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Rail replacement, Portuguese style

13 May

Comboio da CP /|\ Train at Faro Railway

Back from a minor jaunt to the Algarve. Alas, my Portuguese language is woeful, but thankfully the natives were able to help me buy train tickets in English. Must do better. However, at least taking the train along the coast from Faro to Lagos helps you feel a bit more involved as opposed to being segregated off in a hire car.

A scenic ride, although marred by the ugly outbreak of graffiti all the way along the line – on trains, windows, stations, platforms, everywhere. Makes you wonder how the “artistes” can afford to spend so much money on paint. The local trains look a bit American from the outside, with ribbed stainless steel bodies. Step inside, and the interiors are seventies British Rail commuter-land-esque, with transverse luggage racks and facing rows of benches in 3+2 formation. The thrumming engine noise is distinctly like the mid-aged Sprinters that abound in the north of England.

Even more like the British experience, there was engineering work on the line on the Saturday we headed home. I was a little worried about the possibility of missing the flight – but in the end I need not have worried. The train departed (a wet) Lagos on time, and headed straight for Portimão. We alighted the train, headed out of the station exit and straight onto a waiting coach. This then called at the two intermediate stations before arriving at Silves – where a train was waiting in the platform. Everyone aboard, time to go. Arrival ten minutes behind schedule in Faro, but no biggie considering. If only Network Rail could be this slick.