CP picks up vintage cars for tourist services on the Sintra line trains

Two UTE (Triple Electric Units) from the 1960s, decommissioned 20 years ago, will return to the rails on the Sintra Line, but now as historic trains, essentially intended for tourists visiting the village visit, and for direct trips (without stops) from Rossio.

The business model is not yet defined and depends on the recovery of tourism after the pandemic. If it returns to a level close to a year ago, CP President Nuno Freitas believes that starting several daily trips between Rossio and Sintra outside of rush hour will be justified.

But not only. It is possible that, under normal operating conditions, they could also do a few revolutions on the weekend without increasing the price so that people could experience traveling on a vintage train.

“The idea is to build an affective and emotional relationship between the Portuguese and CP,” says the company’s president. “We only had historic trains in the north [na linha do Douro e no Vouga] and we thought that we should have such an offer in Lisbon ”.

For Nuno Freitas, the main task of CP is to provide good service to the population. “However, if the company wants to have some strength and continuity in the future, it has to create empathy with the Portuguese so that they can ever destroy the CP, the people defend it.” In this sense, “historical trains are an excellent tool for establishing a relationship with the public”. Hence the latest bet on Vouguinha, where the company salvaged three “Neapolitan” carriages (built in Naples in the 1930s) to improve the supply of tourist trains.

The renovation of the two TPPs is neither difficult nor expensive. The two units were part of a group of ten prepared for sale to Argentina in 2005 but did not follow a vehicle as the country’s railways that paid for their renovation did not pay for shipping.

Nuno Freitas estimates that 100,000 euros will be enough to restore the railcars to their original condition, just as they did when they carried thousands of passengers – the vast majority of them standing – at a time when the Sintra line ran out heaviest congested in all of Europe.

Sorefame’s metallic railcars may not have left much for those who traveled in deteriorated conditions on the Sintra Line in the 1980s. But they were his brand image. Most of these trains have been modernized and now serve regional connections on the northern line. In August 2017, a few dozen vehicles were demolished in Entroncamento. Among them was the UTE2001, which initiated the electrification of the Sintra line in 1957.

Now there is no demolition in Entroncamento. Five abandoned self-propelled electric railcars on the Sintra line have just recovered in their workshops. Three have already been injected into the operation and two are expected to be put into service in the coming weeks.

Since the current CP administration has decided to reclaim material, the workshops in Guifões, Contumil, Entroncamento and Barreiro have already put seven electric locomotives, three diesel locomotives, seven Schindler coaches, four Sorefame coaches and a self-driving car into operation and five UQEs for suburbanites. Historic narrow-gauge wagons were also recovered: one vehicle from 1910 and three “Neapolitan” wagons. A total of 46 vehicles were put back on the rails.