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Rail Enthusiast? What to see in the Algarve.


After much delay the contract was signed late November 2021 for the electrification of the Faro to Vila Real de Santo António section of the Algarve railway.  Work was expected to be completed in early summer 2024. That is not going to happen. More likely September or October.

Silves and Poço Barreto 28th May 2024
click or tap a picture to see it larger size

Poco Barreto - Train leaving the station towards Lagos passing under the bridge which is being built to eliminate the level crossing.

                  Barreto (1)
Poço Barreto - new extended platform awaiting completion

                  Barreto (2)

Poço Barreto - old freight shed

                  Barreto (3)
Rarely seen - a track and overhead wiring inspection vehicle between Poço Barreto and Silves
Inspection vehicle
And later seen again at Silves on its way back somewhere

inspection vehicle 2
Silves station

                  station (1)
Silves station from the road crossing
                  Station (2)
The 1334 to Lagos enters the station 16 minutes late. Note the incorrect destination on the front!
                  station (3)
And to fill the space, but this view of Silves is your reward if you go by train and make the 15 minute walk from the station into the town. There is a steep hill on the way back!


Boliqueime Station Friday 24th May 2024

Old station building showing the steps down to the crossing to the other platformBoliqueime_old_station_building
The existing platform 1 with the new one beyondboliqueime_old_station_building_2
New platform 1. The building is the old freight shedboliqueime:new_platform_1
New platform 2 under construction
Alfa Pendular train Faro - Lisbon - Porto passing at speed - click or tap for larger size
Regional train to Faro enters the station. Click or tap to see larger.
A visit on 19th December showed that wiring is complete only about a third of the way along the 56km of track. Various pieces of equipment were sitting in sidings. They only come out at night! Click to see a larger size. The first three were at Faro, the other one in the shadows at Tavira.
In contrast, David sent me this picture of Olhão station. No date, but some time in the 1970's I think. The road crossing has been replaced by an underpass, but there is a foot crossing requiring a security guard to come out when a train is due. Click or tap to see larger size.


About six months behind is the electrification project for the western section between Tunes and Lagos. May I live long enough to see a more frequent, more regular and faster train service in 2024! I have read that CP has ordered new trains for various areas of Portugal, some of which may come down to the Algarve line.

Masts are installed west of Tunes as far as Silves and also in the Lagos area, with preparatory work under way elsewhere. Rebuilding of stations is much in evidence, with high level platforms being required for the electric trains next year. The pictures below were taken on 5th and 19th March 2024. Station rebuilding is almost complete at Algoz and Alcantarilha. The masts are up for the electric power, but no lines as yet. Tunes station work was completed when the first electrification was completed in 2004. Tunes is the junction station where the line from Lisbon meets the Algarve line.

Lagos Station and trains 19th March 2024

click or tap to see larger size

lagos station
lagos station
lagos engineering train
This is one of the engineering trains being used for the electrification project.
lagos works

The masts for the overhead power lines are in situ
Station interior. The long queue is for tickets. Have these people never heard of the internet!
lagos station interior
Station exterior
lagos station exterior
Station exterior - café / bar to the left
lagos station exterior
Remains of the steam locomotive turntable
lagos tunrtable
lagos turntable
Alcantarilha 05/03/24 - click or tap to see a larger picture
Algoz 05/03/24 - click or tap to see a larger picture
Tunes 05/03/24 - click or tap to see larger picture
Alcantarilha 1

The roof panels have been fitted since these pictures were taken
Algoz 1

The line on the right is from Lagos, the Lisbon line is coming in from the left. The line in the foreground is the siding currently being used to stable some of the various equipment being used on the electrification project.

tunes 1
Alcantarilha 2
Algoz 2
tunes 2
Alcantarilha 3
Beside the station is this very precarious looking chimney. You can see how vertical it is not by comparing the the electrical mast

algoz 4

Regional train from Lagos to Faro entering the station

tunes 3
Alcantarilha 4
The old freight shed. The sun was in the wrong place!
algoz 4
General view of the main station building from the 'other´side

tunes 4
Alcantarilha 5
More Tunes pictures below. Regional train from Faro to Lagos which will connect with the train from Lisbon

tunes 6

The very well kept ticket hall

tunes 5
Alcantarilha 6
The train from Lisbon arrives, 11 minutes late.

tunes 7
The regional train was held for a couple of minutes waiting for passengers to cross the platform.

tunes 8
Alcantarilha 7
Trains now ready to leave in both directions

tunes 9
Off towards Albufeira and Faro

tunes 10
These two have a good view of proceedings!
Alcantarilha 8
This lost looking Spanish wagon was far from home! its home station is in the southern suburbs of Madrid

tunes 11

For those who are keen, the freight terminal at Loulé generates fairly regular trains of aviation fuel traffic (destined for Faro airport) also irregular brick and sand trains. At Vila Real de Santo António the unloading of bagged cement has now ceased. Traffic was lost during strikes some years ago. Delivery is now by road. Tunes is a good place for a couple of hours of train watching. Unfortunately the brick siding is not in regular use, which limits the activity. A small shed houses a track inspection machine, which rarely ventures out in daylight. It is also now being used for the equipment being used on the electrification work.

The empty fuel tankers from Loulé being taken back the refinery at Sines (pics below) normally pass through Albufeira between 1145am and 12noon but not necessarily every day. The loaded train goes through in the evening.

The centre of passenger operations is at Faro. There are several platforms and much shunting to and fro. The whole line is single track with passing places. It is electrified between Lisbon, Tunes and Faro with modern signalling installed in 2003/2004. Work on building the new platforms at stations is still under way. Some stations still do not have high platforms.

The museum building at Lagos' old station has been closed to the public for many years. I did have some pictures but these are now lost.

There was a study being made into a fairly bonkers scheme to build a branch line to the airport. That idea has been re-activated but the chances of it happening are less than zero.

Attitudes to railway safety would give the UK's various authorities heart failure! It is nothing unusual to see people strolling alongside or across the track. There are few fences. US citizens be warned - unlike examples I have read about in your country, it will be your fault entirely if you get hurt. However please exercise common sense when taking pictures near railway land, especially if there are no fences. The electric trains in particular are silent, fast and deadly.

Some words and pictures from a visit in 2015 to a temporary railway history exhibition at Faro via this link.

Algarve trains -   pictures

Alfa Pendular High Speed Train at Tunes Station
Older diesel locomotive not seen here now
Freight passing Tunes heading towards Lisbon - these trains are no longer diesel hauled and most have ceased.

Track in the countryside north of Messines station
Messines old station building

  messines station  

Vila Real de Santo António Station 2017- click or tap for full size

vrsa train at

Freight train carrying sand passing Tunes heading for Loulé. Also from 2017.
 tunes station

Regional train at Faro
Regional train boarding at Faro 01.07.14 - click or tap for full size

Trains at Faro 01.07.14

Intercity train near Messines
click or tap to see full sized

intercity train near
At Vila Real there is an excellent steam train turntable in fairly good condition. Sorry about the sky. That picture was taken some years ago. I had a more second visit  and you can see some pictures of the much changed area at the end of this album.

Turntable at

Faro main station building
click or tap for full size image.
Faro sea wall, October 2011 thanks to Steve Widdowson
click or tap to see full sized

new train 2
Unit 0462 at Tavira February 2012. The low platforms were still in use.

click or tap to see full sized

new train 3
Regional train near Faro
Regional train Faro to Tavira on the sea wall
just east of Faro 1st July 2014. click or tap to see full size.
Algarve Regional Train Interior

Algarve Regional Train interior - once these were First Class seats now declassified. click or tap for full size.
Alfa Pendular Train at Faro

Alfa Pendular train at Faro - click or tap to see full size.
For some more pictures of Faro station and trains
on 1st July 2014 please visit my picture album

Boliqueime station July 2014

The little station at Boliqueime cleaned of graffiti and looking quite nice - 7th July 2014. click or tap to see full sized.

It has since been comprehensively vandalised at least twice. In terrible condition August 2017.
Boliqueime freight shed

Disused freight shed at Boliqueime station same day. click or tap to see full sized.
Steve Widdowson sent me some excellent pictures of trains in the Algarve
taken in October 2014 - take a look at them here.

There are hundreds of great pictures of the Algarve line from the past forty years or so at
Conceição station December 2014 - click or tap to see full size

Cacela station December 2014 - click or tap to see full size

cacela station
Faro station May 6th 2015 - click or tap to see full size

Some kit that does not normally venture out in daylight
click or tap to see full sized

Stabled in Faro
click or tap to see full sized


This is why those less able have problems with our trains! This the step into the Alfa Pendular trains

click or tap to see full sized

alfa pendular
Lagos station June 2015 - click or tap each picture to see full sized

Portimão station  - classic design on a dull 17th February 2016 - click or tap to see full size

Portimão - the 1329 to Faro enters the station on 17th February 2016. Needs a clean! click or tap to see full size

Portimão train

Disused crane at Portimão - British made!
click or tap to see full sized

Portimao crane

Thanks to Steve Widdowson once again for these
next four pictures taken in April 2016
The old steam train ash pit at Lagos - click for full size
Unusual livery on an Intercity train carriage click for full size
A very unusual sight - this Intercity train at Tunes is formed of nine carriages! Normally they are only three or four. Taken 25th April 2016 click for full size

The aviation fuel train empties passing Tunes heading north. Now in the hands of Takargo, its load was taken off at Loulé freight terminal and shipped by road to Faro airport. Click for full size. Thanks to Steve Widdowson.

Takargo_ train_Loule
Another shot of the fuel train, waiting to pass a passenger train at Albufeira on 5th October 2016 - taken by me. Click to see full size.

The last few of a sizeable number of people leaving the Lagos to Faro train at Faro on 5th October 2016. Like most of the trains down here, it is covered in graffiti tags.
Click or tap for larger size

Silves station 27th October 2016 after remodelling, completion of new high platforms and track renewal. Click to see full size.

One of the refurbished Alfa Pendular trains in the new grey livery at Faro station, 31st August 2017. Click for full size.

ap train new
The unacceptable face of the railway here. With nowhere to store trains securely, vandalism of this type is endemic. I don't know if the railway is unable, unwilling or both to prevent this. Also at Faro, 31st August 2017. Again, click for full size.

Intercity train from Lisbon entering Albufeira 8th May 2018. Click for larger size


Some more pictures by Steve Widdowson
mostly taken June 2018 here - will open a new window
Sad to relate that nothing is being done about the repeated vandalism. Faro, 14th October 2018

                  train faro

The railway is still either unwilling or unable to combat the vandalism perpetrated by children and young adults. All the trains now look like this. Picture dated 16.1.19

Ferragudo - Parchal station 24 January 2019
A café / bar occupies the left hand side of the building.
The station is unstaffed and actually located in Parchal.
Ferragudo station
Albufeira - Ferreiras station 4 May 2019
click to see full size

The afternoon train to Lisbon arrives 4 May 2019
click to see full size
Lisbon train
A fair few board the train - click for full size

boarding the train at Albufeira
The 1429 to Faro enters the station - click for full size

Albufeira to Faro train

The same graffiti smothered train on arrival at Almancil
click for full size

train at Almancil
Below and to the right are pictures taken mostly in 2021 and 2022 by David Collins and kindly sent to me for inclusion.
Click on a thumbnail to see it full size with explanatory caption.
0458-arrives-at-Olh-o-with-wrong-destination-showing 0462-heading-east-from-Faro getting-a-clean-at-Faro
closed-station-Marim 0467-at-Olh-o heading-east-from-Olh-o
0462-leaves-Olh-o-for-Faro 0456-at-Olh-o-westbound-train
0452-waits-to-leave-Vila-Real 0456-approaching-Bom-Jo-o 0454-approaches-Fuzeta-A
coupling-up-at-Vila-Real old-photo-in-Guerreros-Bar-opposite-Faro-station
old-steam-depot-at-Vila-Real one-end-of-the-world-s-longest-railway-journey-Vila-Real rush-hour-at-Faro-Oct-2020

stranger-at-Faro-intercidades-emu the-wires-are-coming-masts-east-of-Olh-o
Portimão station exterior 22-11-23 click or tap to see large size
Portimão station 23-11-23 click or tap to see large size

                  station 2
Passengers alight at Portimão off the 0902 train from Faro. Click or tap to see large size
portimao train
Interesting piece of kit being used by the electrification project. Click or tap to see large size.
Original station sign at Portimão. Click or tap to see large size
portimao sign
Tracks at Portimão showing foundations for masts under construction. Click or tap to see large size
portimao tracks
Faro Station 19-12-23 - click or tap for larger size
Faro Station 19-12-23 - click or tap for larger size
Faro Station 19-12-23 - click or tap for larger size
Tavira station 19-12-23 - click or tap for larger size
Vila Real De Santo António 19-12-23 - click or tap for larger size
compare with the one above - new higher level platform
Vila Real De Santo António 19-12-23 - interior - click or tap for larger size
Olhão station 27th February 2024 showing the completed electrical installations - click or tap to see larger size
A general view of the station building same day.
Click or tap to see larger size

Olhão railway station interior same day.
Click or tap to see larger size.


For a list of all the timetables on the site, click here
For an alphabetical list of places in the Algarve, click here
For some important general notes about buses in the Algarve, click here
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