Posts Tagged ‘trains’

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Quick visit to Faro 29th January

In Algarve,Portugal,Sports - football,Sports - football, soccer on January 30, 2019 by cubsur51 Tagged: , , ,

Took the short trip to Faro yesterday to watch football. In the Second Division here midweek matches are normally played during the afternoon rather than at night as clubs cannot compete with the TV audience for higher level games.

It was a cloudy day and not good for pictures but here’s a few.

Faro’s small marina with the Hotel EVA in the background. This is practically in the city centre. Before the railway was built across an inlet, there was actually a beach here. Faro bus station is behind that hotel and the railway station a short distance further.

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Trains at Faro station under very cloudy skies.

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The very urban setting of the São Luis stadium in Faro, home of SC Farense. This was taken just before kickoff. A total of 1626 fans were at the game, about their average attendance. Obviously work and education are not important on a Tuesday afternoon!

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The almost vertical terrace steps used to get where I was sitting have no handrails or safety measures of any type. UK stadium safety officers would have heart failure if they saw this. I was in row O, there were several more higher up.

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Visit to Vila Real de Santo António 16th January

In Algarve,Portugal,Sports - football,Trains on January 17, 2019 by cubsur51 Tagged: ,

A nice sunny day and a trip to Vila Real de António to watch the England Women’s U-19 football team take on Norway. After a drab first half, there was some much better play in the second but England ultimately lost 3-2.

My train ride was somewhat marred by the fact the extensive vandalism had resulted in every single window of the train having been painted over. The authorities are either powerless or have just plain given up in the face of teenage vandals.

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Some more pictures taken the same day.


A distant view of the castle at Castro Marim.


And the other one across the valley.


The view across the river Guadiana to Ayamonte in Spain, with the little ferry making its way across.


Some fishing boats were in dock having some kind of maintenance. The one with the yellow funnel was French and did not seem particularly seaworthy!


The overgrown remains of the long abandoned Vila Real de Santo António – Guadiana station. The line was cut back when the docks closed and a new road built over the tracks. The only station in town is about 1 km away.

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Train at that station in April 1998, picture courtesy of Steve Widdowson.

Station interior showing customs desk.


The nearby area and much of the former dockside is now a huge mobile home park.


The town bus station.


The one time Guadiana hotel has re-opened as the Grand House Hotel. You will need a lot of money to stay there. Rooms start at €176! Opposite the marina area.


This large edifice nearby is for sale.
Above  – the marina of Vila Real de Santo António

Below – The sad state of the trains at the car shed in town.


Below – the famous lighthouse looming over the stadium roof.


The teams line up, the reason for the trip. This was a practice match watched by maybe 100 people. Norway in red.

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Trip to Messines Saturday 14th October

In Algarve,Portugal on October 16, 2017 by cubsur51 Tagged: , , , ,

Trip to Messines Saturday 14th October

Off to Messines to see my local football team, Imortal Albufeira, play in a local League match. It’s an easy trip for me as I can take a bus 50 metres / yards from my apartment all the way there.

São Bartolomeu de Messines, to give it its full name, is a town of about 8,000 people 23km (14.5 miles) north of Albufeira. It’s decidedly not touristy! It is among wooded hills on the edge of the ‘populated’ area of the Algarve. There is not a lot further north.

The hills from the railway.

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The town itself has a very old part near the church, which dates from 1716 and thus survived the earthquake of 1755.

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See the cracks in the marble though!

This is a well kept building by the church.

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And there is this little place to sit.

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Narrow streets, with a lot of empty and derelict buildings as is so common in many small towns.

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The more modern parts are fairly well kept however. The town has a little railway station, four trains go every day to Lisbon, three come back. The old station building and platform are no longer used, there are no station staff. The building is now used to house communications equipment.

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The modern station is not much used and weeds are not being being cleared.

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The neat football ground is fairly new, having replaced an older more basic facility elsewhere in town. it has a synthetic grass surface with a bewildering array of markings for 11-a side and small side pitches for the boys (girls football? Not here!) to play their games on. Before the start, a few players warming up.

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The scene at the bar at half time.

The match itself was horrible, we lost 1-0 despite them having had a player sent off after 25 minutes. Always lose to them it seems.

High above the town, modern windmills swish around, generating electricity.

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If you have half a day to spare, the trip out by car or bus (even train!) is fairly pleasant. There is a small indoor market every morning except Sundays and religious holidays. The ‘main street’ has a few places in which to eat and drink should you so wish. There are two small supermarkets in the centre should you prefer to take a picnic into the wilds.

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Soulac sur Mer 1945 and 2017 comparison; trip home from Bordeaux via Lisbon

I finally solved a mystery that had been bugging me for years! Turned out to be quite simple in the end.

During the closing weeks of World War Two, mid-April 1945, Soulac sur mer and the surrounding area was the scene of several days close combat between French forces and the occupying Germans, who were in no mood to surrender without a fight.

Many books have been published about these battles. One I bought a while back contained a couple of pictures of close quarter action. I was pretty sure I knew the place, but somehow couldn’t figure it. So this year I scanned the pictures and went looking. It didn’t take long as it turned out. Here is the result.

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Soulac sur mer in 1945 and 2017

The location is just to the south of the railway station, the line crosses the road to the right where the two tall masts can be seen. the new tree obscures the view of the electrical substation, the equipment of which can be seen to the left of the psot above the soldier. Google view, the red mark shows where I stood. Not quite the same place as the chap in 1945 as the road was a little busier when I was there!

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Location for comparison photos, Soulac sur mer

The German forces was pushed back from Soulac on the 17th and 18th April 1945. Their last stand was at the fortfications of Le Verdon a few km to the north. Surrender came on 20th April 1945. The two sides lost 1050 men during the week’s combats.

I have a few more photos from a bike ride around Royan, Vaux Sur Mer and La Palmyre. These I shall add in a day or two.

My train ride home from Bordeaux was very agreeable. Here is what I posted on Trip Advisor :

I travelled on the Sud Express from Írun to Lisbon Tuesday night / this morning.

Some observations – the train was full. I was expecting the farce of heavy handed security and lines for baggage checks at Írun as per my previous trip a few years ago. No such thing, people in seated cars simply walked on board and those of us in sleeper cars showed our tickets to the hostess who made sure we went in the right one – some obviously didn’t! No one demanded to see my passport or made me take my shoes off. All very civilised.

Train left 2 minutes late. The first hour or so of the trip is through the Basque country with its station signs and almost everything else in that incomprehensible language. Nice wooded and hilly scenery, some rain and mist on the tallest peaks.

There are no announcements on board, so if getting off before Lisbon best set a good alarm. One thing will cause despondency among the internet junkies – there is no wifi, no electrical sockets other than a shaver socket in the sleeper compartments, no USB sockets, no nothing like that on board. Your 3G roaming will work for a good while, but once out into the remote country areas, forget it.

I know this may mean actually having to engage in conversation, the hardship is noted.

The train does rumble and clank, although I did sleep reasonably well most of the way. The exception was around 2am (Spanish time) or 1am (Portuguese time), when it sounded like we were running over corrugated iron sheets for quite a time.

The air con /heating system worked well, neither too hot nor too cold, but then the outside weather wasn’t exactly summer. There is no longer a full meal service, just an on board café / bar car. Almost everyone, myself included, was well supplied with their own stuff.

Arrival in Lisbon Oriente was 1 minute ahead of schedule. I then waited for my train down to Albufeira.

I arrived exactly on time in Albufeira this morning after a trip of a 21hrs 57 minutes involving four different trains and crossing two national borders. All tickets bought on line except for the 3 minute ride from Hendaye to Írun on Euskotren’s nice new train, which cost me €1,70 from the machine.

Yes it costs more than flying and is slower, but a much less stressful way to travel IMHO. A nice winding down it was for me after a six week trip around various places.

I started my journey on the TGV from Bordeaux. This was one of the new Duplex (double deck) trains introduced upon the opening of the new high speed line between Tours and Bordeaux. It was absolutely full on leaving. There were no ticket checks at all, my upper deck window seat was occupied by someone with a vaid ticket but in the wrong coach. He had to move!

Passengers alighted in numbers at every stop, by the time we reached the end of the line at Hendaye few were left. Arrival was on time but the schedule has been padded to allow for a few miles of painfull slow running between Bayonne and St Jean de Luz.  Subsidence has caused some minor track damage which has yet to be repaired. Trains must therefore run slowly, for that reason (but excuse actually) SNCF no longer extends most of its trains the extra distance across the border and to Írun.

So, at Hendaye it’s a short walk out of the main station to the Euskotren station. A couple of staff were on hand to assist the many foreigners with the ticket machines (there is no ticket office) and my €1,70 ticket across the border was easily obtained. The trip to the Euskotren station at Írun Colon takes 4 minutes, from there is it 3 minutes easy walk to the main station.

 

Soulac sur Mer 1945 and 2017 comparison; trip home from Bordeaux via Lisbon

Tagged: , , on August 12, 2017 by cubsur51

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Look both ways!

In France,Médoc,Trains on July 24, 2017 by cubsur51 Tagged:

Update 31st July – for those of you who like to see the old railway pictures, this website has a very good collection of postcard views from maybe 100 years ago. Many of the locations are recognisable to this day. http://voiesferreesdegironde.e-monsite.com/pages/compagnie-du-midi-et-du-medoc/bordeaux-pointe-de-grave.html descriptive text is in French. One of the pictures shows a very early double-decker train!

Spotted this delightfully retro sign at a foot crossing near Lesparre station in the Médoc region of France. It’s a new-ish sign, not an old one still there. It’s a single track at that location.

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Look both ways

Wikipedia article, in French, https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gare_de_Lesparre

One of the new trains now operating on that line near Lesparre.

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Train on Médoc line near Lesparre

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Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells May 2017

In Pictures from England on May 6, 2017 by cubsur51 Tagged: , ,

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A quick trip to the UK for a football related event and an excuse to drink huge amounts of proper beer. First few pictures are for rail fans. Taken on Friday 5th May at Tonbridge, they show the sidings at Tonbridge West Yard, which are mainly used as a base for infrastructure maintenance trains operated by GB Railfreight and Network Rail. Various trains were being assembled in advance a large project scheduled for the weekend. Four tracks are used to stable trains overnight.

There is also a snowplough based there, which probably hasn´t moved in years.

The actual station nearby sees twelve passenger trains every hour on weekdays and Saturdays heading to or from London, plus two on the cross country to Redhill.

The western end would be a modellers delight with two main tracks diverging sharply, a complicated set of points (switches) and the network of sidings between. The other direction would be rather more difficult as one set of tracks is dead straight for about 20 miles!

A couple of shots of Camden Road in Tunbridge Wells, one of the few remaining streets of independent shops in an English town of similar size.

In contrast, High Street has some very upmarket shops including a jewellers with £14,000 Cartier watches on display.

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Visit to Faro, 5th October 2016

In Algarve,Portugal,Sports - football, soccer,Trains on October 10, 2016 by cubsur51 Tagged: , , , ,

Last Wednesday, 5th October, was a public holiday here in Portugal – Republic Day. Republic Day commemorates the proclamation of the first Republic in 1910, following the removal of the last king, Dom Manuel II as a result of the coup d´etat and Republican revolution. He is sometimes referred to as ‘Manuel the Unfortunate’.

He spent the remainder of his life in exile in Twickenham, near London. He was buried in Lisbon.

Anyway, history lesson over! I was off to Faro to watch the Culatrense vs Imortal (Albufeira) match, Algarve League Division One.

The pictures in the album below include an unexpected couple of shots of the train of empty aviation fuel containers that runs from Loulé back to the refineries at Sines. I didn’t expect to see it, being a public holiday. The loaded trains come down to Loulé as required. The fuel containers are taken by truck to Faro airport. Empties come back the same way.

There are a few shots of Faro marina and the city streets plus some of the game, which finished 0-0 and was pretty poor. It was a hot day, 28C in the afternoon.

Sample

Arco da Vila

The Arco da Vila, an entrance to the oldest part of the city of Faro.