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European Railroad Discussion > Mountain Railroading in the Southern France (1)


Date: 12/06/12 01:21
Mountain Railroading in the Southern France (1)
Author: McKey

This is the first part of the mountain railroading in the southern France. Though without a single train, the structures are quite impressive once you get above the Mediterranean coastline. Travelling in company being only railfan may mean it is impossible to wait for an hour for the SNCF AGC for "the Valley of Miracles" to appear.

This line was built in 1914 - 1915, and hundred years ago few machinery existed here (U.S. was much more developed those days) so digging with pickaxe and shovel must have been a formidable operation. The track north of Nice runs for about 100 kilometers north before the Alps mountain range terminates it. Much of the journey the track is climbing ledges on both sides of the river valley. And there is NO flatland running here, the track is either in tunnel, bridge or ledge, except for a few stations at the countryside towns, where even a few short sidings exist.








Date: 12/06/12 01:26
Re: Mountain Railroading in the Southern France (1)
Author: McKey

I think the road came here sometime after the track and the overall road conditions judged by someone from north are pretty primitive. Still the locals somehow seem to survive driving fast curvy road, even when it is dark and raining like coming back from this trip.

Above the train tunnel there was a new road tunnel carved, one of the better sections of the main road here.






Date: 12/06/12 06:12
Re: Mountain Railroading in the Southern France (1)
Author: YG

Nicely designed bridge. It sure doesn't look to be nearly 100 years old. Has it been refurbished recently?

Steve Mitchell
http://www.yardgoatimages.com



Date: 12/06/12 10:35
Re: Mountain Railroading in the Southern France (1)
Author: andersonb109

Is this the line to Dinge? I rode it in 2005 while ported in Nice on a cruise.



Date: 12/06/12 14:04
Re: Mountain Railroading in the Southern France (1)
Author: 86235

andersonb109 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Is this the line to Dinge? I rode it in 2005 while
> ported in Nice on a cruise.

Nice to Digne is metre gauge isn't it, the Chemin de Fer de Provence? This looks like standard gauge, the line to Briel and Tende on the Italian border?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/12 14:08 by 86235.



Date: 12/07/12 00:16
Re: Mountain Railroading in the Southern France (1)
Author: McKey

Yes, this is standard gauge to Tende, gauge making it even more impressive for the building time.

I think the bridge in the pictures was refurbished some time because it is made of new looking concrete, correct me if I'm wrong. Most other (older) bridges exteriors are made of stone on the route.

Nick, I think you must have enjoyed a ride still in the older generation railbus. Any pictures of that type? They are now stacked to Breil-sur-Roya along with a whole bunch of other older rolling stock. For once all are without any disturbing graffiti.



Date: 12/07/12 01:16
Re: Mountain Railroading in the Southern France (1)
Author: 86235

McKey Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nick, I think you must have enjoyed a ride still
> in the older generation railbus. Any pictures of
> that type?

No, I've never been to the South of France.



Date: 12/07/12 03:34
Re: Mountain Railroading in the Southern France (1)
Author: McKey

Sorry, I meant andersonb109, happened to be in part of your message.

Still, I can recommend this trip, if somewhere around Nice!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/12 03:35 by McKey.



Date: 12/07/12 12:15
Re: Mountain Railroading in the Southern France (1)
Author: DNRY122

I too noticed the multiple-arch concrete bridge, which didn't appear to be 100 years old. Here in Southern California, we have two historic railway bridges of this type of construction, although they are not nearly as tall. Both were built around 1907 and one is still in service, carrying today's heavy freight trains with no apparent trouble. I noticed ledges just below where the arches start to curve on the French bridges, and wonder if they were there to support the "falsework" for construction of the arches.



Date: 12/08/12 09:33
Re: Mountain Railroading in the Southern France (1)
Author: spflow

This line (like many in continental Europe) was heavily damaged during the war, and I suspect the concrete viaduct may be a post-war rebuild. The line runs through to Torino in Italy, but was only fully reopened in (I believe) the 1970s. At Sospel in the French section. there is a fabulous restaurant on the platform (or at least there was 7 years ago!). Worth a detour.



Date: 12/08/12 10:36
Re: Mountain Railroading in the Southern France (1)
Author: Lackawanna484

Thanks for the pictures.

The original construction dates from the Great War. The resource planners must have considered it very critical to divert men and materials from the war efforts.



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