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European Railroad Discussion > The CP in Coimbra (1): The Serpins branch

Date: 01/08/22 09:09
The CP in Coimbra (1): The Serpins branch
Author: Steinzeit2

   One of the attractions of Coimbra in addition to the trams was the CP branch to Serpins, which continued from the side of the town station through the street and an attractive park along the river.  Unfortunately service on that branch was not that frequent, and as I recall wasn't even daily;  hence I timed my visit there -- I stayed one night -- on a day when the train would be running.  Four photos illustrate an outbound train:

1)  The train is on the street running portion, alongside the single unidirectional tram track.  All in-service trams took the curve up into town;  the straight track continued on to the tram depot, which was just ahead off that main street.  I don't recall why I didn't take any photographs there;  perhaps it was solidly gated, or there were no good views because the shed was back aways and parallel to the street.  The carbarn is now the Coimbra Urban Transport Museum, with at least one preserved tram, 15.

2)  Still street running, but not on a high traffic portion.  The street running trackage is still there, but not in this form;  road expansion has made one section part of a through road, while another portion seems to be part of a bus-only lane.

3)  With the riverfront park


Date: 01/08/22 09:34
Re: The CP in Coimbra (1): The Serpins branch
Author: Steinzeit2

4)  Proceeding along the line, viewed from the bridge over the river Mondego

     This riverfront trackage through town still exists, and the track or right of way through to Serpins has been preserved.  There was a start to convert the line to -- I think -- a light rail operation, and there seems to be evidence of some of the preliminary work done on this;  however, for financial reasons the plan ground to a halt during a recession.  There seem to have been numerous studies -- a complaint seems to be 'unending studies with no action' [ sound familiar ? ] -- about making it a busway, a guided busway, light rail, etc etc.   Someone with more interest, time, and perhaps a better understanding of the language can perhaps research this and report back;  an internet search for "Metro Mondego" is a start.
    One major stumbling block seems to be that portion of ROW immediately from the Coimbra station which is now dominated by rubber-tired traffic;  once you get out of that area, the line is well preserved, with grade separation at key locations, so most of the heavy civil engineering is done.   Another problem is that while the first few miles are relatively high density, the closer one gets to Serpins, the more rural it becomes even today.  I would think one possibility, since I think Coimbra is still operating trolleybuses -- the last such operation in Portugal -- would be trolleybus on the inner portion, and dual mode buses for farther out;  it would be a guided busway, with signalling for the 'single track' portions.  But I'm sure another study is needed.......

Best regards, SZ

Date: 01/10/22 12:44
Re: The CP in Coimbra (1): The Serpins branch
Author: Lackawanna484

Great thread.  Here's some info on the museum of urban transportation in Coimbra, Portugal.


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