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1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Monday, 21 July 2014

Why are the Douro trains so dirty?

 Port vineyards through the streaks of grime 

The ride up the Douro from Porto São Bento
is recognized as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. Unlike the road the train hugs the river from around Aregos (a little over an hour from Porto) right up to Pocinho, the train’s terminus. The landscape, classified by UNESCO, is increasingly magnificent, especially after Pinhão, with the vineyards (Port and Douro reds) playing a starring role. Sadly many of the windows of the Douro train are engrained with dirt, spoiling both the landscape and any photos you take.

Curiously the other suburban trains that operate around Porto are very modern and clean as are the ALFA trains running from Porto to Lisbon. Why doesn't Portuguese Railways bother to clean their Douro trains? Equally shouldn't the Portuguese Tourist Board put pressure on the railway to present their wonderful UNESCO World Heritage site in its best possible light?

It is true that train ticket prices are low but they are throughout Portugal and the trains are often clean. I understand that the Douro line is under pressure due to dwindling traffic because of the move away from the country to towns. Presumably improved road links have also played their part as have the popularity of Douro River cruises.

I presume that trains running during the winter between Regua and Pocincho will carry very little traffic. It is a pity that Portuguese Railways and the Portuguese tourist bodies do not do more to promote the regular services on the line, although they do run special trains between Regua and Tua. The journey up the Douro has obvious appeal to wine lovers but is surely much wider than that as the success of the cruises shows.

Is there a place here for some more imaginative promotion and marketing?

The Douro train@Pocinho

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