Following the route of the old Alcoy - Gandía railway.
On the border between the provinces of Alicante and Valencia, the waters of the River Serpis have excavated a deep and spectacular gorge over millions of years, giving rise to an abrupt landscape in which we enter today’s route, following the path of the Serpis Greenway .
The route of the old ” Tren dels Anglesos “, will also take us to discover an important page in the history of our inland regions, since this railway was a key element in the development of the industrial revolution in the region, at the head of the which was the city of Alcoi .
Get ready, because today we enter the Barranc de l’Infern ―a different one from the Vall de Laguar―, at the foot of the Sierra de la Safor . Do you accept the challenge? Keep reading!
Index of contents
Today’s linear route, 13 kilometers long (one way), will take us to see the section of the old railway between the towns of L’Orxa (Lorcha) and Villalonga.
As it is a linear and long route , I recommend doing it on two different days: first one half starting in l’Orxa, and then the other half starting in Villalonga. We can also do it by bicycle or use two cars.
If we only have one day, my recommendation is to walk the section to the Fàbrica de l’Infern (about 5 km), to return later along the same path.
History of the Alcoy - Gandía railway
In 1892, the railway route between the towns of Alcoi and Gandía was inaugurated. A railway that had been built with the aim of being able to communicate the flourishing industry of the counties of l’Alcoià and Comtat, with the nearest port, in the town of Gandía.
At the end of the 19th century, Alcoi led the industrial revolution in the Valencian Community, hence the importance of having direct communication with the port of Gandía. The train, in addition to transporting goods and raw materials, was used to carry coal to the industries of Alcoi, essential fuel to move steam engines.
The company in charge of construction and management of the railway was the “Alcoy and Gandia Railway and Harbor Company Limited”, with English investors. Hence it received the name “el tren dels anglesos”.
The railway worked for 76 years, until it was dismantled in 1969 , due to its low profitability. Currently, an association is trying to recover its memory, promoting the creation of a greenway along its route.
The Serpis Greenway extends between the towns of Muro and Gandía, linking the provinces of Alicante and Valencia, with a length of 40 km.
On today’s route, we are going to make the section between l’Orxa and Villalonga, about 13 kilometers long, crossing the gorges excavated by the River Serpis. A section of great beauty and ecological value.
We start the tour at the old l’Orxa Railway Station, at the foot of the impressive Castell de Perputxent.
Further on, the path of the greenway joins that of the River Serpis , crossing what is known as the Barranc de l’Infern , a place of singular beauty, and declared a protected landscape .
Approximately at kilometer 5, we arrive at the Fábrica de l’Infern , an old hydroelectric power station.
Several kilometers further on, we will arrive at the area known as ” El Racó del Duc “, where we also find an old hydroelectric power station, which used river water to move generators.
In this last section, before reaching Villalonga , we find the longest tunnels on the route.
Track for GPS
Although the route is not lost, I leave you the track for a GPS device, which you can follow through the wikiloc application.
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Links of interest
Article originally published in LinkAlicante in November 2011 and updated in 2021.