Chicharra Cieza GreenWay
Chicharra CIEZA Greenway is a hiking and touring-cyclist itinerary of 13,7 km built on the former railway layout known as "Chicharra", that used to depart from Cieza and went all the way to Alcoy. This stretch in Cieza is also part of Vera Cruz's Way of the pilgrimage to Caravaca.
BROCHURE VÍA VERDE CHICHARRA
The Chicharra train
The origins of this railway track go back to 1884 when it initially connected Villena and Alcoy with a section that reached Yecla (known as "VAY"). In 1889 the prolongation of a section from Yecla to Jumilla was proposed, to ease up the wine export, and in 1905, to Cieza, to link with the line of Chinchilla - Cartagena. Finally, in 1924 the "Company of Secondary Railways of Southeast Spain" extended the track from Yecla, all the way to Cieza.
These trains where known as "Chicharra" (Cicada in english) given their external appearance and the monotonous noise of the machines. This was never a posh train, but rather an inexpensive and popular option, that helped connecting the bottom of Cieza, the high plateau and the north of the province of Alicante. In 1965 this track went on to be managed by FEVE, but the economic di¬culties ended up in the shutdown of it, since their average speed was of 15 km/h and therefore could not compete with road transport. The 1st of July 1969 it carried out its last journey.
Once the line had been closed, the tracks were disassambled, along with the majority of the bridges, specially those that were metallic. Subsequently, the construction in Cieza of the road N-301, and later the A-30 Highway, occupied some of the parts of the previous railway platform.
Chicharra Cieza Greenway
The Green Way of Chicharra Cieza starts in the north of the town of Cieza, in the polygon of Los Prados, in an area from which parts a bike lane that, one kilometer ahead, arrives to the old railway outline and keeps up with it towards the north. After passing the tennis club, it averts the Jewish's ravine through a new metallic runway of over 40 metres of length, that rests in the brackets of the former railway bridge.
It goes on through an arid landscape, and later through an enabled path along the A-30 Highway (whose construction occupied the former railway platform) until arriving to this fruitculture spot of El Elipe, where there is a small resting area. At about 9,6 km from the beggining, at the intersection of the road RM-714 (Venta del Olivo-Jumilla), we can find the old halt of Las Lomas, were a reception area is located.
Further ahead it connects through the west with the ecotouristic itinerary El Picarcho (which extends to the mountain range of Picarcho and Donkey's Head), and later on, through the east, with the Vera Cruz's Way to Caravaca that goes from Jumilla, sorrounding the edge of Sierra Larga. The green way concludes, after a route of 13,7 km, in the setting of the Manchego's House, equipped with a small reception area.
From there the old railway continued towards Jumilla, however its platform has been occupied in several zones, dificulting its restoration. To acces from the former station to the beggining of the Green Way an itinerary of a CYCLIST CONNECTION has been signposted and it avoids crossing roads with heavy trafic. However it is not suitable for pedestrian use considering the presence of multiple troubled crossings. The itinerary, of almost 6 km, sorrounds the Segura river, with its appealing scenery of rivers and orchards, and then heads o through rural paths that arrive to Los Prados