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Sardinia
 
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THE GREEN TRAIN
  The Green Train
 
Il trenino verdeWith the name “Trenino Verde” (Green Train) we refer to the tourist service of the State Railways. This train is set on a railway with narrow tracks and passes through a territory rich in vegetation. Numerous English operators programming their trips to Sardinia each year insert this suggestive attraction in their itineraries defining it “the train in the wilderness” to purposely underline the trip across a savage and uncontaminated wilderness, where the railway seems part of this landscape, together with the road mender’s house, the stations, the viaducts, and all of the railway engineering artworks. The English also like to shout, before departing for their trip, “Don’t fasten your seat belts!”, emphasizing an other important aspect of this train ride, and that is the right speed to consent the appreciation of the island landscape in every aspect, while you proceed, gingerly, in an environment unreachable by other means. For the tourist the trip is the most enjoyable and stimulating moment of the day; but it is also an exceptional experience for the schools, due to its educational value and for the possibility of using the train as a special classroom on the railroad. Travel on this train is made possible by simply buying a ticket at the station of departure, in any authorized agency or directly on the train. The prices, the periods and the timetable in which the service is active are posted at the railroad stations or you can visit the sites www.treninoverde.com e www.ferroviesardegna.it. Those wanting to organize their own trips in complete liberty in terms of itinerary, timetables, stops, and composition of the wagons, also have the possibility of renting a locomotive. The most demanding travelers can even reserve an original model locomotive: a steam engine with wooden wagons that will make you feel like you’re in the XIX century! In very exceptional cases the old Fiat 509 (1929) that was used for inspections along the track can be hired. The price is proportional to the trip requested: duration, itinerary and composition. Attention!!! The Railways have activated other tourist lines in addition to the '(Alghero- Sassari)- Nulvi- Palau', described herein, which are: 'Nuoro- Macomer- Bosa'; '(Cagliari- Mandas- Arbatax'; '(Cagliari)- Isili- Sorgono'. Information is available on the site www.treninoverde.com or at the toll free number 800 460220.
 
  THE SASSARI-NULVI-PALAU LINE
 
The departure is from the station of the State Railway of the city of Sassari, where the FdS train is positioned on the track with the smaller gauge (term used to indicate the distance between the rails) with respect to the other tracks. Proceeding north you pass the outskirts of the city, thus arriving to a bifurcation: on the left, the track for Sorso and, to the right, the one that takes you to Palau. The train climbs slightly, across the hillsides and some ravines, by way of some lovely viaducts. The first stop is Filigheddu, followed by the nearby Achettas. The climb becomes steeper, until it reaches the beautiful and well kept station of Osilo, whose centre appears dominated by the towering Malaspina castle (XIII century). You are then in Anglona: ample pastures, cultivated at tracts, in a hillside landscape that is variable with the change of the seasons. The train proceeds in its climb and arrives to the highest point of this part of the track, in the station of Fenosu; from here starts a lengthy and gentle descent until reaching the boundaries with the Gallura.
 
The train passes through a vegetation that gradually becomes thicker, climbing higher with wide curves. After the stop at Scala Rui the trip follows one of the most beautiful tracts of the entire line, through a landscape that is contradistinguished by the granite stones and by the cork-oaks, symbols of the hinterlands of the Gallura. The ruggedness of the territory, so suggestive in appearance, rendered the work of the railway constructors very difficult many decades ago. Galleries and viaducts follow in succession, amongst them the Bortigiadas, an authentic engineering masterpiece, formed by a spiral of more than 500 meters into the mountains. After the stations of Bortigiadas and Aggius, centre dominated by the characteristic profile of its mountains, we arrive at the highest point of the entire line, in the beautiful station of Tempio, made in 1931 to replace the more ancient one that dated back to the end of the XIX century. The train proceeds downhill towards the great oak trees and the establishments for cork and granite works. On the left you can see the unique form of the Monti di Aggius, and to the right, the Monte di Deu. At this point you reach the little station of Nuchis, fraction of Tempio, and afterwards, the station of Luras, a small distance away.
 
Up until 1958 there was another line that allowed you to arrive up to Monti, and connect to the State Railway again from here, upon crossing the Limbara. The next stop is Calangianus. Then, you proceed north, in search of the sea. You pass the stops at San Leonardo and of Riu Piatu and border the Lake of Liscia to arrive afterwards to the lovely little station of Sant’Antonio. The train passes through a gallery and the landscape changes again, with a vegetation that is less dense. One after another you pass the stops of Oddastru, Capichera, Caldosa and Arzachena.
 
You can feel the presence of the sea, but you still cannot see it: the landscape is more open and luminous, the next stop is Surrau, right on the state roadway. The train then enters into a valley that becomes narrower, until at the end the sea appears in front of you; the wait is rewarded by the beauty of the extraordinary panorama of the coast of Porto Raphael and the archipelago of the Maddalena. You reach the first station of Palau and, after about one kilometer, the second in the terminal of Palau Marina, on the harbor in front of the boarding dock for the ferry boats to the island of La Maddalena.
 
 

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