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 David Grantham's railway

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David Grantham




PostSubject: Re: David Grantham's railway   Mon May 10, 2010 10:22 am

Yes Northern Spain and to say it is worth a visit is an understatement.

I usually take a railway based holiday here every couple of years and it is still reletaively inexpensive and has the worlds largest narrow gauge railway system in FEVE and ET.

Most holidays include arriving by Brittany Ferries in Santander and then by FEVE (ex SB) into Bilbao. Then the piece de resistence, 200 miles over the Cordillera Cantabrica on the narrow gauge ex FC La Robla, into the fabulous city of Leon and sometimes, when affordable, the San Marcos Parador.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/Bilbao_FEVE_Concordia.jpg

http://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/media/inline_hero/1/h/Parador-Hotel-San-Marcos-Leon.jpg

Once in Leon a day trip over Pajares is fairly easily arranged despite the scarsity of the cheaper Cercanias services. I think there are about 3 per day.

Providing you dont stay at the San Marcos one could have an 8 day trip, Santander, Bilbao, Leon. Oviedo and back to Santander including ferry, hotels and rail travel for about 450 per person.

If anyone wants any further info or advice on railway touring in Norther Spain I would be pleased to help.

David
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David Grantham



Location : Midlands, England

PostSubject: Re: David Grantham's railway   Mon May 10, 2010 10:47 am

I tried to find some pictures of the Pajares mainline over the mountains but perversely there are few decent ones.

The views are almost "unphotographable" as they are almost totally straight down below the train between 500 to a couple of thousand feet into the valley below. Additionally being in the cloud quite often restricts the photo opportunities.

If you do go it is advisable to include contingency days due to weather conditions over the pass.
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pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: David Grantham's railway   Mon May 10, 2010 5:52 pm

David Grantham wrote:

Couple of things Patrick, do you know

-when the Leon to Ovieda passenger service through the Pajares pass will be rerouted through the base tunnel. This just the most magnificent main line railway I have ever travelled on and must do it one more time before it closes. 50 miles of viaduct in the clouds with a 3,000ft shear drop over the side. Cercanias costs about 10 for the 80 miles.

- Do you know if there is any FEVE steam this summer on the line through Llanes or anywhere else for that matter outside of the museum at Azpeitia.


Tx David

Sorry David I havent a clue where I would find out. I did see that the Pajares tunnel is "scheduled" to be in service by the winter. If you get over here to do the trip I wouldn't mind joining you - Mrs has absolutley no interest in such things so I don't get to see much and because I cannot put a sentence together in Spanish it don't help much.

_________________
Wake me up by noon please.

Patrick
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David Grantham



Location : Midlands, England

PostSubject: Re: David Grantham's railway   Mon May 10, 2010 7:53 pm

Patrick,

I will make enquiries and let you know if I can get over in time for a Pajares trip.


Only Spanish sentence I know is

"Buenos dias senor, dos billetas a Oviedo y Leon ida y buelta Cercanias por favor"

They usually laugh heartily and give me the tickets.
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Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: David Grantham's railway   Mon May 10, 2010 7:55 pm

If you feel the urge to do that tour again later in the year David and/or Patrick and would like some company I might well take you up on it. Currently the family situation here is... difficult (my wife and I are separating and selling the house - or not as its seemingly impossible to sell a house in Britain these days). But when the dust has settled and I'm renting on my own I should have the cash to treat myself to a holiday.
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pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: David Grantham's railway   Mon May 10, 2010 9:55 pm

Sorry to hear of your problems Martin. Went through it myself 15 years ago.


Things get quite busy oop north in late July and most of August, it's when everyone in Spain takes their hols. Its also a bit more expensive to get here during this time. It can be pretty cheap (< 50) to fly from Stansted into Santander ( not withstanding volcano dust). I suppose anyone coming this way could use our place as a stopover or a base - we are 20 mins (east) from the airport and about an other 5 or 10 from the station, not a very lively place but relaxing and pretty.

_________________
Wake me up by noon please.

Patrick
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David Grantham



Location : Midlands, England

PostSubject: Re: David Grantham's railway   Tue May 11, 2010 9:26 am

Martin, sorry to hear about your seperation. Same here only 30 something years ago. With me I think it was/is something to do with wanting to concrete the whole of the rear garden but I am not sure. If I am able, diary wise, to make the trip I would most probably bring the current Mrs Grantham with me, but as she is a seasoned drinker and rail traveller hope that would be no problem.


Other options

Overnight Ferry from Portsmouth/Plymouth into Santander
FEVE Santander to Oviedo (Ex Cantabrico and Economicos Asturias)
RENFE Oviedo to Leon
5/6 days minimum at around 180 for ferry and rail transport only

or

St Pancras, Lille, Bordeaux, Hendaye, Bilbao, Santander, Oviedo, Leon, Bilbao, St Pancras
5/6 days minimum at around 250 for rail transport only

Prices are rough guesses not based on actual quotes. Sounds like flying would be quicker and cheaper but not as much fun as picking up all the CGT members on the train thru France.
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pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: David Grantham's railway   Tue May 11, 2010 10:06 am

This is beginning to sound like a plan. I need to start working on Mrs - she will have to dog sit.


There was me thinking we could use my car to save rental (a very big DOH).


David , do you have any links to get me started on webbing this tunnel/pass.



_________________
Wake me up by noon please.

Patrick
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David Grantham



Location : Midlands, England

PostSubject: Re: David Grantham's railway   Tue May 11, 2010 1:16 pm

Patrick, I have spent a while looking but not found anything yet. Will let you know if I do.
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pjti



Location : Galizano, nr Santander, Nth Spain

PostSubject: Re: David Grantham's railway   Wed May 12, 2010 4:02 pm

David Grantham wrote:


- Do you know if there is any FEVE steam this summer on the line through Llanes or anywhere else for that matter outside of the museum at Azpeitia.


Tx David

You might find this of interest Tourist train

mmmm - looking a bit closer it seems that it is not steam hauled for the entire route

edit AGAIN : it does get the old taste buds going though tasty trip

_________________
Wake me up by noon please.

Patrick
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David Grantham



Location : Midlands, England

PostSubject: Re: David Grantham's railway   Wed May 12, 2010 4:20 pm

Very interesting

I arrive in Barcelona on the Sunday night and leave the following Saturday. Missed it by one day, otherwise I could have made a w/e trip on the train. Always wanted to see a big garratt.

Tx
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