Through railway lines that fell into disuse in the Subbetica, which were previously used by the oil trains, it is possible to travel through Andalusia by bicycle and hiking paths. The beautiful landscapes of the Natural Reserve of the Subbética Mountain Range are perfectly matched to the preserved railway architecture, which is composed of four viaducts, five stations, a 139-metre tunnel, thirteen housing buildings ranging from level crossing huts (roads intersections), labourer’s huts to railway workers houses, all of which have differing conservation status. Moreover, there are a total of six rest areas which are composed of benches, picnic tables, waste bins and bicycle parking.
OLIVE OIL TRAIN HISTORY
On 30th April 1875, Jorge Loring (late the Marquis of Loring) added his name to the railway construction project, which included the following extract: “the most of cities in Andalusia now linked by rail, there still remain entire regions with inexhaustive sources of riches… Well known is the agricultural importance of towns such as Lucena, Cabra, Baena, Martos and Jaén, whose main source of wealth comes from exporting, cereals and wine, and yet, as a result of their distance from railway lines, find their trade hindered by the overlong and defective forms of transport”. The initial cost of the project was set at 32,205,400 pesetas (193,558.35 €) and two years later, on July 1877, “La Gaceta de Madrid” (later the B.O.P.), announced that the line had been granted to Jorge Loring y Oyazábal, as representative of the Larios if Málaga Syndicate and other investors, such as the Marquis of Gándara and the Banque Camond of Paris, who joined the project with the aim of founding the Andalusian Railway Company, which would, together with the Ministry for Public Works, created the line and its infrastructure. In order to alleviate the radial effect of the railway lines laid by the major companies, in 1877 the Andalusian railway Company created a shorter route from Madrid to Algeciras and Málaga. This provided a rail service to an emerging area, with outlets to both ports for the heavy metals mined around Linares and the food products from Jaén and the south of Córdoba, leading what became the old train. On 22nd January 1893, Mr. Contreras, chief engineer of the new company, addressed the governor of Córdoba and Jaén, telling them: “It is an honour for me to inform you that as of yesterday, the entirety of the iron line from Puente Genil to Linares is open for business”. The new line (1877) was 177 kms. long with 17 stations (7 in the Subbética region: Lucena, Cabra, Luque-Baena, Doña Mencía, Moriles-Horcajo, Zuheros y Campo Real). The line entered its first crisis in the 1950s, and the tracks were last used by a train in 1985.
Map and material
The beginning of the Green Way is located in the Guadajoz River Viaduct. This amazing bridge is above the Guadajoz river course, which forms a natural border between the provinces of Jaén and Córdoba.
Along the Green Way of the Subbetica there are located two Zones of Active Sports. These are located in Zuheros Bridge and in the Bridge of the Sima. The ZDAS are enabled for the development of activities such as climbing, abseiling and bungee jumping.
Five stations and a halt along the route. Nowadays, two of them are used as restaurants (Luque and Doña Mencía). While Cabra station has the Olive Oil Interpretation Centre.
The centre recreates a 1920-1930 railway station. Different rooms and environments are contemplated there. There we find an area dedicated to the history of the Olive Oil Train and to the recreation of a railway platform, an area dedicated to the olive groves in the region and another part of the museum refers to the Green Way of the Subbética.