~ Ferrocarriles de Mallorca ~
Bulletins - Autumn 2006

June 18th 2006

I just realised that it was nearly six months since my last newsletter but nothing major has happened on the railways of Majorca during that time. The new Metro is still under construction and the TIB trains now run from an underground station at Jacint Verdaguer in Palma. There has been local anger at the disturbance to the area and the amount of dust in the tunnel and the row over the demolition of the Gaspar Benassar bridge continues, with the authorities now saying they'll rebuild it (some hopes !!)

Anyway, I thought I'd throw together a compilation of some of the emails I have sent out to my regular contacts so you can see what you're missing !!



June 18th 2006

I got back from Majorca on Thursday and I'm preparing a newsletter with some excellent photos I already had from Colin Martin plus a few of my own. Unfortunately it's taking longer than I had hoped. At Puerto de Sóller I found one end of the naval (Todo por la Patria) building still standing on the Monday morning but by late afternoon it had been knocked down and just two days later all the rubble had been used to fill in the new jetty. I had expected to find much of the road along the seafront in an advanced state of pedestrianisation but nothing has been done apart from a new bridge to carry the tramline over the torrent/river which empties into the sea to the west of the Marisol building. You may remember the Restaurant d'es Peix which was over the fishermens' sheds and which was demolished a few months ago. A few tables and chairs plus a parking bay have taken its place - an improvement ? I get the distinct feeling, after talking to one or two ex-pats, that the local community is beginning to realise that a hell of a lot of money is being spent and only the boat-owners are benefitting.















July 12th 2006 "Tunneling" at Palma is almost complete, although to be accurate what they have done is really mostly "cut and cover" rather than real tunneling. Nevertheless they have done quite a job and Toni Sanchis has very kindly (thanks, Toni) given me a link to a site with photos of the interior of the tunnel.
If you click here it will take you straight there. Another link which Toni gave me has information about the goings-on on the Ferrocarril de Sóller but you'll need Spanish and Catalan to understand the page completely (?). Try here for an online translation service.

My own most recent (June 2006) experience of the Sóller Railway was one of surprise because they are supposed to have renewed the track through Tunel Major but I found the ride through the tunnel to be extremely rough !! During my visit last month I took the TIB train out from Palma to Marratxi, hoping to at least catch a glimpse of the steam loco which the members of Compañía de Ferrocarriles a Vapor de Mallorca are restoring but no such luck, although I did spot the old yellow coach of the Vias y Obras at the TIB depot. At Marratxi there are three platforms, the main through platforms and an island platform. They are numbered 1, 2 & 4 but there was no platform 3 - bloody vandals will nick anything !!



September 15th 2006 At Sóller station, this is the switch to change the line voltage from 600volts (for trams) to 1200volts for trains. This is needed so that trams can be driven around the train yard for servicing, etc.



Tyres R Us at Sóller station - they're not going to run short of wheels.



This picture, taken inside the TIB bus station building at Palma, seems to be of the lady despatcher. The screen on the left shows images from cameras mounted on stations, etc., the centre screen is showing the the timetable and the one on the right shows block-diagrams of the track.



The carriage sheds at the Palma station of the Sóller Railway have been converted into an art gallery but several weeks after completion of the work it remains shut.


As you know, I keep an eye on the online newspapers and websites of Majorca and found the following in Diari de Balears:-

The train will arrive buried in Palma from Monday, but more driven away from the center
In|To the image, the new buried season|station. Photo: M.À.CANYELLES.
The provisional season|station in Palma of the train of Inca and Manacor a little will still be driven away from Monday more of the post|square of Spain for die of the works of burial of the train line and of the construction of the intermodal season|station down|downward of the new Park of the Seasons|Stations. Monday it will be opened like this a provisional season|station buried in the street of Jacint Verdaguer, at the height of the street Balmes, that in the future will be part of the underground line, now also under construction.

Now for my little section (i.e. rant) on the "goings-on" at Puerto de Sóller. For quite some time now a tunnel has been under construction to take heavy traffic around the back of the resort, enabling pedestrianisation of the seafront. To do this, rather than go around the back of a fairly small but high hill, they have tunneled through it (the one on the right of the picture) but that didn't take the road far enough so they had to tunnel through another, much smaller, hill which would be on the left of the picture. They love tunnels so much that they have constructed a false tunnel between the two real tunnels and you can see this at the back of the buildings.


The emblematic (?) naval building on the jetty at Puerto de Sóller


was demolished earlier this year, despite considerable opposition and the opinion of an ex-pat architect who specialises in converting old buildings that it could easily be con- verted internally without altering that memorable exterior. The motto which the building bore was, you may recall, "TODO POR LA PATRIA". Perhaps the building had to go because this motto was not in the fashionable Mallorquin language. Anyway, here's the only place you'll see that motto now, on an outbuilding (khazi ?) of the Restaurante Mar Y Sol, which was the original terminus building for the tramway


A large part of the naval base was turned over to the local government/people of Sóller and the local government wants the rest of the base to be made available to the people. Strange, then, that I should find a sign like this on the newly liberated jetty !!


TODO POR LA PATRIA - who's kidding who ?

Finally, something or rather somebody spotted in the Plaza Major in Palma. This guy was absolutely terrific.





October 7th 2006
I am indebted to Mallorcatren.com for this information which they gleaned from the Majorcan newspaper Diario de Mallorca and which I have subsequently had translated by Translendium.

Criticisms|Critiques generalized against the station The opening of the underground station of Jacint Verdaguer has provoked an avalanche of criticisms|critiques on the part of the opposition camps and of some trade unions, when considering that these facilities do not comply with the minimum requirements for its|his|her|their entry in functioning|operation. From the PSOE it has been been specially critical with the absence of limits of safety|security at the end of the way and the use of crosspieces piled up as measured to guarantee the arrest|stop of the train, but also special emphasis on the excess of noise and smoke, the smell of gas oil or the remarkable deficiencies on the subject of information to the users have been done.

It is also noted by the need to look for a technician that the origin of the bad smells of the area of wardrobes, of starting off a study on the exhibition|exposure of the workers at high noise levels, and of increasing the sensitivity of the detectors of carbon monoxide and azote monoxide, determines that they work in the station with the aim of increasing the safety|security of the people.




The town council of Palma and Serveis Ferroviaris of Mallorca are negotiating the redistribution of estates|properties of the Parc of he Estacions as consequence of the execution of the intermodal station buried in the train enclosure.

Even though they have not concluded the negotiations yet, in general lines it is known that the town council will hand the management of the subsoil of the park over to Serveis Ferroviaris. Consequently, the exploitation of the stations buried of the meter|subway to the Universitat, that of the train of Inca and the intermodal one, as well as the commercial area situated in an intermediate level and the underground parking lot with a capacity for 400 vehicles, will be up to Serveis Ferroviaris. In exchange, the Town Council will inscribe as grounds|lands of municipal estate|property another 18.000 square meters that still appear as of train equipment and that were not yielded to Cort when the first Parc was executed of he Estacions. This surface will pass to enlarge the 36.000 square meters that were already of municipal estate|property.

Likewise, all the train buildings that were saved from the demolition when the previous Parc was executed of he Estacions will pass to be of municipal estate|property, except the one situated beside the demolished Pont del Tren, that occupies still the station of buses.

The rest of buildings, once the one that occupies the station Términus has been included, will pass to be of municipal estate|property. In these moments the Town Council only arranged in estate|property one one of the three situated properties beside the post|square of Spain, in the one that have been installed the office of Tourism, a unit|unity of Serveis Socials and the office of European Citizens.

The building used previously as station of the train, will also now in works pass at the hands of the Town Council, every time which the initial proposal of the access to the buried station being carried out through the interior of this property has been discarded. In the corner among the avenues and Marquès de la Fontsanta a new building of volumetric characteristics similar to the three existing had to get up. However, when the project of the new park presented by the architect Juan González de Chaves was modified was suppressed, as the big pergola of iron and crystal|glass that had to cover the first section|stretch of the park, to the one that was named Post|Square of the Station. In the current project the building has been replaced by another one of more reduced dimensions, that will do the function of kiosk and he|she|it will situate itself|himself|herself beside one of the three areas of infantile games|sets projected in the park. Finally, the building named of the steam engine, which keeps still an old chimney, will also be yielded the Town Council. Although the possibility to convert it|him into sociocultural center has been posed|considered, its|his|her|their final destination|fate yet is not defined.

Just to remind you what the surface area looked like after the first remodelling, the Parc des Estacions looked like this:-



A lot of work and money went into that park, only to be completely destroyed within seven years !!



October 11th 2006
I have just discovered from Toni Sanchis that the bogies seen by several of us at Bunyola


were not, after all, those of the "Cocodrillo" but actually belong to the old Ferrotrade Bo-Bo diesel loco which was given (?) to AAFB/SFM/TIB for renovation and alteration to metre-gauge because it was just too heavy and damaging for the tracks of the Sóller Railway. Here it is at Bunyola, only a few feet away from where the bogies lie now but this picture was taken almost SEVEN YEARS AGO !!!


Those of us who know anything about the mechanics of railway locos should have realised that electric locos don't normally have drive shafts but who could blame us after seeing sights like this nearly a year ago.



The body of the Ferrotrade loco is undergoing renovation by AAFB at Sineu and these bogies are supposed to be going to the premises of CAF (the builders of the diesel multiple-units which operate on the Palma-Inca lines and of the new Metro stock) at Beasain in the Basque area of northern Spain for re-gauging. How they have ended up at Bunyola seems to be a matter of dispute. The bogies of the "Cocodrillo" which, curiously, was originally obtained from the Basque area are still at Sóller where several of us have seen and photographed them over the last few years.



For the latest news and pictures of the work on the University Metro line have a look at the MallorcaTren page here
Thanks to Toni Sanchis for the information and to those who supplied the photos,



October 16th 2006
Thanks to Tony Crossley for this. The Sóller Railway will be closed for (presumably) track renewal between 11th December 2006 and 31st January 2007 inclusive. With any luck this time the track inside Tunel Major will be smoothed out.







25th October, 2006
A few months ago I found some old pictures on an internet site concerning the protests about the demolition of the old Gaspar Benassar bridge over the railway at Palma and I forgot whereabouts on my computer I had saved them. Now I've found them and there is just this one which I'm sure many of you will be very interested to see. You can find the relevant website here go to page 13 (of 29) of their photos.




© Majorca Daily Bulletin - Thursday, 26 October, 2006. Edition #2090

Train passengers are forced to sit in the dark without ventilation
PASSENGERS travelling from the underground station in Calle Jacint Verdaguer (behind Plaza España) are having to wait in their train for it to leave the station sitting in the dark and with no ventilation. After the serious problems caused in the station by the accumulation of smoke since it was opened just over a month ago, the train drivers will now have to shut their engines off as they enter the station and keep them off until they leave the station. This situation has caused complaints from the users of the station, who suffer the indignity of having to sit in the dark without any ventilation during their wait for the train to leave (sometimes more than 15 minutes). Although the Balearic Ministry for Public Works, Transport and Housing explained, from the first day, that the accumulation of smoke, smells, heat and noise did not originate from the diesel engined trains inside the underground station but from the underground works near the station which are still in progress, the situation, which has been going on for 35 days now, has forced them to adopt measures such as making the drivers switch off their engines while they are in the station. The socialist spokesman Antoni Dieguez has severely criticised the Ministry in the Balearic Parliament over the “lack of security” and “bad smells and toxic smoke” which the “unfinished” Jacint Verdaguer station is suffering. But Minister Mabel Cabrer defended the station and claimed that during the station's 35 days in operation, more than 270'000 passengers have passed through the station “and we have only received eight complaints”.




STOP PRESS - 23rd November 2006

I found this item on the Mallorcatren.com website and got a translation by Translendium

The 23rd of November 2006
The Train of Sóller will not have a valid excuse any longer.
Fountain|Source: Writing. mallorcatren.com
The Majorcan company of the Railroad of Sóller, will not have a valid excuse any longer to keep retaining part of the diesel locomotive, which in an improper way appropriated the factory of trains in Beasain where the Association of Friends of the Railroad of Balearics had sent for the accomplishment of a series of modifications in its|his|her|their bogies. The Train of Sóller, under the pretext that in its|his|her|their new plan of emergencies needed a machine of help, wanted to start off the veteran diesel machine estate|property of this association, and that it|she was recovered years behind of the abandonment and scraps or else on sale to a particular|private collector to the one that was stationed as it|he|she happened with the hopper truck and the selfmotor truck. Now, with the acquisition on the part of the company Majorcan of the new bitraffic machine that presented itself|herself last day deprived of trains the 22nd of November, in the face of the media as vehicle of help in the face of an electrical failure, will not have excuse any longer to return part of the diesel machine to the association.





A video of the Sóller Railway is still being transmitted from time to time on the Travel Channel on Sky. It is an extremely good 45 minute program with a great deal of information given in the commentary. A DVD of the program plus a driver's cabview of the line is available at
http://www.travelchannel.co.uk/ontv/programmeAtoZ/soller_railway.htm
I've already got mine !! Second person in the list of acknowledgements was Miguel Galmés Schwarz who was, until recently, Director of the Sóller Railway.The new Director is Miquel Socías. I wish him the very best in his new job and I hope we will be able to establish the same good relations that we had with his predecessor.
Apologies for repeating this information but hopefully it will be helpful to anybody finding this newsletter for the first time.

Click here to order the DVD



If anyone out there is not already on my "mailing list" and would like to be included, please let me know - there is a clickable link further down the page. Thanks again to my contributors and supporters, any comments on the contents will always be much appreciated.




Brief descriptions of the contents of previous newsletters

Mike Kaben's superb illustrated report

Books on Majorcan Railways (Revised September 2004)

A Thumbnail Gallery of my early Pictures of the Sóller Railway and Tramway is now available by clicking here.

Majorca Railways Home Page

Majorca Railways Photo Gallery

Mallorcatren - great source of information in Mallorquin/Spanish

Club Vaporista CFVM



Click here to go to the website of the Associación de Amigos del Ferrocarril de Baleares






Watch this site for further developments which will take place whenever new information or pictures come to hand. Any submissions or contributions of information, photos old or new, postcards, books etc., will be very gratefully and enthusiastically received and if used on the site will be suitably acknowledged (as above). The photos, pictures and diagrams used on this site are presented for your information and viewing pleasure only. If any of them should be in copyright violation and the copyright holder would care to notify me I will either remove them or acknowledge the copyright accordingly.




© Barry Emmott - 28th November 2006