Tourist attraction's essential repairs on schedule
A while ago we reported that one of Mallorca's main tourist attractions, the old train from Palma to Soller would be 'off the rails' for around three months this winter whilst essential repair work was carried out. Normally the train's service is suspended for about a month in the depths of winter to carry out routine maintenance and a running programme of renovations when demand for the service is not so high.
This year however, repairs had to be made to the roof of one of the tunnels which required more time than usual, hence the longer shut down. The good news is that the work is progressing on schedule and normal service will be resumed as soon as possible – ie, 6th February.
Because of the longer closing, local laws required the train company to lay on an alternative means of transport to cover the four daily journeys on the route. However the bus provided is proving an expensive white elephant as only around 15 people a week are using it and the cost to the Soller train company is around €50,000!
There's a simple reason why nobody's bothering with the new bus, there's already a well established service from Palma to Puerto Soller which runs the route 16 times a day in winter and costs €3.20 for the 45 minute journey (even less if you have a 'multi-ticket.')
Luckily, there's a clause written into the legal document that enables the obligation to provide the bus service to be reviewed after 15 days, and the railway is keen to invoke this to stop the service. This clearly illustrates that the train is solely a popular tourist attraction and not the most efficient or cheap method of transport.
Its clattering route through orange and lemon groves, through valleys and mountains combined with its olde worlde charm – all brass lamps and shiny wooden panels – make it a tourist's dream. There's even a halt high above Soller to get out and admire the spectacular views of the mountains and town way below (cameras compulsory!)
A trip to Puerto Soller can be made quite easily on the bus from Palma's Bus and train station (see map) on two routes;
The 211 service goes to Puerto Soller via Bunyola and Soller whilst the 210 service goes there via Valldemossa and Deia but takes a little longer, 75 minutes and costs €4.30. You could make the journey into a splendid round trip taking in some great scenery, coastal roads and picturesque towns and villages. Just click the links for timetable details.