GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES BILLIONS OF EUROS INVESTMENT IN THE RAILWAYS
Leaving aside where the **** they are going to get this money from,
the spend apparently includes €55 million on the Algarve line. I hope
this will include providing proper and accessible stations plus more
frequent and more regular trains. There is also a wild idea to build a
spur into Faro airport, although how it would get there and just who
would use it remains to be seen. Meanwhile other work continues - see
ALGARVE 'SURF BUS' TO PRAIA DE AMADO
This summer, a private bus company is to run a bus from Portimão,
Praia da Rocha, Alvor, Lagos, Praia da Luz and Campismo de Espiche to
surfing beach at Praia de Amado. More information here. Booking required. Thanks to 'Barlavento Expert' for this.
EASTER HOLIDAY TRAVEL NOTES
The Easter holidays will soon be upon us. Long distance trains and
coaches (long distance buses) will be very busy. If you are planning to
travel, best start making reservations now. Friday 25th April is
also a public holiday - Liberation Day.
Timetable changes - Thursday 17th April - normal weekday services plus some extra long distance services in the afternoon.
Friday 18th April - Good Friday - basically a Sunday service on trains
and buses (long distance and local) except that the 'extras' in the
afternoon and evening will not run.
Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th - normal service. Monday 21st is NOT a holiday here, so normal weekday service applies.
Thursday 24th April - same as Thursday 17th. Friday 25th April - same as Friday 18th.
In all cases CHECK THE TIMETABLES ON THE OFFICIAL WEBSITES as local variations and changes may occur.
MODERNISATION WORK ON THE RAILWAY CONTINUES
Work continues on the modernisation of the railway east of Faro. On a
recent trip I spotted new signalling systems being installed along the
whole line. Until now the only signals have been those associated with
level crossings. All train movements have been controlled by hand as it
were. Also noticed were new high platform faces being installed at
Fuzeta and Cacelha. Others will surely follow. There is no disruption to
train timetables but access to some stations and platforms may be
slightly problematic from time to time.
RESERVATIONS ON TRAINS NOW AVAILABLE UP TO 60 DAYS IN ADVANCE
Without any fanfare, CP (Portuguese Railways) has enlarged the
reservation window to 60 days. In
addition, the 40% discount on long distance tickets purchased more than
five days in advance remains available.
Reservations are compulsory for travel on all long distance AP (Alfa
Pendular) and Intercity (IC) trains. When reserving on line, tickets can
only be purchased for journeys both starting and ending at stations
where these trains stop. Tickets for connecting inter-regional, regional
or suburban trains must be purchased locally on the day. When buying
tickets at a staffed station, these connections can be included.
CP OFFERS 25% DISCOUNT ON TRAIN TICKETS FOR THOSE AGED 25 YEARS OR UNDER
CP offers 25% off.
If you are aged 25 or under, CP is offering a 25% discount on all Alfa
Pendular, Intercidades, InterRegional and Regional train tickets.
You can use this discount in any class, any day of the week. Just show
official ID with proof of your age such as a Citizen card, ID card,
driving licence or passport.
You can buy your tickets from long-distance ticket offices, netTICKET travel agents. These tickets can be reissued or refunded.
Young people aged 26 or over can still enjoy the Cartão Jovem discount for individual journeys.
In addition, a 40% discount is available to all travellers on long
distance Intercity and Alfa Pendular trains who make reservations on
line five days or more in advance. Reservations open 30 days before
travel and on some trains the number of these discounted tickets is
limited. These tickets can be exchanged for a different train but are
not refunded if you don't make the trip.
STEP FREE ACCESS TO RAILWAY STATIONS AND TRAINS
I must emphasise that there is NO STEP FREE ACCESS at any Algarve
station to any train while it is in the platform. All trains in use have
steps up into the carriage. Some platforms are very low, making it
difficult for some. I am adding an item to the 'disabled page'
with detail of the various stations. It is not yet complete as I have
few recent visits to use as a reference. There is no prospect of the
situation being improved in the short term. With the European
regulations being tightened and changes required by 2020 and the country
being broke, the railways will have to be closed down before it becomes
TOURIST PASSES FOR ALGARVE BUSES
These are available as three day versions at €29,10 and seven days
for €36,25. Days must be consecutive.
They can be bought at any bus station ticket office, also the Albufeira
old town Bus Shop and the EVA ticket office in Largo do Dique, Portimão.
They are valid on ALL buses operated by EVA or Frota Azul listed in
timetables on this site. They are NOT VALID on EVA, Rede-Expressos or
RENEX long distance services, international services nor on the local
urban buses in Lagos, Portimão, Albufeira, Loulé, Vilamoura, Quarteira,
Faro and Tavira. The local buses in those towns have their own day
passes, multi-ride tickets and season tickets for frequent or regular
There is no other discount for persons over 60 / 65 except for
BUS DELAYS - SOME RECENT EXAMPLES
Traffic congestion and unrealistic timetables mean that many buses cannot
be relied upon to run to time, especially on the longer journeys. Here
are some examples from my recent travels, all on weekdays except one :
Albufeira - Lagoa (on a Saturday) on the fast bus - the 1415 left
Albufeira five minutes late for no apparent reason, nine minutes late
into Lagoa. The return journey scheduled at 1655 was seven minutes late,
which I had gambled on and just made it after the football had
finished! Otherwise it meant a wait until 1830 for the next one.
Portimão - Albufeira Transrápido fast bus (it comes from Lagos) due out
at 1740 left at 1756. Arrival in Albufeira was 25 minutes late.
On three recent journeys, the 1840 bus from Portimão to Albufeira has
left on time but arrived 8 - 10 minutes late despite only making two or
three stops en route.
Quatros Estradas (near Loulé) to Albufeira bus due at 1058 was twenty
minutes late - it comes from Faro via Loulé. On the same day the 1145 Transrápido bus from Faro to
Lagos was observed 15 minutes late at Albufeira.
(picture, left) are in service on the Algarve
line. Many have already been vandalised by the local
youth and can seem uninviting to the visitor.
These trains have push button doors and air
conditioned interiors. However, as the picture to the
right shows, bike users may have problems getting
their mounts on and off the trains at the stations
with low platforms as there is no proper step to the
I took mine in through the passenger door
and wheeled it down the train to the 'baggage'
compartment at the end. There is NO step-free access
into the carriages, therefore disabled persons may
also find it very difficult to get on and off. Getting
a wheelchair etc on or off is well-nigh impossible. No assistance is available at stations. See
also this picture
of unit 0462 on the low platform at Tavira. Although Tavira now has
higher platforms, many smaller stations are still like this picture.
A member of the regional council wrote
to the railways early in 2013 complaining vigorously about the the
'third world' state of most of the railway stations
here. He was right. Do not expect anything even
remotely like even the worst station in your home
country. Most of the stops are unstaffed, have been
vandalised and basically left to fall into
ruin. Do not expect even to see timetables posted, let
alone any information about 'next train´.
Left - Silves railway station 18th December 2013. Click to see full size.
On my journeys I
have noticed that out of date timetables are posted at
several of the bus stations etc. If the bus companies
cannot be bothered then we have problems! I have used
the most up to date versions where I can find them -
the people at Lagos and Portimão are pretty good, not
so good elsewhere. There are no EVA timetables at all
posted at Faro Bus Station or at the bus stop outside!