Manufactured by American Locomotive Company (ALCo) in the 60s, the locomotive is part of a specialist tour. / JOSÉ MANUEL GUERRERO

'El tren de los ingleses' - the train of the English - re captures spirit of rail travel in the 1980s

Railway enthusiasts are enjoying a journey back in time to visit historical landmarks in Andalucía


A group of British railway enthusiasts are recapturing the experience of travelling through Andalucía by train in the 1980s, which many of them experienced in their youth.

The route is organised by the company PTG Tours, and it is travelling from 22 January to 28 January through some of the main historical sites linked to the railway world in Andalucía. The train is a fabulously eye-catching old green and yellow diesel locomotive manufactured by American Locomotive Company (ALCo) in the 1960s.

The tourist route has been officially named 'The Costa del Alco', although local enthusiasts and rail workers have christened it 'el tren de los ingleses' - the train of the English.

The group of British railway enthusiasts boarded their train at Madrid’s Chamartín station to pass via the spectacular Despeñaperros gorge to Linares, and from there it continued on to Almeria. It then went to Guadix and stopped in Granada for the night.

One of the most spectacular routes in Spain

On the second day, 24 January, they reached Cordoba and headed towards Malaga, passing through the important Bobadilla junction and the Gaitanes gorge. In the following days they will travel to Algeciras along the Bobadilla line, one of the most spectacular routes in Spain, as it is passes through the Serranía de Ronda, until they reach Gibraltar. Stops are then planned in Cordoba, Seville and Cadiz, before returning to Madrid.

Alsa Rail operates tourist trains such as this one and others, including the Felipe II route in Madrid. Antonio Vázquez, the company's manager, said that the main attraction is the journey itself for the railway lovers.

"It is about remembering what the railway was like in Spain in the 80s, going through areas that many of them visited in their first trips to Spain during their youth."

Alsa has preserved the three locomotives that travel the route in perfect working order, which, together with the old railway junctions, are the main attractions. "They are stopping at stations and areas that were travelled through in those days, some of which are now disused, but they want to make the same stops as they did 40 years ago," Vázquez said of the tour group.