Douro 1950’s tourist train service cancelled on cost grounds
Stunning scenery is not enough to attract sufficient passengers on the Douro’s ‘Miradouro’ train service, so the railway company is shutting it down.
Comboios de Portugal (CP) has announced that the market does not value its 1950s Swiss carriages and that the service loses money since it started two years ago.
Cost accountants at CP have noted that the service loses money even when the carriages are full of passengers.
There will still be trains running on the picturesque line, Spanish carriages rented from Renfe which may have air conditioning but do not allow full enjoyment of the spectacular view through huge windows, the main attraction for summertime customers.
“The Renfe carriages guarantee lower running costs, better economic results, lower energy consumption and lower use of human resources, so it is the solution that most contributes to creating economic value for the CP,” explained the rail company.
The mayor of Régua told Público that he was unaware of this decision and that he will question the company, “I regret the end of this service because it was more added value for tourism in the Douro,” adding that, “it is once again the interior of the country that is being penalised.”
Luís Pedro Martins, president of the Porto and North Tourist Board, says he does not understand this decision, “I have serious doubts about CP’s argument that the train is not profitable,” said Martins, saying the region receives about 4.3 million tourists a year, 75% of them in the Porto area and that the Miradouro Train allows a different travel experience.
This decision is also considered a “commercial error” by António Brancanes dos Reis, president of the Portuguese Association of Friends of the Railways (APAC), “This train has had great public support because the Schindler carriages that allow the public to enjoy the landscape of the Douro, people can open the windows and the schedules allowed it to be used by tourists for a lunch tour in Régua or Pinhão.”