Overland from Porto home - 2: Douro Valley I (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Overland Home - 1: London Prelude (50 p., 1 v.)

April 4 2024

A TAP A320 took us from London Gatwick to Porto. Cool and wet weather had dominated the region the months before - the owner of our flat in Porto told us it had rained non-stop since October. The previous days a cold snap had resulted in snow-covered peaks in Northern Spain as we could spot from the plane window.
An airport transfer provided for free by booking.com took us to our base for the following week on Rua de Gomes Freire situated high directly above Douro River. We walked uphill to the local centre - Praça dos Poveiros - featuring several restaurants and a Minipreço supermarket. This time we sat down at a more touristy place in the middle of the square, the following days we would visit venues frequented by locals. It was not very warm, during lunch it started to rain. After shopping at Minipreço, we settled down for a comfortable afternoon. It was unusual for my travelling to have one week to spare in one city.

April 5 2024

The first morning provided a lovely mood at 8:40 a.m.

Real meeting of IC 730 to Lisbon Santa Apolónia with a suburban train to Porto São Bento terminal station. The main through station Porto-Campanhã is situated around the corner to the left where both lines meet. The Intercidades was traversing Ponte de São João across the Douro opened in 1991, in front of it the since unused Eiffel bridge Ponte Dona Maria Pia from 1877.

A bridge overview, I was standing on Ponte Infante Dom Henrique road bridge. Our flat was located above the train to the left.


A class 2240 EMU crossed Ponte de São João towards Aveiro, I only spotted class 3400 to São Bento:


Finally, Douro Valley InterRegional 860 Regua - São Bento emerged, consisting of class 0592.2 leased from RENFE:


More Porto pictures will follow in other trip reports.

April 7 2024

Next morning, we took a taxi to Porto-Campanhã for the first IR of the day into Douro Valley. It was still a little foggy at 7:14 a.m.


1438 shunted towards the train:




Comboios de Portugal still is a very human company, most stations are staffed by 2-3 people. The rather strange term "comboio" - is derived from the French convoy:




We took our seats inside the nicely maintained Sorefame INOX coach of IR 861.

A visit to the clean toilet during the ride.

First, the train follows the electrified section of the Linha do Douro to Marco de Canaveses also served by suburban rail, then the line changes to Douro Valley through a tunnel. We caught first glimpses of the river at Pala:


iPhone-Video-Screenshot of our train at the first station, Mosteirô. Editing of the long travel video still takes a bit, next time you should be able to enjoy class 1400 sounds. I had chosen Mosteirô as it was the first IR halt. These operate relatively regularly, but with bigger gaps between services. Smaller stops are only served by rare local trains.

The rear coaches cannot hide their Swiss heritage.

I expected IR 862 Pocinho - Porto-Campanhã scheduled at 9:11 a.m. standing on the Douro bridge near Mosteirô. It appeared at 9:13 near the station.



I walked to the Pala viaducts - balcony photography opportunities are plentiful in Portugal, better than in Italy.

Weekend-only IR 21861 approached... the weather did not stay completely dry.

Further views and combinations.



Oranges had ripened to perfection in the area - absolutely delicious, you cannot buy anything close.


CP 1424 is one of several engines kept in heritage blue livery.

Typical of this region are azulejos, painted ceramic tiles:


Almost could be my house... ;-)

IR 865 to Pocinho followed an hour later - this goods shed could not be missed.


I managed to film the departure with ease.

The sleepers of the second, less used track looked suspicious.

We sat down at a café, I walked over to the platform to capture R 4103 Marco de Canaveses - Regua.

Many stations are adorned with azulejos - we are about to visit some lovely examples later.

Taxis in typical black-turquoise connect to the surroundings. Larger settlements mainly are located on heights.
One side of the class 0592.0 DMU was covered in graffiti...

... the other side presented itself completely clean. Accompanied by balcony photography.

IR 864 Régua - Porto São Bento was operated by a DMU - we took it back to Porto due to a gap between loco-hauled trains and the weather getting more cloudy... we were about to travel further into Douro Valley the following week.


Freight traffic hauled by a class 1900 could be encountered even on a Sunday:


Linha do Douro is merging with Linha do Minho from the north at Ermesinde - we will also get to know the latter.

April 6 2024

This view opened up right in front of our flat:
Alfa Pendular 134 to Lisbon Santa Apolónia at 6:34 p.m. - in the evening of a rainy Saturday.

View into the other direction towards Ponte Luís I, crossed by metro line D:


The opposite shore is part of the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, here you can find port wine cellars and historic boats once used to transport the wine along the river.

To the left: Steep Calçada das Carquejeiras.
To the right: Porto Douro pleasure boats are designed to resemble port wine vessels.

What I had waited for: CP 1427 returned with the weekend-only IR 21860 from Pocinho - my first photo of a class 1400.
One of the few loco-hauled trains serving São Bento terminal.


Halfway down the slope you can spot a tunnel and the trackbed of former broad gauge line Ramal da Alfândega abandoned in 1989:


Much, much more from Porto and the long trip afterwards soon! :0)

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