Presidential train: An experience that celebrates everything that is Portugal

Twenty journeys on this museum on rails are planned from March 2024

More than just an exquisite journey, the 2024 Presidential Train promises to be a mobile ambassador for the Douro, bringing the soul, food, wine and stories of this unique region into its carriages. The mission is to ensure that each passenger not only travels through the Douro, but experiences, feels and lives the region in all its dimensions, on a museum piece.

This immersive experience, which celebrates the country's railway history and brings together CP - Comboios de Portugal, the National Railway Museum Foundation and Chef Chakall, begins in March 2024. Twenty journeys will take place over 10 weekends in a celebration of Portugal.

Each journey, in a veritable museum on rails, will highlight one of 10 Douro estates, allowing each one to showcase the best of its production, making the Presidential Train an extension of the region itself.

On board, passengers will be able to savour dishes prepared by Chef Chakall, which will be a mosaic of Douro flavours. There will also be a main course prepared by local chefs from restaurants chosen for the authenticity of their dishes, showcasing what is most genuine. Stories about the train, the Douro and the places the train passes through will also be shared, making each journey a rich and memorable cultural experience.

The president of CP, Pedro Moreira, emphasised the history of this train, dating back to 1890, "which has transported kings, heads of state and popes". "It has been restored by CP, which is something we are very proud of," he pointed out. Putting the Presidential Train on the tracks "is a way of bringing the Museum out into the open, of making this piece come alive, of enriching the experience that everyone can have on board," says Pedro Moreira, justifying the choice of Chef Chakall for the project by the fact that he, too, wants to promote national and regional gastronomy. "This train is going to involve a lot of the region, with various farms and restaurants on board presenting their best products. Added to this is the landscape which, for me, is one of the best in the world," he says, thanking the partners and CP workers who helped make the idea a reality. "This train was developed with passion and a spirit of mission. We believe it will be a fantastic, unique and unforgettable experience," says the president of CP.

The renowned Chef Chakall is certain about this project: "we will have the best wines and the best dishes from Portugal". The main goal is to "represent the good of the region". "I hope to have excellent service that shows that we love Portugal," he explains. "We're going to have 10 restaurants with emblematic dishes. The main course will always be from a cook who doesn't get the recognition he or she deserves. This train will be family orientated," he adds.

Manuel Cabral, from the National Railway Museum Foundation, defines this as a project "of the territory and for the people", emphasising its local dimension and identity. He recalls that this train, which underwent a dynamic restoration precisely in order to be used, is "a kind of living museum, a museum outside the museum", representing the national railway heritage. "Anyone involved in tourism knows that there are two essential words for boosting tourism: experiences and emotions. That's what this Presidential Train is all about, providing experiences and provoking emotions in people," he said.

The mayor of Vila Nova de Foz Côa, João Paulo Sousa, made a point of welcoming the train at Pocinho Station on the presentation journey and praised CP's role in the territorial cohesion of this region and in attracting people to the area. After the Almond Route, this Presidential Train is "the icing on the cake". João Paulo Sousa expressed the municipality's willingness to provide support in terms of transport and tourist information for visitors arriving at the station.

Journeys on board the Presidential Train cost €750 and can be booked on the CP website.

Downloadable photos: https://we.tl/t-l34iGEsNNP.