Mallorca's rich rail heritage to come to life?
The old Palma to Soller railway is rightfully an extremely popular tourist attraction with hundreds of thousands of people riding through the mountains on its vintage carriages each year. It's over one hundred years old but Mallorca's other rail lines – some now non existent – have a much longer history.
As regular readers will know, the old train tracks to Arta are now a 'Green Way' for the public to enjoy but there are still rumblings to bring the train back to Mallorca's east coast sometime in the future.
However, like in many places all over the world, there is an organisation on Mallorca dedicated to preserving the island's rich rail history by restoring back to their original pristine condition the locomotives and rolling stock used on the old rail system. The Ferrocaib Foundation's workshops contain steam and diesel locomotives, passenger and freight wagons both fully restored or in the process of restoration.
Ferrocaib's ultimate aim is to have a rail museum and to run heritage train trips along the system. This would be a tremendous tourist attraction, not only for the joy of sitting in a vintage coach being pulled by a steam train, but also for the beautiful 19th century architecture of the station buildings and points of interest along the way.
Their dream came a step closer this week when officials from the Government's Transport department and the island rail service visited the workshops to inspect the activity there. In the official photo (courtesy CAIB) they are seen admiring the oldest postal wagon in Spain.
Purchased in 1870 from the Swansea Wagon Company in Cardiff, it was one of 54 vehicles of its type in Mallorca and carried 16 second class passengers as well as a postal compartment used to deliver mail. Completely restored, it is constructed entirely, apart from its running system, of wood.
Having recently seen how popular heritage railways are for myself in the Cotswolds and Bridgnorth and given the success of the Soller railway, I'm sure that another one in Mallorca would be a resounding hit with the public and Michael Portillo!