A History of a Holiday in Fifteen Trees – Three

The railway line linking Barcelona to Mataró, 34 miles up the coast, was opened in 1847. The line divorced every town on its route, including Premià de Mar, from the seashore by hugging the coast. Nowadays a busy main road also runs alongside.

But the railway brought advantages too, by bringing raw materials (coal from England for the gasworks!) to agricultural and manufacturing industries, and by taking produce (fruit and vegetables, textiles) to their markets further afield.

Still, those early trains were regarded with deep suspicion, as evil and malevolent. Early travellers took no chances. They would make their wills before embarking on their journey. Market gardeners were convinced the smoke from the engines would harm the crops and they would become bankrupt. And steam engines require axle grease. Where could that fat come from? Weren’t there reports of babies and children going missing in Barcelona? Hmm?

Nowadays, this is the scene from the goods yard, now known as Descarroga beach – ‘decarrogar‘ is ‘to unload‘ in Catalan. The train line still exists, but silent electric rolling stock dependably transports commuters, but no freight, to and from Barcelona.


Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

39 thoughts on “A History of a Holiday in Fifteen Trees – Three”

  1. Oh my, you do tell a tale, Margaret…brilliant illustrative posts….the malevolent early days of steam, people making their wills, reports of babies and children going missing in Barcelona for axle grease….ye gods!

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  2. Fascinating, as Sue says, you sure tell a good tale. Interesting how many beaches are cut off by railway lines. We have one close by, the St Erth to St Ives branch line. Great views from aboard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thanks Becky (blushes modestly and inspects her toes with downcast eyes). You had me snapping trees all over the place just in case they came in handy.


      1. How lovely. Babies are so enjoyable as long as there are parents attached somewhere when they get a bit “tricky,” as my friend from Australia says. I thought that was an appropriate word. 🙂

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      2. Yes, my grandparents shuffled me between them as both of my parents were only children, and I was the first baby in our family in 25 years on both sides. I didn’t really meet my parents until I started school. 🙂

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      3. LOL, Margaret. I enjoy the immediacy and brevity of blogging more than the pain of carving out words and descriptions that remain in your heart and mind. I wish I had the tenacity to stay with it until the published end.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You could talk to Emily about that – public transport is excellent in the region – though of course In Time of Covid she more often works from home. Miquel favours the motor bike option.


  4. It is interesting that freight by rail is pretty much dead in so many countries. Seems such a waste of infrastructure. Thanks for the interesting bit of history and the photos of the seaside trees.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. And to think in the 1950s and thereabouts there were at least two mail deliveries a day – even to small towns and villages.
        But then they didn’t have the Internet …

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  5. Fascinating. I was just watching a programme about similar concerns in the US Wild West as trains with engine breath made their appearance.
    And I’ve got more feel for the space – I’ve taken the train along there, and also been to Badalona just south (to visit Ikea!!)

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