The International Steam Pages

Steam Special on the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya

This is one of a series of pages on this area of Spain, see also:

James Waite reports on his visit in November 2010.

Steam trains, mainly for school parties, run between Martorell Enllac and Monistrol de Montserrat between November and May. The railway carries around 15,000 schoolchildren each winter. There are also a few Sunday trains open to the general public. This winter these are due to run on 14th November 2010 and on 20th March and 15th May 2011. Original 2-6-2T No. 209 is the usual working loco with 2-6-2T no. 22 from the Olot-Girona railway in reserve. The coaching stock normally used consists mostly of three Belgian-built carriages dating form the 1920’s. They’re very distinctive vehicles with attractive arch-shaped windows. There’s also a bogie coach built in Barcelona in 1896, a very typical Spanish narrow gauge coach for its period. It’s a spectacular ride through the highly scenic valley of the River Llogebrat which at its narrowest point is not unlike the Aberglaslyn pass in North Wales. There are fine views of the celebrated monastery near the summit of Montserrat, a major place of pilgrimage in the Catholic world as well as the home of one of the finest traditions of organ and choral music anywhere in Europe. I was treated to a footplate run on the outward journey, a brilliant and unexpected treat.

Below left is the shed yard at Martorell Enllac just after sunrise. No. 209 at the water column in the foreground with OG no. 22 beyond standing next to a rake of salt wagons. Anyone who visited Spain back in the old days will recall that the railways were habitually used as public footpaths and access to loco depots was easy by just walking off the end of the station platform. All has changed on the FGC now. The depots and stations are highly secure sites and there's no way one can just wander in. Be prepared! Below right is no. 209 and one of the distinctive Belgian-built coaches from the 1920's in the shed yard at Martorell Enllac.

No. 209 awaiting departure at the "Estacio del Vapor", the old station platform at Martorell Enllac. These are two of the coach interiors, on the left, one of the 1920's Belgian coaches and, on the right, the coach built at Barcelona in 1896.

Under way on the trip to Monistrol, a view of Montserrat from the footplate with the celebrated monastery near the top of the mountain and no. 209 at Monistrol de Montserrat with the mountain behind.

No. 209 running round at Monistrol and running through Montserrat Airi station. There's a privately-run funicular with elderly-looking cars up to Montserrat from here.

No. 209 crossing the River Llobregat between Abrera and Olesa de Montserrat.

Rob Dickinson