Old train station to be restored
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.
The 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
An 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”.
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