It is not as legendary as the Orient Express, but it still has the aura that is associated with the railway hotel, built by the Wagons Lits into the middle of the XX. we are talking about the D Train to the Hotel, every evening, bound to Lisbon, and Madrid, until the closure of the borders, caused by the propagation of the COVID 19, he broke with the movement on the 17th of march.
The problem is that RENFE (the National Network of Train Espanoles), which is here a guarantee for the connection, in partnership with their counterparts in Portuguese, LISBON, have announced their intention not to return, when the movement of people between the two countries to return to a normal life. An attitude like that, if it is at odds with the international trend to place bets on the means of transport that is environmentally sustainable, it is not surprising to those who are really watching the decline of the North, is increasingly difficult and expensive as compared to the offer of a flight at a good price, and are able to connect on a 50-minute in the two capitals of the iberian.
On the train, the passenger would take a little less than that at the first regularly scheduled routes in the first decade of the 1940’s, when the trains were… in the steam for 10 and a half hours, with long stops at stations in between. With the abandonment of the announced project of a high-speed connection, and the future looked increasingly uncertain.
For those nostalgic of the long journey to and from the railway line, with its glamorous, almost cinematic (and who could ever forget the lure of Eve Marie Saint and Cary Grant, ” in International Intrigue aboard a train, a night?), this decision marks the sad end of an era. Because, despite all the accidents of the journey and all the twists and turns of the History of Portugal, of Spain and of the world (and there were many), and the North Shuttle will never stop since its inception in the second World War.
This story starts of course in the golden age of rail, when the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons Lits assure you, with supreme comfort and style, the routes such as the Orient Express. On board of their wagons, and the champagne flowed freely, and the passenger list included the is easily the crowned heads, the stars of Hollywood, the diplomats, the agents of the secret service, and even writers, as such, by Agatha Christie.
Wanting to extend the reach of its network in the Iberian Peninsula, the Wagons Lits had a meeting with the companies, the predecessor of the CP and RENFE (trains) and has established a protocol for the establishment of a train, the hotel is able to link the two cities in a single night, in circumstances worthy of a Ritz carlton. The year was 1937, and Spain was plunged into a Civil War. Only in 1943, it would be possible for the two countries to usher in the train of a dream, making the connection in the train between two of the capitas had been lost since 1895, when the Sud-Express Lisbon to Paris, began to use the Beira Alta Line.
On July 1, 1943, at the University of the state railways had announced, finally, to the 23rd of the same month, with the opening of a rail of a luxury in Lisbon and Madrid, with the name of the Manchester Service, which would circle via Valencia de Alcantara, operating in the 3rd, 5ªs and was converted to be used as the terminal stations of Rossio square, in Lisbon, the Delights of Madrid. I went to london at 19h20, and arriving at the destination, by 09h30 on the following day. On the other hand, was at 20h20, with the arrival at Lisbon on the day following, at 10: 20 am.
At the time of the war, with the free movement of persons and goods, deep changes in the whole of the european continent, and, in this connection it has become vital to both countries. In such a way that, in march, 1945, the Minister of Public Works, in Portuguese) announced the need to reduce the rail due to the fuel shortages caused by the crisis in the supply of coal in the English language. There is, however, that, in order to safeguard, as noted at the time, the Lusitania Expresso, which would circle from time to time as it always had.
In the course of the following decades, the North has maintained the aura to attract the attention of those who would peek at the celebrities who went and came, as it were, on the 9th of November 1948, which was when the little prince Juan Carlos, the then resident at Lisbon, he traveled to Madrid, spain. Or when, on the 31st of March, 1969 Simone de Oliveira was apoteoticamente received in the central station of Santa Apolónia train station, coming out of the Eurofestival in the Spanish capital, after a defeat, which many Portuguese considered to be unfair.
Renamed the D Train to the Hotel in 1995, it was becoming more and more the transportation of choice for young people are integrated into the programs of the Interail, for guests in a hurry, or just plain afraid of flying. Cars are increasingly out of date and devoid of any comfort to say, well for the lack of investment in the two companies, CP, and LINKED to, this track (and the inhabitants of Extremadura, the Spanish complain about, in fact, the state of abandonment in which they are voting, mainly as a result of the termination of the extension of the c & aacute; ceres in 2012.
There are only six months old, in this instance, But Thunberg travelled from Madrid to Lisbon, on board of this train, just to re-emphasize the importance of having a means of transportation that is sustainable. But the message doesn’t seem to have arrived at their destination.