Vias Verdes, Spain. Like all European countries, Spain has suffered its share of railway closures, but it has not embarked on a fire sale of old railway assets which is pretty much what happened in the UK. Many old trackbeds in Spain are now 'vias verdes' (literally 'green lanes') open for walkers and cyclists, and, because of the country's terrain, there is a cornucopia of engineering features on them. The club has received reports from members of bike rides on the Vias Verdes network which took them through over 30 tunnels in a single day. If you like the sound of this, have a look at the Vias Verdes website.

Above: We start with the Bidosoa Greenway, which runs through the valley of the salmon-rich River Bidasoa on its way to the nearby Bay of Biscay. This is the back of San Miguel station, where ore from the Tres Coronas mineral line descended via an incline and was transshipped onto the Bidasoa line. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)


Left: One of five short tunnels just south of Endarlatza. This one has an opening where steps lead up to an observation platform; the bottom of the steps and a handrail can just be seen in the left foreground. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)


Above: A view along the trackbed near Sunbilla. The small dam is used to generate hydro-electric power for the town. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)


Above: The next line visited was the Urola Greenway, based on the former line from Zumarraga to Zumaia which passes the Basque Railway Museum in the old station and workshops at Azpeitia. This tunnel, preceeded by a show of flowering trees, is situated 2 miles (3 km) north of Urretxu, 10 miles (15 km) along the line. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)

Above: A narrow section of the Urola Valley, close to Aizpurutxo (11 km out), where the railway is dead straight as it passes over several bowstring bridges and through several short tunnels, whilst the road and river snake through the valley. A sharp road bend is clearly visible in the right of this picture. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)
Above: This old and truncated railway bridge over the Rio Eder marks the northern end of the Via Verde in Azpeitia. The station (now the Basque Railway Museum) is 200 metres to the west. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)
Above: Azpeitia station, a.k.a the Basque Railway Museum, boasts a 5 km preserved running line and a lot of stock, some of which can be seen here. The museum's website reveals that it contains 'an exhibition of more than sixty trains which have been completely restored and are now in working order: steam locomotives, urban tramways, passenger and merchandise carriages, trolleybuses, etc.'. It is said to be one of the most important museums of its type in Europe. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)
Above: The original electrical power room of the railway which was electrified in 1926, just two years after opening. It is not often that one gets to explore a disused electric railway. Perhaps it is the extra investment which usually seems to keep them open. 7th July 2015. (Tim Schofield)