Anyone who visits the Douro and wants to know the region and try out the Douro line, should think of the Historical train as a must-see alternative. Our love for the Douro wine region goes way back and it is entirely justified. What nature and human effort have crated together in the Douro has been supplemented in recent years by the tourist development of the region, particularly wine tourism. The charms of the Douro line are well known to the general public and the train lovers in particular.
When we arrive at Régua station, steam engine 0186, which was built in 1925, is already belching out smoke and whistling, hitched up to the five classic, wooden carriages. The train leaves right on time to climb up the river Douro.
The carriages are completely full and you could just feel the enthusiasm of everyone, young and old, some remembering the experiences of the past and others an adventure that was about to begin. Nobody can remain indifferent to the Douro Historical Train, even those who wave as it pulls out of the station or as it puffs through stations and stops, or even the boats that pass by on the river.
Inside the carriages, the passengers’ enthusiasm is being heightened by the musical group and traditional local singers along with a glass of Ferreira Port. But the star of the show is really the journey and the Historical train. Our attention is divided between what is happening outside, on the river Douro and its marvelously worked terraces, but also by the train’s details, the sounds of the wheels on the rails, the wind in our faces, the shrill whistle of the engine and the black smoke that marks its passage. We stop at Pinhão, with its lovely glazed tile panels.
Then we head off towards Tua, the final stop for the Historical Train and where there is a small display of regional products in Tua station. Tua reminds you of a train stop in the American Far West, wild and beautiful, raw and enigmatic. After here, the vines stop since the banks of the river Douro become steeper and rockier, before reappearing further upstream. The engine is filled with water again and goes to the other end of the carriages, ready for the return journey.
We are on our way back to Régua and had a fantastic journey. The Douro is like that, it stays in your heart, regardless of your age, always knowing it can surprise us and exceed our expectations.