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Archive for July 2011

No more booze cruises to Vigo

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State rail operator CP has run an international service from Porto to Vigo, in Spain, for nearly 100 years. These trains will cease operating at the weekend because CP says an average 11 paying passengers use each train. The route costs CP €450,000 to run yearly and only generates revenues of €218,000. This cash is not from ticket sales but paid to CP by Spanish counterpart Renfe for running trains from Tuy, on the border, up to Vigo.

Another reason the line is loss making, according to Publico, is that Renfe rarely puts ticket collectors on the trains for the Spanish leg of the journey. Consequently, many passengers get free travel from the Vigo to the Portuguese frontier on the Minho river. Porto and Vigo were to have been linked by an ambitious Iberian TGV link between Lisbon, Madrid and the northwest of Iberia. This high-speed line has been cancelled owing both governments being cash strapped.

Porto to Vigo takes just under four hours by train compared to less than two hours by bus. So the service being suspended operates largely for local use on both sides of the border. Carriages were often half full of live chickens when I used the line in the 198os to lunch in Spain or hit the beach at Viana do Castelo.

Written by porkncheezer

July 5, 2011 at 9:23 am