Sant Llorenç rail link restoration
Mallorca's old railway line from Palma to Soller is one of the island's best known tourist attractions and is used by visitors and rail enthusiasts alike from all over the world. The splendid antique carriages carry passengers in the nostalgic style of a bygone age and must have boosted the economy of Soller and brought large amounts of money into the town.
If you're a rail enthusiast then you'll be pleased to hear that the Balearic Government is investing around €4.2 million of its funds from the so called Ecotax in opening up another small heritage railway which will be more of a museum piece than the privately funded and commercially viable Soller Railway.
The money will be used by a voluntary association which preserves and restores old railway stock, carriages and steam, diesel and electric engines in its workshops at Son Carrio. The 'Associació d'Amics del Ferrocarril' (Friends of the Railway) will use the money to restore a 6 km stretch of line from Son Carrio to the charming little town of Sant Llorenç and also purchase new rolling stock for visitors to travel in.
They've been advanced a quarter of a million already to get the ball rolling and their first purchase has just arrived. It's two passenger coaches which were built in Naples in 1931 and used on the Portuguese rail network until 2001 which will become part of the working museum of Mediterranean railways at Son Carrio when the project comes to fruition.
I think it's a lovely idea, but then I love heritage railways, and I believe that with the correct management and marketing it could be a very successful part of the tourist economy in Mallorca. There are however already some naysayers moaning about the project and its use of public funds etc, etc, etc.
Well, time will tell, and as yet there are no dates for the completion of the restoration programme – so wait and see.