Monte railway station restoration. Alinda. Ceramics exhibition.

Old train station to be restored

Artists impression of new Monte railway station

The Diario online reports that the Câmara do Funchal has acquired and will restore the old Monte railway station, to make the building a space an “evocation of historical memory”. Paulo Cafôfo, the Mayor of Funchal announced that the local authority has reached an agreement with the five heirs who own the building. “We are talking about a sum of €200,000 for the acquisition of this old station”. Plans for the building, with the aim of restoring it to its original condition,  include a Tourist Information Centre, a small auditorium and a multipurpose room for cultural and musical activities, with the former box office transformed into a cafeteria. It is not planned be a museum.

Photo of old Monte railwayThe train from Funchal to Monte started at Rua do Pombal and was inaugurated on July 16, 1893, going as far as Levada de Santa Luzia, using an imported German steam  engine . It was then extended to Monte and continued to Terreiro da Luta, an extension of almost four kilometres taking it to an elevation of 850 metres, and was used by both tourists and locals. In September 1919, when the train was climbing in the direction of the Monte, its boiler exploded which put the locomotive out of action for five months. An additional accident occurred in January 1932 when the train derailed. From then on the railway operations gradually decayed as it was considered dangerous.This fact combined with the beginning of World War II, and the consequent decrease in the number of visitors to Madeira, the company that exploited the railway services went bankrupt. The last train journey taking place in April 1943.

Paulo Cafôfo also highlighted the “enormous tourist potential” of that locality, mentioning that it is sought by thousands of tourists who use the cable car and the traditional basket toboggans. “What we lacked here was, at the entrance to the Monte, the Fountain Square, a reception for the thousands of tourists” that pass in that place, he said. The mayor estimated that the restoration will cost €400,000, and assured that the municipality wants to “move forward with the project as soon as possible. “We expect at least that at the beginning of next year this will be completed,” he said. A project to re-build the rack-railway itself has been abandoned.

Alinda at anchor

Photo of Alinda cargo shipAn unusual sight in the bay of Funchal recently, where the bulk cargo carrier Alinda has been conspicuous at anchorage since arriving at the end of last week – particularly at night when it is brightly illuminated. It is en-route from Santo Tomas De Castilla in Guatemala to Gibralter and is scheduled to leave on the 27th. No idea why this should be moored in the bay – normally vessels of this type would head for Canical.

Ceramics exhibition in Prazeres

Thanks to regular contributor Ellen for sending in details of a ceramics exhibition by Doris Mitchell of Estreito – the “Pure and Celadon” exhibition runs until  April 9th at the Prazeres gallery, on the side street next to the church, opposite the Quinta. I have to admit to Googling “Celadon”, which turns out to be a” grey-green glaze used on pottery, especially that from China”.

Doris Mitchell exhibition poster

The exhibition is open Saturday and Sundays, plus Public Holidays from 10.00 – 13.00 and 14.00 – 18.00
Galeria dos Prazeres, Sítio da Igreja, 9370-603 Prazeres, Calheta

8 thoughts on “Monte railway station restoration. Alinda. Ceramics exhibition.”

  1. Beautiful overhead conversation on the bridge over the Magnolia Garden today:

    Timeshare shark ‘Do you speak English’

    Large Gentleman with Highland Scottish accent ‘No I do not!!’

    The look on the timeshare man’s face was priceless

  2. Brilliant that the Monte railway station is to be restored. Great history long overdue to be remembered. Plus, the Fountain Square is long overdue something special, including an eatery that is more welcoming than the Sun place on the other corner. Great news. Good luck to the development. Maybe someone enterprising will also organise some walks up the hill along the old railway route.

  3. Hello Ann B: There is a youtube video called “Monte to Terreiro da Luta walk in Madeira”. Bad resolution, but informative. The thing is that I did this walk a couple of years ago, and like most people was unconscious about the Virgin Peace Statue. The walk up is very safe on a pebbled road called Levada das Cales. You feel almost like a pilgrim, because of the stone crosses with quotes every fifty meters. My point is that when I came almost to the top, before entering Camino dos Petros, I discovered the charming house on the left, which most likely must have been the restaurant at the final stop of the Monte steem Railway. But the detail which confirmed my theory was a rusty pipe below the south gate to the garden. Since my father was a steem railway enthusiast, I definitly recognize a water filling pipe for a steem locomotive! You can easily from that point see where the rail track ran down the hill.


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