The train journey from Lisbon to the Algarve or the passengers' ordeal

Report of another very troubled train journey, from Lisbon to the Algarve

Summer is synonymous with vacations as well as travel. However, it was not in this situation that I traveled from the Algarve to Lisbon on the 31st of July. The trip began in the morning, on the Alfa Pendular, on a normal route, despite some turbulence in parts of the route, which has not been felt for a few months.

The return would depend on several factors, either at Alfa at 17:30 pm or at Intercidades at 18:40 pm, both in Entrecampos, which is why the ticket was not purchased in time.

The day, as it always happens, went fast and after a few hurried steps and finally taking a taxi, I arrived at Entrecampos station at 17:15 pm. Perfect, I thought as I entered.

There were, however, only two open counters and an endless line for purchasing tickets, passes, information, etc. Bad, this is going to be difficult, I thought. Without taking my eyes off the clock, 10 minutes later it was my turn. The diligent employee, when I asked for the ticket, heaved a sigh, and cut short "around 14:00 the Alfa was already sold out", even so confirmed what was confirmed and I had no chance.

I even suggested the idea of ​​acquiring the respective title only from Pinhal Novo, but the employee laughed to question me, after all, how was I going to get to that station? On second thought, I'm no longer old enough to play games… Not without first questioning if Intercidades was really going to leave at 18:40 pm? The definitive answer was yes, not least because he was starting the march in Lisboa Oriente. There was nothing to fear then… After all it was only an hour… It is true that I often see him arriving in Messines much later than the scheduled time, or scheduled, as they used to say. But, on a Wednesday, I would definitely meet the schedule...


At the appointed time, there was me and many other passengers waiting for the composition, standing, as the seats are few and the trains, many and always arriving and departing.

The sound system, however, did not bring good news, after all the train was late, first 5 minutes, then 7, 10, anyway... I went down to the ticket office to ask for explanations and complain on paper, but the queue had grown immensely and I went to in front of all those people it wasn't going to be lightly and for exaltation mine was enough.

I went back up… and the same voice “the Intercidades train bound for Faro which should enter line n.º4 circulates with a delay of 15 minutes. We apologize for the inconvenience caused”…

I went back downstairs. But the queue was even longer, as a counter had closed in the meantime...

I returned to the platform and, of course, the late train arrived at the station after 19:20 pm, more than 40 minutes later than scheduled.

I confess, I was possessed! It is one thing every half-dozen minutes to communicate the increase in delay, another is to assume its entirety immediately. Around me everyone protested.

By coincidence, Congressman Paulo Sá was also traveling to the Algarve in the same carriage, whom I approached and asked to intercede for the interests of the region, the Algarve deserve better transport. Extremely friendly, he told me that he traveled frequently and that, on several occasions, he had taken the matter to Parliament, even motivating the approval of resolutions in this regard in the Assembly of the Republic...

But the vicissitudes of the train journey had not ceased. It's just that, in the bathrooms, there was no water, nor had they been cleaned, who knows when…

And after Grândola… the odor in the carriage became unbearable, not even in 1st class, where I traveled exceptionally, did it save me from misfortune.


dirty glasses

The windows are already dirty and they lived up to normality… Now, dirty bathrooms without water, in a train full of passengers, many of them foreigners in transit to the most touristic region of Portugal, is inadmissible!

I pulled out my cell phone and walked through carriages and bathrooms confirming, in photographs, the unacceptable… Well, yes, it was unimaginable!

In addition to the “party”, we left Grândola 1h5min late… There we came without major changes, except in Amoreiras, where we arrived in the dark, for a little before departure the station lights up: the miracle of light, I thought .

At 22:15 pm, we were in Messines. In Tunis, passengers change trains to stations as far as Lagos and there they were awaited by an old train, with two carriages, which seemed to have been resurrected from some sanitary landfill, dirty and noisy.

Among the dozens of passengers in transit from one train to another, mostly foreigners, there was an odor of expensive fragrances… The train in which they were now traveling to Barlavento was certainly the most miserable they have ever used… They deserved better and more respect, just like us the Algarvians…

But our journey had already come to an end... And dirt and delays are all the rage in the last 130 years, since the train arrived in Faro, on July 1, 1889.


Amoreiras-Odemira station without light on train arrival

But, dear reader, after all, why was the Intercidades train running late and dirty? And why is the situation so frequent?

It's very simple. There are two Intercidades trains that travel daily from Faro to Lisbon and vice versa. Trains that, in Lisbon, receive passengers from the Northern Line and the like.

Now, if the train that leaves Porto arrives late in Lisbon, early in the morning, the train from the Algarve, and very well, waits. Only, if it leaves the origin late, the later it will reach Faro and then it always delays, in such a way that, at a certain point, there is no time for cleaning, you have to reverse the locomotive and then it goes fast...

We already know that there are no new compositions, but in this case it's only about hygiene. The exterior is only cleaned when it rains and this winter it didn't bring us any water, and brooms and extendable cables are something CP – Comboios de Portugal doesn't know about.

As for the interior, it's sloppiness and incompetence. It is better to assume that trains are delayed and that there is a greater delay between the arrival of trains from the north and the departure of trains from the south, at least in the summer, that there are more passengers. Don't the schedules always change in summer?

But that's done by those who don't ride the train… Only, honestly, they deserved this punishment. Irra, there is no patience!!!



Author Aurélio Nuno Cabrita is an environmental engineer and researcher of local and regional history, as well as a regular collaborator of the Sul Informação