May 2021. The Belgian government lifted the ban on leisure travel in April, but strict travel rules limited options. As the Balearic Islands – lles Balears or Islas Baleares – were a yellow zone, we booked flights and a hotel in Palma de Mallorca.
The second we decided to do an excursion to Manacor, on the North East of the island. We did that excursion by train. Yes, Mallorca has trains.
Mallorca has a small railway service that connects the capital, Palma de Mallorca, with several towns and villages on the island. It’s divided into three routes which run between Palma and Inca, Sa Pobla, Manacor, Marratxí, Santa María, Consell, Binissalem, Lloseta, Muro, Sineu and Petra.
There are also two metro lines in the city of Palma.
The three train routes in Mallorca cover a total of 77 kilometres and 22 stops. The first train leaves Palma at around 6 AM and runs until midnight.
The main train line is T1, which runs between Palma and Inca via Marratxí, Santa María, Consell, Binissalem and Lloseta.
It then branches off to the north (T2) to Sa Pobla via Llubí and Muro, or the south (T3) to Manacor via Sineu and Petra.
Services on the main line and metro both originate/terminate at the Estació Intermodal / Plaça d’Espanya station (Palma Intermodal Station), which opened in 2007. This vast subterranean terminus is also served by the island’s extensive inter-urban bus network.
Services on the tourist railway from Sóller terminate at the adjacent surface level station on Carrer Eusebi Estada.
Services to Manacor and Sa Pobla via Marratxí and Inca start from Platforms 5-10 at Palma Intermodal Station.
Park of the Stations
This modern facility lies beneath the Parc de Ses Estacions, which occupies land formerly used by the former surface level lines. The landscaped gardens contain several former railway buildings, and the original station buildings also survive alongside Plaça d’Espanya.
We had a brief walk in the park, which we thought was named “Park of the Six Stations“. But the word ses means de les, ‘of the’.
Underground and overground
Today the main line runs below ground until just after Son Costa / Son Fortesa station. It is grade separated along its entire length, aside from some very minor level crossings in remote rural areas. The section from El Caülls (Festival Park) to Inca offers excellent views of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range to the north.
The line is double-track from the capital to the remote halt at Enllaç, where the branches to Manacor and Sa Pobla diverge. The line to Manacor has passing places at Sineu and Petra, but the shorter Sa Pobla branch is single track throughout.
In 2013 civil engineering work had started on the extension of the Manacor line to Artà via Sant Llorenç des Cardassar and Son Servera, but work on the proposed extension of the Sa Pobla branch to Alcudia had not commenced.
By May 2014, there was no indication of any such work within Manacor itself which now has a relocated terminal station, adjacent to the main covered shopping centre. The trackbed of the former line past Cala Millor to Artà was either removed or in the process of being converted to sections of footpaths / cycleways. Most stations had been demolished although the one at Artà is now a privately owned shed.
Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca
Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca (Railway Services of Mallorca) or SFM is a company which operates the railway network on the Spanish island of Majorca. The total length, including Palma Metro, also operated by this company, is 85 km.
The rolling stock consists of thirteen EMU’s consisting of three cars each. SFM ordered these in 2008 at Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF).
These trains are 51.371 metres long and can handle 326 passengers. They go 100 kph.
The EMU’s are not special. The design is ‘typical’ and uninspired, the livery very Spanish, with white, red and yellow. The seats are okay. There is no 1st class and there is no toilet on board.
The trip to Manacor
So about the trip to Manacor. Palma Intermodal Station has more of a metro vibe than a train station vibe. Ticket vending machines are easy to figure out and operate in four languages: Catalan, Spanish, English and German.
As there aren’t many lines and desitinations, it’s not hard to find your train.
The ride to Manacor is one hour. The landscape is not really noteworthy.
The terminus at Manacor is quite interesting. The turnaround time is quite short, yet, someone cleaned the train in less than five minutes. Well, I write cleaned, but it felt more like good covid PR.
Ferrocarril de Sóller
The Ferrocarril de Sóller (FS), is an interurban railway and the name for the company which operates the electrified 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge tracks running between the towns of Sóller and Palma.
The historic electric train takes a route north from the capital across the plains, winding through mountains and 13 tunnels of the Serra de Tramuntana, finally ending in the large railway station of the northern town of Sóller.
Unfortunately this heritage railway was closed due to COVID-19 and coronavirus countermeasures. But there’s YouTube for footage.
- See Mallorca.
- Transports de les Illes Balears.
- Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca.
- Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles.
- Ferrocarril de Sóller (Wikipedia).