Castilla y León enjoy something more than 400 kilometers of old railway lines of disuse that have been converted into cycling and hiking itineraries thanks to the Greenways Program of the Spanish Railways Foundation (FFE), an initiative with which 3,100 kilometers of these forgotten infrastructures have been recovered nationwide.
But this network of natural paths, which has seen how its number of visitors has increased as a result of the pandemic and, above all, due to the boom in bicycle tourism, up to over 70 percent according to the FFE itself, it continues to grow in the Community and in the next few years will add 160 kilometers more, given that the new section projected in Salamanca, on the Ruta de Silver, there are two others that are under construction in the provinces of Soria and Burgos.
The latest project to join these natural routes is the 56.5-kilometer section that will link Navalmoral de Béjar with Alba de Tormes, on the old railway between Astorga (León) and Plasencia (Cáceres). The route passes through a total of 16 Salamanca municipalities: Alba de Tormes, Encinas de Arriba, Fresnedoso, Fresno Alhándiga, Fuentes de Béjar, Guijo de Ávila, Guijuelo, Ledrada, La Maya, Montejo, Nava de Béjar, Navalmoral de Béjar, Pedrosillo de los Aires, Pizarral, Sanchotello and Sieteiglesias de Tormes.
This new section, as confirmed to Ical, sources from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, has an approximate investment of 2.7 million euros, although at the moment the start date of the work is unknown.
In addition, in this way it will link with the 22-kilometer stretch that opened in 2016 between Carbajosa de la Sagrada and Alba de Tormes, while in the south of the province it will link with Béjar to enter Extremadura through Baños de Montemayor, in another section that continues to Casas del Monte (Cáceres).
Among the sections that are under construction, the most important runs in the Burgos region of Las Merindades, along the platform of the old Santander-Mediterranean railway, in disuse since 1985. Between Castellanos de Bureba and Cidad Dosante, with just over 60 kilometers , the section runs through the municipalities of Oña, Cillaperlata, Trespaderne, Merindad de Cuesta – Urría, Medina de Pomar, Villarcayo and Merindad de Valdeporres.
The works began in December 2018 and has a budget of just over 5.3 million euros. The same sources from the Ministry of Agriculture estimate its completion by mid-2022.
This section adds a new stage to the FC Greenway. Santander – Mediterráneo, joining the three already in service on this old railway: Santelices-La Engaña tunnel (6 kilometers); Villarmero -Salas de Bureba (47 km) and Burgos-Cascajares de la Sierra. (51 kilometers).
In addition, in the province of Burgos there is another Greenway in the Sierra de la Demanda, between Arlanzón and Monterrubio de la Demanda (52 kilometers), built on most of the route of an ephemeral mining railway from the early 20th century, which carried the minerals from the Monterrubio de la Demanda, Pineda de la Sierra and Barbadillo de Herreros mines to Villafría, on the outskirts of Burgos.
Also on the old Santander-Mediterranean railway line, the section between Valcorba and Ciria, in the province of Soria, is under construction. In this case, the works are scheduled to be completed next year, as announced last summer by the government delegate in Soria, Miguel Latorre.
The municipalities involved in this project are Alconaba, Candilichera, Cabrejas del Campo, Almenar de Soria, Aliud, Buberos, Villaseca de Arciel, Portillo de Soria, Torrubia de Soria, Reznos and Ciria. The route takes place through all of them, over 43.5 kilometers.
The project, awarded in its day to Tragsa for 2.1 million euros, also includes the refurbishment of three existing iron bridges on the route and the installation of passable wooden floors for pedestrians and cyclists.
This section in Soria will be the continuation of those already executed between Abejar and Soria and between Abejar and San Leonardo de Yagüe, continuing to the Burgos town of Hontoria del Pinar.
In León, the Vía de Laciana, between Caboalles de Arriba and Villaseca de Laciana, passing through Villablino, with a route of 13 kilometers, and the Vía del Esla, between Valencia de Don Juan and Castrofuerte, of eleven kilometers are open.
For its part, Zamora also enjoys a section of the Vía de la Plata, between Barcial del Barco and Maire de Castroponce, of almost 25 kilometers.
In Palencia, the ‘donkey train’ has been recovered between the capital and the town of Castromocho, a route that has its origin in a tram project with animal traction. The section of Palencia was inaugurated in 1912, with the presence of King Alfonso XIII so that, 57 years later, he would make his last trip.
Finally, in Valladolid the section of the ‘donkey train’ of Zaratán is also operational, of just over three kilometers, the Via Valle del Eresma, which runs between Olmedo and Segovia (73.3 kilometers) and the Vía Verde de Tierra of Campos between Cuenca de Campos and Villalón de Campos, with 4.5 kilometers.