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Transnational cooperation between rural areas

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The “Eco-Rail” project:
the key phases


  • 1993: the desire to develop the Bilbao-León railway for tourism leads the Montaña Palentina LEADER group to come up with a simple, low-cost and environmentally responsible system: the concept of the “cyclerail” (“ciclorail” in Spanish) takes form.

  • 1994: the first prototype cyclerail is developed by the LEADER group and by the head of the workshop school of Barruelo de Santullán.

  • 1995: the “ciclorail” name is registered and the prototype patented in Spain.

  • 1995-96: the LEADER group obtains a permit from the FEVE (Spanish network of narrow railways) for testing - a second prototype cyclerail, less cumbersome and more sophisticated, is developed.

  • 1997: first testing for real public use (standardised timetables, professional guides, etc.) - the Montaña Palentina group reads in INFO-LEADER about the “vélorail” project supported by the French group of Haut-Allier (Auvergne)- A LEADER seminar in Dieulefit (Rhône-Alpes) is an opportunity for the Spaniards and the French to meet. The LEADER group of Vogelsberg (Hesse, Germany), which is also supporting the attempt to find new ways to use disused railways, joins the initiative.

  • End of 1997: meeting in Spain of three LEADER groups in the presence of Spanish experts.

  • 1998: meeting of three LEADER groups in the Vogelsberg area - a public demonstration of the three systems is held. The Spaniards take advantage of this trip to visit Haut-Allier - commercial operation of the cyclerail on the Mudá-Salinas-Mudá section of the line.

  • 1999: creation of the regional association “Vias Vivas” (Living Railways) comprising 14 LEADER groups and 6 associations of friends of railways of Castile-León - first sales of cyclerail system to other areas - cyclerail granted technical approval in Germany.


source: LEADER Magazine nr.21 - Autumn, 99

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