Newsletter - June 2006

In recent weeks I have had a lot of new photos of the continuing works at Palma, where the railway tunnelling is nearing completion. It looks as if the whole area of the park, which was constructed as recently as 1999, on the original railway yards of the FCM/SFM/TIB has been dug out to a considerable depth and then roofed over. The area involved must be enormous and, in my own opinion, far larger than required even for the Majorcan Government's grandiose scheme for an inter-modal exchange module/station. I suspect a new, even bigger, underground carpark will be the explanation. My thanks to Colin Martin for these photos (which should be viewed in conjunction with those from Rodney and Edith Knight in the April 2006 Newsletter ) and for those which appear further down the page, showing tunneling work for the UIB Metro at Son Fuster, the new station at Manacor and a new bridge carrying the Sóller tramway over the Torrent Major at Puerto de Sóller. I have a lot more of Colin's photos, which are excellent, but just haven't the space on my server (again !!). Colin's main interest in Majorca's transport is in fact in the island's bus and coach operators - he would very much like to make contact with others with knowledge of, or an interest in, that subject. Please let me know and I'll pass on your messages to Colin.

The last two photos show what a good job has been made of transforming the original outline and image of the ex-Lisbon tramcars, which you can see lower down this page, into one more typical of the Sóller Railway.

Soon after receiving Colin's photos I was on my way to Majorca but only for a brief stay. Although I took a number of photos around Palma and between Palma and Marratxi, none were anywhere near as good as Colin's.
I was expecting to see a tunnel being constructed under the Sóller Railway and the Palma-Sóller road and I'm sure I did see it but I also saw a bridge being built over them, a little further down towards Sóller and I just don't know which is for the Metro. The amount of ground being levelled out around and beyond Son Sardina station looks to be enough for an enormous amount of railway building and I'd just love to know exactly what is planned. From the Sóller train you can see where the Metro line will emerge from its tunnel and curve round to parallel the existing line. Here is my sequence of photos, taken from the rear balcony of the Sóller train - let your cursor hover over a picture for a brief description.

A few years ago I reported that the Repic loop had been re-instated on the Sóller Tramway and now it is being used. With the construction of a new road tunnel around the back of Puerto de Sóller, the area where tour coaches were parked whilst the tourists went on their boat trips to Sa Calobra is currently being used for the constructors equipment and a multi-storey carpark is also being built. There is now a temporary coach park, off the main road, just before it enters Puerto de Sóller. The coaches park there and the tourists walk to a new platform from which they are picked up by a special 4-car consist which comprises two of the bogie tram trailers, topped and tailed by ex-Lisbon tramcars, which takes them down to the port to meet their boat. This consist is otherwise parked in the Repic loop.


STOP PRESS - 14th August

Richard Pierce has pointed out to me that the ex Lisbon trams and the trailers which make up this special consist have been turned through 180º so that their access is now from the "seaward" side whereas the regular service has the entrances on the "landward" side. You can see this quite clearly in the photos above. The purpose will have been to ensure that transfers from coach to tram and vice versa do not need to involve the crossing of any tramlines with nasty sleepers, etc. Health and Safety Rules ?

© Majorca Daily Bulletin, Tuesday,9 May, 2006, Edition #1964
New service inaugurated
YESTERDAY, with a trip from Son Servera to Manacor, the Balearic Minister for Public Works, Housing and Transport, Mabel Cabrer, opened the new bus and train service connecting different localities around Manacor with the train station via a bus service. The Balearic Government will invest 763'719 euros annually in the three routes which, from yesterday, link the towns of Sant Llorenc, Arta, Capdepera, Cala Rajada, Son Servera, Cala Millor, Cala Bona, Porto Cristo, S'Illot and Sa Coma with the train station in Manacor via a bus service. According to the Ministry, the service will run 16 times on each of the routes from Monday to Friday and 12 times on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. As the maximum time for completing any of the three routes is 55 minutes, it is guaranteed to connect with the Manacor-Palma train service every two hours. To provide these services the company which holds the concession, Autocares Manacor, has bought three new vehicles, adapted for wheelchair access, two with 37 seats each and a third with 55 seats. Afterwards, Cabrer also opened the exhibition hall on the first floor of Manacor station, dedicated to the railways on Majorca.
The public company Majorcan Railway Services (SFM) has invested 22'321 euros in refurbishing the hall.
The contents of the exhibition hall have been contributed by the Association of Friends of the Balearic Railways.

© Majorca Daily Bulletin, Friday 5th May 2006 #1961
Underground railway goes further afield
INCA and Manacor Town Councils have discovered that it sometimes pays to be persistent. After lobbying hard, they have finally got the Balearic government to foot the bill for running the railway system underground in their respective towns. Although the projects, costing a total of 77.4 million euros, were not initially included in the government's regional transport programme, the councils have succeeded in persuading the Islands' ministry for Public Works and Transport to take the financing on board. Before celebrations can begin, however, it remains for local government to barter with their central counterparts in Madrid, and hammer out an agreement for railway network funding for the Islands. To date, progress in securing support from central government Economy minister, Pedro Solbes, has proved hard going. The long term transport plan currently in place in the Balearics has a life span of eight years and will be in force until 2012. In both Inca and Manacor, the structural schemes will prove complicated and be the source of much political infighting. Already in Inca, the Majorcan Railway company has carried out a tunnelling project under the track to replace a surface level crossing.

© Majorca Daily Bulletin, Thursday 1st June 2006 #1981
Matas, Cabrer and Cirer inspect train works
THE main railway line in Palma was yesterday linked up with the new metro link which is being built at the moment with the demolition of the wall separating the two. This is part of the underground and improvement work being done on the railways by the Balearic Government.
The leader of the Balearic Government, Jaume Matas, was present at the demolition of the wall, accompanied by the Balearic Minister of Public Works, Mabel Cabrer, and the Mayor of Palma, Catalina Cirer. They walked through the tunnel from the site of the future Jacinto Verdaguer station to where the Son Oliva station will be built, where the demolition of the wall took place. In a declaration to the press, Cabrer said that trains will be running through the tunnel from September, but the underground works, which include the refurbishment of the Calle Jacinto Verdaguer, will not be finished until February 2007.

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
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.

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.