
sell them because a 20 min turnround was too short, or they couldn't
understand why we would just go "for the ride". Multi-lingual ticket
machines are handy, but not yet perfect, translating "welcome to X"
while leaving "single", "return" "valid 1 calendar day/24hrs" etc in
the local language. Still, a British one would be monolingual.

For the record, EuskoTren seemed happy with us taking photos, but a
FEVE chap at Bilbao got rather over-excited and came running and
shouting at us (maybe bin Laden/nationalists/whoever they are scared
of, has an eye on the little steam loco between the tracks). FEVE had
no problems at Leon, and the crew told us we could get off to take
pictures at the passing point on the way from Bilbao. But FEVE at
Santander weren't happy with photos. RENFE told us to stop taking pics
at Leon, but elsewhere ignored us. We saw a number of people
photographing from the lineside. Interestingly, people were happily
leaving baggage unattended, in a way that could cause chaos in the UK!
--
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK
Vladislav
2005-06-08 17:27:13 UTC
Permalink
Hi all,

Thank you for information given here. I am going to visit the places
discussed here and I have some question on this route due my willingnes
to go further to Portugal. I will visit this part only one way, and I
will retirn by Lisbon and Madrid.Thus, I would like to vist all places
worth of visit by going westwards only. At the same time I would like
to visit Leon and maybe Burgos, and I would like chose the route to
take the most scinery parts of the railways.

Can anybody tell me which parts of the railway worth of visit on its
own:
Iru - Donostia,
Donostia -Bilbao,
Bilbao - Santander,
Santander - Gijon or Oviedo
Gijon or Oviedo - El Ferol
Bilbao -Leon (by FEVE)
Leon - Gijon?

Does the railway Bilbao - Leon (FEVE) crosses Santander - Palanke
(RENFE) in the way, that one can change trains?

Is there anything to see in El Ferol and La Coruna?

Sincerely,

Vladislav
Arthur Figgis
2005-06-08 18:51:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vladislav
Can anybody tell me which parts of the railway worth of visit on its
Iru - Donostia,
A bit non-descript. Go for the fastest option.
Post by Vladislav
Donostia -Bilbao,
I found this a slightly tedious journey, but that was mainly because
the trains are more like trams and they stop every few minutes. It's
as good a way as any of getting there though.
Post by Vladislav
Bilbao - Santander,
Santander - Gijon or Oviedo
The views of the Picos de Europa were good.
Post by Vladislav
Gijon or Oviedo - El Ferol
Worth doing.
Post by Vladislav
Bilbao -Leon (by FEVE)
Well worth doing.
Post by Vladislav
Leon - Gijon?
I didn't do that bit, but I'm told it is good.

I know this won't help, but they are all worth doing. I particuarly
liked Bilbao - Leon.
Post by Vladislav
Does the railway Bilbao - Leon (FEVE) crosses Santander - Palanke
(RENFE) in the way, that one can change trains?
IIRC the stations seemed close, as the railways run parallel. Whether
there are any useful trains, I don't know.
Post by Vladislav
Is there anything to see in El Ferol and La Coruna?
Because the train times, we didn't go futher than the station
forecourt in Ferol (the guidebooks we had suggested there isn't much
there, but how acurate that is, I don't know).

A Coruna is worth an overnight stop. It has a heritage tramway, which
wasn't open when we went, but it looked like it would link the main
tourist sights (fortress, lighthouse, etc). Be warned that the Renfe
station is a ~20-min trek from the old town.

As a city, Santiago dC is a great place to stop off (unless you hate
tourists!).
--
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK
Vladislav
2005-06-09 08:49:42 UTC
Permalink
Hi, Arthur,

Thank you for the information.I will take it in account while planning
the trip.

Thus, I think that I would go Donostia - Bilbao - Leon- Gijon or Oviedo
- El Ferol .

The missing links are
Post by Arthur Figgis
Post by Vladislav
Bilbao - Santander,
Santander - Gijon or Oviedo
The views of the Picos de Europa were good.
Now I am thinking to take Gijon/Oviedo-Santander-Gijon/Oviedo to visit
Santander and to visit the parc of the Picos of Europa. Could you let
me now whether I lose a lot without taking the railway link Santander -
Bilbao supposing that I visit both Bilbao and Santander.

And could you tell me whether Santander worths a visit. As a possible
solution a go Gijon/Oviedo-Llanes (visit parc from here)-Gijon/Oviedo.
Is the railway Llanes - Santander interesting on its own or not?

Vlad
Arthur Figgis
2005-06-10 17:09:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vladislav
Hi, Arthur,
Thank you for the information.I will take it in account while planning
the trip.
Thus, I think that I would go Donostia - Bilbao - Leon- Gijon or Oviedo
- El Ferol .
The missing links are
Post by Arthur Figgis
Post by Vladislav
Bilbao - Santander,
Santander - Gijon or Oviedo
The views of the Picos de Europa were good.
Now I am thinking to take Gijon/Oviedo-Santander-Gijon/Oviedo to visit
Santander and to visit the parc of the Picos of Europa.
The railway doesn't go into the area, just past it, so I assume you'd
need to get a bus or something.

Could you let
Post by Vladislav
me now whether I lose a lot without taking the railway link Santander -
Bilbao supposing that I visit both Bilbao and Santander.
If you have to miss some bits, missing that does no harm. It is partly
shared with Bilbao - Leon anyway.
Post by Vladislav
And could you tell me whether Santander worths a visit.
It's alright, but nothing particularly special - no Leon Catherdral,
Bilbao art gallery (and transporter bridge), Donostia general
niceness.
Post by Vladislav
As a possible
solution a go Gijon/Oviedo-Llanes (visit parc from here)-Gijon/Oviedo.
Is the railway Llanes - Santander interesting on its own or not?
It all starts to blue into one after a while :-)
--
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK
Vladislav
2005-06-10 20:08:17 UTC
Permalink
Thank you. It is now more or less clear for me with the railway.
Unfortunately the guides do not pay a lot of attention to railways
which my may be fantastic. I have seen three picturesque railways in
France, which are exceptionally wonderfull (Breil-sur-Roya -- Tende,
St.Gervais-Les Bain - Chamonix - Chatoillard, and Corte - Calvi on
Corse) and merit a voyage on its own. I asked you these details, not
to miss the best ones. I hope that the railway links will be as
fascinating, as those as I saw. If everything goes well I will put a
breif description here in August.
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