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Rail Enthusiast? What to see in the Algarve.


After much delay the contract was signed late November 2021 for the electrification of the Faro to Vila Real de Santo António section of the Algarve railway.  Work is expected to take two years. About six months behind is the electrification project for the western section between Tunes and Lagos. May I live long enough to see a more frequent, more regular and faster train service in 2024!

There is evidence of work taking place between Faro and Vila Real de Santo António, also on a recent trip to Lagos I spotted a delivery of steelwork for masts and construction under way of electrical substations.

I do not have any recent pictures. Not that much has changed in the past three years! Algarve train times here. Some of the links to other picture albums do not seem to be working. I am checking these as I find them, but so far cannot understand the problem!.

For those who are keen, the freight terminal at Loulé generates fairly regular trains of aviation fuel traffic (destined for Faro airport) also irregular brick and sand trains. At Vila Real de Santo António the unloading of bagged cement has now ceased. Traffic was lost during strikes about eight years ago. Delivery is now by road. Tunes is a good place for a couple of hours of train watching. Unfortunately the brick siding is not in regular use, which limits the activity. A small shed houses a track inspection machine, which rarely ventures out in daylight.

The empty fuel tankers from Loulé being taken back the refinery at Sines (pics below) normally pass through Albufeira between 1145am and 12noon but not necessarily every day. The loaded train goes through in the evening.

The centre of passenger operations is at Faro. There are several platforms and much shunting to and fro. The whole line is single track with passing places. It is electrified between Lisbon, Tunes and Faro with modern signalling etc installed in 2003/2004. Work on building the new platforms at stations is complete although some stations still do not have high platforms.

Other, similar, work has been completed on the western section of the line between Tunes and Lagos

The museum building at Lagos' old station has been closed to the public for many years. I did have some pictures but these are now lost.

There was a study being made into a fairly bonkers scheme to build a branch line to the airport. That idea has been re-activated but the chances of it happening are less than zero.

Attitudes to railway safety would give the UK's various authorities heart failure! It is nothing unusual to see people strolling alongside or across the track. There are few fences. US citizens be warned - unlike examples I have read about in your country, it will be your fault entirely if you get hurt. However please exercise common sense when taking pictures near railway land, especially if there are no fences. The electric trains in particular are silent, fast and deadly.

Some more pictures including a few from a temporary railway history exhibition at Faro are via this link.

Algarve trains -   pictures

Alfa Pendular High Speed Train at Tunes Station
Older diesel locomotive not seen here now
Freight passing Tunes heading towards Lisbon - these trains are no longer diesel hauled and most have ceased.

Track in the countryside north of Messines station
Messines old station building

  messines station  

Vila Real de Santo António Station - click or tap for full size

vrsa train at

Freight train carrying sand passing Tunes heading for Loulé
 tunes station

Regional train at Faro
Regional train boarding at Faro 01.07.14 - click or tap for full size

Trains at Faro 01.07.14

Intercity train near Messines
click or tap to see full sized

intercity train near
At Vila Real there is an excellent steam train turntable in fairly good condition. Sorry about the sky. That picture was taken some years ago. I had a more second visit  and you can see some pictures of the much changed area at the end of this album.

Turntable at

Faro main station building
click or tap for full size image.
Faro sea wall, October 2011 thanks to Steve Widdowson
click or tap to see full sized

new train 2
Unit 0462 at Tavira February 2012

click or tap to see full sized

new train 3
Regional train near Faro
Regional train Faro to Tavira on the sea wall
just east of Faro 1st July 2014. click or tap to see full size.
Algarve Regional Train Interior

Algarve Regional Train interior - once these were First Class seats now declassified. click or tap for full size.
Alfa Pendular Train at Faro

Alfa Pendular train at Faro - click or tap to see full size.
For some more pictures of Faro station and trains
on 1st July 2014 please visit my picture album

Boliqueime station July 2014

The little station at Boliqueime cleaned of graffiti and looking quite nice - 7th July 2014. click or tap to see full sized.

It has since been comprehensively vandalised at least twice. In terrible condition August 2017.
Boliqueime freight shed

Disused freight shed at Boliqueime station same day. click or tap to see full sized.
Steve Widdowson sent me some excellent pictures of trains in the Algarve
taken in October 2014 - take a look at them here.

There are hundreds of great pictures of the Algarve line from the past forty years or so at
Conceição station December 2014 - click or tap to see full size

Cacela station December 2014 - click or tap to see full size

cacela station
Faro station May 6th 2015 - click or tap to see full size

Some kit that does not normally venture out in daylight
click or tap to see full sized

Stabled in Faro
click or tap to see full sized


This is why those less able have problems with our trains! This the step into the Alfa Pendular trains

click or tap to see full sized

alfa pendular
Lagos station June 2015 - click or tap each picture to see full sized

Portimão station  - classic design on a dull 17th February 2016 - click or tap to see full size

Portimão - the 1329 to Faro enters the station on 17th February 2016. Needs a clean! click or tap to see full size

Portimão train

Disused crane at Portimão - British made!
click or tap to see full sized

Portimao crane

Thanks to Steve Widdowson once again for these
next four pictures taken in April 2016
The old steam train ash pit at Lagos - click for full size
Unusual livery on an Intercity train carriage click for full size
A very unusual sight - this Intercity train at Tunes is formed of nine carriages! Normally they are only three or four. Taken 25th April 2016 click for full size

The aviation fuel train empties passing Tunes heading north. Now in the hands of Takargo, its load was taken off at Loulé freight terminal and shipped by road to Faro airport. Click for full size. Thanks to Steve Widdowson.

Takargo_ train_Loule
Another shot of the fuel train, waiting to pass a passenger train at Albufeira on 5th October 2016 - taken by me. Click to see full size.

The last few of a sizeable number of people leaving the Lagos to Faro train at Faro on 5th October 2016. Like most of the trains down here, it is covered in graffiti tags.
Click or tap for larger size

Silves station 27th October 2016 after remodelling, completion of new high platforms and track renewal. Click to see full size.

One of the refurbished Alfa Pendular trains in the new grey livery at Faro station, 31st August 2017. Click for full size.

ap train new
The unacceptable face of the railway here. With nowhere to store trains securely, vandalism of this type is endemic. I don't know if the railway is unable, unwilling or both to prevent this. Also at Faro, 31st August 2017. Again, click for full size.

Intercity train from Lisbon entering Albufeira 8th May 2018. Click for larger size


Some more pictures by Steve Widdowson
mostly taken June 2018 here - will open a new window
Sad to relate that nothing is being done about the repeated vandalism. Faro, 14th October 2018

                  train faro

The railway is still either unwilling or unable to combat the vandalism perpetrated by children and young adults. All the trains now look like this. Picture dated 16.1.19

Ferragudo - Parchal station 24 January 2019
A café / bar occupies the left hand side of the building.
The station is unstaffed and actually located in Parchal.
Ferragudo station
Albufeira - Ferreiras station 4 May 2019
click to see full size

The afternoon train to Lisbon arrives 4 May 2019
click to see full size
Lisbon train
A fair few board the train - click for full size

boarding the train at Albufeira
The 1429 to Faro enters the station - click for full size

Albufeira to Faro train

The same graffiti smothered train on arrival at Almancil
click for full size

train at Almancil
Below and to the right are pictures taken mostly in 2021 and 2022 by David Collins and kindly sent to me for inclusion.
Click on a thumbnail to see it full size with explanatory caption.
0458-arrives-at-Olh-o-with-wrong-destination-showing 0462-heading-east-from-Faro getting-a-clean-at-Faro
closed-station-Marim 0467-at-Olh-o heading-east-from-Olh-o
0462-leaves-Olh-o-for-Faro 0456-at-Olh-o-westbound-train
0452-waits-to-leave-Vila-Real 0456-approaching-Bom-Jo-o 0454-approaches-Fuzeta-A
coupling-up-at-Vila-Real old-photo-in-Guerreros-Bar-opposite-Faro-station
old-steam-depot-at-Vila-Real one-end-of-the-world-s-longest-railway-journey-Vila-Real rush-hour-at-Faro-Oct-2020

stranger-at-Faro-intercidades-emu the-wires-are-coming-masts-east-of-Olh-o

For a list of all the timetables on the site, click here
For an alphabetical list of places in the Algarve, click here
For some important general notes about buses in the Algarve, click here
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