~ Ferrocarriles de Mallorca ~
Newsletter November 2000

Discover Majorca's forgotten railways

Pictures may take a while to download but please have patience - I hope you'll think they are worth waiting for !!

There was no Newsletter for October due to a combination of lack of news and the failure of my scanner !! I have a lot of photos to scan yet and I think you'll like them a lot, once I can get them digitised. There is still no news of the opening of the Sa Pobla extension, which was due to happen in November but my supplier of all the backstreet news from Majorca, Nick (Old Poblero) Robey tells me local opinion is that it probably will not open until the next tourist season. This month I shall feature several photos sent to me by Edith and Rodney Knight, following their recent visit to the Island but first, an extract from the Majorca Daily Bulletin of November 5th :-

"Transport companies are threatening to boycott the new bus station in Calle Eusebio Estada, just behind the Plaza Espaa railway station. The Balearic ministry of public works and transport has completed the first stage of the bus station, but Rafael Llompart, spokesman for the transport companies which provide the services to outlying towns and villages, says that it lacks basic amenities. There is no ticket office, left luggage department or even awnings for protection against the heat or rain. But the worst defect of all, says Llompart, is that it is too small. The bus station will have a capacity for 28 vehicles, when the fleet is between 35 and 40. And when they were building the bus station, they should have taken into account the extra buses which are put on in summer, and in winter, when it rains, Llompart said. As the new bus station will not be big enough, the Balearic government and the Palma city council agreed to provide an area where buses not in service could be parked. This site has still not been chosen and the bus companies are not prepared to have drivers burn up diesel oil because there is no room for them in the bus station. Llompart went on to say we have written to the transport department saying that we are not prepared to move there until the bus station is properly equipped. If it is necessary to wait longer, then we will wait, to benefit users. The other problem is access. Calle Eusebio Estada is a one-way street and so driving in and out will be complicated. The situation is made even more difficult because of the Soller train, as the tracks run along Calle Eusebio Estada."


I wonder whether the area which you can see being cleared in some of the following pictures can possibly be the location for this proposed new bus station ? The road alongside is indeed Calle Eusebio Estada and such a use of this space would tie in with the content of this article and be a logical proximity to the railway stations on either side of the road.

The first of this series of photos of the new and old parts of the SFM station at Palma shows the remnants of the old FCM station yard, workshops and carriage shed with the new SFM trackwork in the foreground and the new footbridge overhead.

Distant view of the remnants of the old FCM station yard, workshops and carriage shed with the new SFM trackwork in the foreground and the new footbridge overhead.

A closer picture of the shell of the old FCM carriage shed. When I saw this in 1998 there were still the remnants of the 3ft gauge trackwork inside and there was originally a traverser. The building was gutted by fire several years ago and its future remains uncertain. Note the cleared area in the foreground and the wall around its perimeter, just in front of the old carriage shed. To see what this area looked like in 1998 look here. The bridge which you can see at the right-hand side of the picture below is the same as the one in the 1998 picture. You can find more pictures of this area here.

The shell of the old FCM carriage shed

More of Edith and Rodney Knight's pictures which need no further comments from me - thanks Edith and Rodney !!

These buildings are the old FCM workshops and are almost all that remains of what was once quite a large yard with carriage sheds, roundhouses (see newsletter_apr2000), mechanical carriage washer, etc., etc. The chimney which can just be seen between the two main buildings was for the forge

the chimney of the old FCM forge

View of the Palma SFM station platforms from the 'Inca' end

View of the Palma SFM station platforms from the 'Palma' end

The new main platform at Palma SFM station

The new Palma station concourse between two old FCM station buildings, the one on the left was the main station building prior to 1999

And now some pictures from Jonathan Beaumont (thanks Jonathan) - the first is a much wider view of the area to the left of that shown in the picture immediately above. Let your cursor hover over the picture for Jonathan's own comments on this and subsequent pictures.

JB11.jpg 	Palma
The original station building. The tracks and passenger platform were in the foreground until 1996, and have now been resited away to the right of the picture, behind the tree visible top right.

This next photo shows a much wider view of the area in the picture at the top of this newsletter, apparently taken from the pedestrian overbridge. It is amazing that such a huge amount of work could be done in such a short space of time - the trees look as if they've been there for years, there are banks of flowers and the trackwork was transformed beyond recognition yet in August 1998 there was absolutely no sign that anything of this kind was to happen. By October of the following year it had all been done. We think of the Spanish and particularly the Majorcans as slow and unhurried but can you imagine something like this being done so quickly in Britain ?

JB13.jpg 	Palma
New track layout at the city terminus. The old railcar shed still stands on the left, but behind the new railway boundary wall. On the right, a lush public park is sited where the goods yard was. In the distance, the original 9-road carriage works can be seen, now roofless and windowless. Behind the railcar shed, the entire site of the locomotive works and running sheds is now a building site.

Finally, a composite picture which I have "stitched" together from two of Jonathan's (no prizes for spotting the join !!), which wasn't easy as they had either been taken from slightly different angles or with slightly different focal lengths so the two images were not quite the same scale.

From the road overbridge at the north end of the station. The chimney and forge are the last remaining remnants of Palma Works and the running sheds have disappeared under the building site to the right The works have been re-located a mile or two outside the city on a new site. A 6100 class railcar slows down on arival at Palma. These cars now form the entire service, with all the old 1966 built stock having been withdrawn around 1996.


The latest news from the Majorca Daily Bulletin, dated 21st November:-

An extract from the Majorca Daily Bulletin (Internet Version) of 21st. November, 2000

I suspect somebody needs to do their percentages homework again but we'll be looking out for more information and will bring it to you as soon as we can !!  No sooner said than done, the month ended with the following extract:-

An extract from the Majorca Daily Bulletin (Internet Version) of 31st. November, 2000

The last line seems a bit curious but, given that the airport isn't all that far away from the Palma-Inca line, isn't impossible especially as there is such a large concentration of holiday resorts on the coastline near Manacor.

An update on the rant in the September Newsletter about Kodak. I'm pleased to be able to tell you photographers that the Kodak Photo CD service is still alive if not exactly kicking. You will have to be very persistent but it can still be obtained.

I've got lots more pictures from Jonathan Beaumont and quite a few from Peter Martin to scan but I'll save them for further newsletters so thats all for now - please keep the contributions of photos and news coming in. Keep your eyes on the Railway magazines as, hopefully, there will soon be an article on the Majorcan Railways by Richard Green, published by one of them and possibly another article by John Nutting in another. Whenever I discover which, when and where I will let you know. Finally, a request. Edith Knight, who has so kindly provided us with lots of old and new pictures of the Majorcan Railways, is mainly interested in Majorcan postal history and ephemera, particularly when it is railway-related. If you have anything of this nature which you no longer want, please let me know so that I can pass it on. Old postcards, letters, timetables, posters, etc., are the sort of thing she collects. I've seen part of the collection which made me quite green with envy and I'm looking forward to receiving some scans of early material which I think will fascinate anyone interested in the history of Majorca's Railways.

Brief descriptions of the contents of previous newsletters

Mike Kaben's Report

Books on Majorcan Railways

I have produced Galleries of Pictures of the Sller Railway and the Sller Tramway and these will appear as soon as we can complete the transfer of this website to another host with more space for all our pictures. Meanwhile an archive of my own Sller Railway photos can be found here.

Watch this page for future developments

Majorcan Railways Home Page

Majorcan Railways Photo Gallery Home Page

Watch this site for further developments which will take place whenever new information or pictures come to hand. Any submissions of information, photos old or new, postcards, 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.

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Barry Emmott November 2000