3rd June 2017 saw the start of an occasional special train near Barcelona with some motive power interest.
The “Montserrat Classic Express” is essentially a daytime dining train on the network of the the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC), departing from Sant Boi de Llobregat at approximately 09:30, running north into the Montserrat mountain range to a destination of Monistrol de Montserrat, with a journey time of approximately 90 minutes. After a break, during which you can travel on the Montserrat rack railway included in the price of your ticket, it departs home, arriving back into Sant Boi at 14:18.
The locomotive is planned to be no.1003, a metre-gauge 850hp Alsthom diesel-electric dating from 1956, one of a fairly large (if a little heterogeneous) fleet of locos that led the way with the dieselisation of Spain’s numerous metre-gauge railways in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The above is a link to a YouTube video uploaded by Andrés Martos showing 1003 on a train in 2015.
When does it run?
Despite claims on its website that it runs on Wednesdays and Sundays through the year, information received is that it runs only on: 12th July, 16th July, 2nd August, 16th August, 27th August, 6th September, 17th September, 20th September, 8th October, 22nd October, 19th November, 3rd December, 17th December and 31st December 2017.
Tickets and Fares
The cheapest ticket available for the round trip on the “Montserrat Classic Express” is €80 and is a non-dining option, although it includes some food at the destination. The full dining option is available for €130.
Tickets must be obtained in advance from firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to get there
Sant Boi is situated in the western reaches of Barcelona, approximately 7 miles of Barcelona El Prat (BCN) airport. FGC services run several times per hour to Sant Boi from Barcelona Plaça Espanya station, with a journey time just shy of 20 minutes.
What can you combine it with?
This is going on not too far from the “Tren dels Llacs”, which operates from Lleida to La Pobla de Segur with standard-gauge RENFE class 308 power. In particular, Sundays 16th July, 27th August, 17th September, 8th October and 22nd October 2017 all follow Saturdays where the “Tren dels Llacs” is 308-hauled.
Barcelona itself is, of course, one of the world’s top tourist destinations, so it’s certainly rational to do this as part of a non-railway holiday in that area. However, if you do wish to look at other diesel haulage while you’re in Spain, I’ve put together a brief round-up of what is on offer here.
Many thanks to Charles Hinton for the information on this operation.