AN UN-TOUCHED AND UN-DISCOVERED WORLD
Characterised by long, winding tracks nestled in breathtaking landscapes, the narrow-gauge Sardinian Railways have always attracted the attention of travellers. Transporting you far from glamorous resorts and popular tourist attractions is the Trenino Verde, the “Little Green Train.” The appropriate name given to this unique railway is a tribute to the route it takes through some of the greenest and most lush areas of the island. The railway allows you to discover the more suggestive and traditional face of the land; an excellent way to experience hidden treasures you otherwise wouldn’t stumble across in the more frequented areas of the island.
The Trenino Verde takes tourists to a remote world, little changed in over 100 years. Navigating through the heart of the island, the train meanders past authentic, unchanged scenes, showcasing staggeringly beautiful views. It’s steady speed is perfect for the relaxed tourist; roaming the island at a pace that allows you to fully enjoy the ancient charms and eclectic nature of your surroundings.
A FIRERY JOURNEY
This Little Green Train was once pulled along by heaving steam locomotives, but switched to diesel after multiple fire-incidents, in which the lush countryside would be set alight. Now, diesel engines do a stunning job of navigating the train along this unique railway, in the absence of fire.
THE MANDAS-ARBATAX LINE; SARDINIAS MOST SPECTACULAR LINE-
Built at the end of the 1800’s, the Mandas-Arbatax line runs through the hilly regions of Ogliastra and Barbagia, taking in stunning panoramas all the way. This journey, a roller-coaster ride through a jumble of mountains and meadows, travels past electric-blue ocean views, navigates through long tunnels and adventures over audacious iron bridges.
Climbing steep mountains with great gusto, the Little Green Train boasts an engineering marvel. It makes short work of the huge massif of Gennargentu, the highest point in Sardinia. And at 870m above sea level, the striking views at the peak of the mountain unquestionably add to this railways magnificence. Lake Flumendosa sits beneath the mountain range, reflecting its dramatic peaks as the Trenino Verde makes its descent, traveling past historic local towns that warmly welcome the diesel-hauled train. Great places to stop and have a bite of lunch and a coffee.
Approaching the coast views of the dazzling sea and rugged coast are displayed, before the train plunges down the jagged mountains to Arbatax, the railway station by the ocean.
A VISIT TO THE WORKSHOP
The nerve centre of any railway is its workshop, and the Trenino Verde is blessed with a large and dedicated industrial era complex in Cagliari. Here, the little trains are restored and maintained with great care and love. The network of lines that make up the Trenino Verde were once much more extensive, as were the workshops to support them. These days they’re a living museum, where all manner of disused rolling stock is stored together with hives of activity in which amazing restorations are carried out.
Lots of work is being done to keep vintage trains operating and a few steam locomotives are kept in working order for special outings. On a recent visit I was especially impressed with the restoration of some of the beautiful timber bodied, teak-wood carriages used in the early part of the 20th century. Without the efforts of the engineers and artisans inside these atmospheric workshops our little trains would not be out and about hauling us in style through the wilds of this wonderful captivating island.
Watch our video, a little taste of Sardinia and its Railways, and my visit to the workshop! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtvCTRYbLfQ
The Islands Of The Mediterranean tour, departing in 2017, features the railways of Sardinia, Corsica and Sicily in a unique adventure.