Ronda - Mr Henderson's Railway

Makers plaque, possibly from a steam shovel or crane used in constructing the railway.  © Michelle Chaplow .
Makers plaque, possibly from a steam shovel or crane used in constructing the railway.

MR Hendersons Railway

In the 1890's, a railway was built by the Algeciras (Gibraltar) Railway Company Ltd between Algeciras and Ronda and Bobadilla where it connected with the existing Cordoba to Malaga line to give access to Madrid and Europe. Nowadays the train journey from Algiceras or San Roque makes a lovely day trip through stunning scenery and historic sites, with gastronomic surprises en route. As well as the novelty of spotting British Victorian railway memorabilia the route passes the beautiful Genal valley in place there is no road access.

The mastermind behind the railway was a British engineer, John Morrison, backed by his friend and wealthy financier Sir Alexander Henderson - later, the first Lord Faringdon. The two men had already cut their teeth on ambitious railway projects in South America. It ran from Algeciras to Bobadilla, where it met the main line to Madrid, the gateway for the rest of Europe. The first section of the railway up to Jimena was officially opened in October 1890, and the next to Ronda in November 1892, operating six passenger trains daily through 22 stations and costing 11 pesetas and 65 centimos (8c) for a first class seat from San Roque to Ronda.

History

Historical Timeline  by Chris Chaplow

Gibraltar connection article about the railway and its history by Bellinda Becket published July 2013.

Acccount of the journey and the history by Sue Walk first publised in winter 1995 edition of Mediteranean Life magazine.


PRIVATE DAY TOUR


If your party is interested in a private Henderson Railway Tour with morning pickup from your Hotel (or Apartment / Villa) on the Costa del Sol. Visit Hotel Reina Cristina in Algeciras, ride the Henderson Railway and time for a stroll in Ronda for return drive down to the coast. Contact Andalucia.com for more information by clicking on the 'Contact us' button in the bottom right of this page.  As a guide the cost is about 150€ per person for a group of four to eight.     

ALGECIRAS TO RONDA AND BACK by TRAIN

Nowadays the trains are more modern and comfortable and although they lack open windows to hang your head out of, the view is nonetheless spectacular.  There are only two stopping and three express trains a day from Algiciras or San Roque to Ronda. Here is a timetable to download and plan your journey.  

One option for visitors from the Costa del Sol is to take the late morning train from Algeciras (11.45) or San Roque (12.01) to one of the village stations described below. Then take the late afternoon train on to another village station or Ronda (arr 17.13)  If you go to Ronda you have the option to return on the express at 18.47 otherwise return on the stopping train which leaves Ronda at 19.40 hrs.  

STATIONS


Note: San Pablo, Jimera de Libar and Arriate stations have excellent restaurants housed in restored building on the actual stations. Ideal for a gastronomic journey. 

Algeciras
Main terminal Station in the port town of Algeciras.
Los Barrios
Station near the village of Los Barrios, in the Campo de Gibraltar.
San Roque
San Roque La Linea
Station close to the hill town of San Roque, and La Linea de la Concepcion, border town with Gibraltar.
Almoraima
Station for fortified Moorish town of Castellar de la Frontera and other rural communities. In a beautiful natural environment: the Alcornocales Natural Park (cork oak forest).
Castellar   Station closed and demolished. evidence of building and sidings remain. At junction of CA-512 and A-405 roads.
Jimena de la Frontera
Station in the 'estacion' area, below the pueblo blanco (white hilltown) of Jimena de la Frontera.
San Pablo
Station for the tiny village of San Pablo de Buceite. Excellent restaurant housed in the station building and on its old platform.
Gaucin
Station 8km down the hill from Gaucin, one of Andalucia's most famous white hilltop villages, in the village of El Colmenar. Was location of much loved Casario Ananda (2007 to 2015) restaurant in the old good shed. Start of Cañón de las Buitreras walk (natural monument).
Cortes de la Frontera
Station below Cortes de la Frontera. End of Cañón de las Buitreras walk.
Jimera de Libar
Station in small village of Jimera de Libar. Start of Guy Hunter-Watts' walk of Mr Henderson's Railway.
Benaojan Montejaque
Station in lower part of Benoajan village, with good hotels and restaurants, close to Montejaque village and Cueva de la Gata. End of Guy Hunter Watts' walk of Mr Henderson's Railway.
La Indiana   Now closed but visitable station that served the Legion's camp.
Arriate
Station in village of Arriate, near Ronda. Restaurant, El Muelle de Arriate, in former goods shed, with large terrace.
Ronda
Main station in town of Ronda.
Parchite   Station closed and demolished, only foundations can still be seen. 
Setenil   Station outside the village of Setenil, Original scales in platform
Almargen - Cañete la Real   Station in the village of Almargen, watertanks and lamp brackets.
Teba   Station now closed, little remains of original.
Campillos   Station outside the Vilage of Campillos. 
Bobadilla   Station on the 1865 Cordoba - Malaga line that Henderson linked to at Bobadilla. 

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