Monday, September 28, 2015

Service Change: Portugal, Part 6 - Lisbon to Sintra Suburban Line

Sintra is a village to the west of Lisbon that's considered a must-see if you visit Portugal. And indeed, it's quite a lovely, if touristy village, with multiple palaces and castles. But how do you get to Sintra? Well, your best option is certainly the frequent suburban train from Lisbon, operated by CP Urban Services. Let's take a look.

But first, here's a view of the village from atop an old moorish castle!
Trains to Sintra run from either Oriente or Rossio Stations - on the way there, we used the latter. Rossio is right in downtown Lisbon, and it's a beauty. Honestly, just look at the pictures and see for yourself.

An electronic destination board.
Fare gates leading to the station - we had a bit of an issue with the ticket machines but some nice employees helped us out.
A map of the network. 
Just look at that!
The tunnels leading out of the station.
Looking down the station.
The mezzanine, which was kinda boring, to be honest.
The train!
The train again!
Some destination screens.
Since the Sintra Line is a commuter line, the trains have some degree of comfort inside. However, this is also a busy commuter line, so there are poles for standees, too - and there were standees. The train also had screens displaying the next stop, but I seriously can't remember if it had automatic announcements or not...

The inside of one of the cars.
"Next stop," says the screen.
Right after Rossio Station, the line went into a tunnel. It was underground all the way through the city until we surfaced at a yard, heading west from there. The first stop was Benfica, which we had previously visited on our 729 ride.

That aforementioned yard.
The Sintra Line is consistently urban most of the way.
After Benfica, the stops came often and were very close together. After Monte Abraao Station, it went from four tracks to two and the surroundings got a bit more rural. But soon after that, it was urban once again when we reached Cacem Station. A small branch line split off after that, while we continued to the modern Rio de Mouro Station.

A small field.
Some apartments.
A small parking lot.
Up on a hill.
What a view!
Again, what a view!
Whaddayaknow, another great view!
Some buildings going up a hill.
We stopped at a few more stations, then went by a small yard. We went under a highway and through a brief rural section before reaching Portela de Sintra. This is the station for the more local part of the village, but we were going one stop further to where all the tourists go. And after a short tunnel, we reached Sintra station, which was a nice and simple terminus.

An urban parking lot.
Some smaller houses.
An open area.
The right-of-way got tight in Sintra.
The train at Sintra.
Looking down the platform one way...
...and the other.
The small entrance area.
The station from outside.
Although Sintra does have a bus system run by Scotturb, we weren't able to ride any of their buses. The train ride back to Lisbon was a bit different than the one there, however. For one thing, the inside was slightly different, but for another, our train was going to Oriente instead of Rossio. In terms of views, it didn't matter for us since we took the train back at night, but it is above ground all the way to Oriente. We didn't go that far, disembarking earlier at Entrecampos and getting on the Metro.

The train at the now-quiet Sintra Station.
Ooh, this one is fancy! I wonder if there's any significance to the two random red seats.
The train at Entrecampos.
Speeding away into the darkness.
Looks nice!
The platform.
And finally, the spacious mezzanine, heading for the Metro home.

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