Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

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rogerfarnworth
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Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by rogerfarnworth » Sun Mar 25, 2018 3:10 pm

There was a very extensive network of secondary lines in France of which many were of metre-gauge. The line from Nice to Meyrargues was one of these. The route was over 200 kilometres in length and left the Nice to Digne Line at La Manda near Colomars. The link below takes you to the first of my blog posts on this line:

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... var-part-1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by rogerfarnworth » Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:20 am

Nice was at the heart of a network of metre-gauge railway lines which included a significant number of rural tramways/tramroads as well as more traditional railway lines - all of them metre-gauge. France had a significant series of secondary routes and routes of general interest with a track gauge of 1 metre. One of these routes is still in use - the Nice to Digne Line and is commercially viable. It has recently replaced older railway stock with modern DMUs. The websire Provence and Beyond (http://www.beyond.fr/travel/railpignes.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) talks of this metre-gauge line as follows:

"This 1-meter gauge railway runs between Nice and Digne-les-Bains, 151 km, and takes about three hours. The track follows rushing rivers and steep-sided mountain valleys, many not accessible by car, and the view is magnificent. The ride is an adventure. The stations are old, tiny and personal, with everything on a human level. The name Train des Pignes comes from the pinecones, once used for tinder to start the steam engines."

Steam trains can still be used on the line but the line is generally operated by very modern rolling stock.
le-train-des-pignes-et.jpg
The lines I have been focussing on are no longer in use. The first of these is the Central Var line which leaves the Nice to Digne line not far from Nice itself and runs to Meyrargues a little north and east of Marseilles. It closed fully in 1950.
lignes-cfsf1.gif
The second post in the series takes us from Le Tunnel de Les Champignonnieres, Saint-Jeannet to Vence Station.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... rovence-14" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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george matthews
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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by george matthews » Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:52 pm

Metre gauge railways were built because the investment needed was lower per mile than for standard gauge lines. At a time when there was little powered road transport that seemed a good choice to bring rail transport to places where there was less demand for transport. But as part of a transport system they added to the costs of transport by requiring goods (and people) to change trains when they met the full sized system.

kato
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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by kato » Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:19 pm

george matthews wrote:But as part of a transport system they added to the costs of transport by requiring goods (and people) to change trains when they met the full sized system.
In Germany and Switzerland it was quite common to just transfer a standard gauge waggon (for goods) onto a Rollbock carrier for meter gauge - up to the 80s. This typically served for "last mile" transfer to companies where those would be unloaded - up to 10 km away from where they were transferred on some systems.

In metropolitan France only three meter gauge railways continue to exist; one in St. Gervais near Mont Blanc mostly seeing passengers during tourist season, and the one in the above post plus the Chemin de fer du Blanc-Argent of which a 62-km stretch is still operated with seven meter-gauge railcars. A fourth one, the Chemin de Fer de La Mure is inoperational due to a landslide in 2010 but planned to go back into operation in 2020.

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by rogerfarnworth » Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:22 pm

I hope you enjoy this next post. At various points along the line the Chemin de Fer du Sud de la France connected with other lines. This is true in Vence. A tramway run by TAM connected Cagnes-sur-Mer with Vence.

There were a significant number of electric tramways in the area around Nice which connected either to the Chemins de Fer du Sud or linked towns on the coast with those further inland. This tramway did both. It operated from around 1911 until around 1932.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... rovence-17" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

These tramways had the same track gauge as the main line but a considerably narrower loading gauge.

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by rogerfarnworth » Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:30 pm

kato wrote:In metropolitan France only three meter gauge railways continue to exist; one in St. Gervais near Mont Blanc mostly seeing passengers during tourist season, and the one in the above post plus the Chemin de fer du Blanc-Argent of which a 62-km stretch is still operated with seven meter-gauge railcars. A fourth one, the Chemin de Fer de La Mure is inoperational due to a landslide in 2010 but planned to go back into operation in 2020.
There are a few other lines still in use as heritage lines - the Baie de Somme is one (http://www.cfbs.eu/en" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;), another is the Vivarais (http://trainardeche.fr/wp;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; https://velay-express.fr" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;).

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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by rogerfarnworth » Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:01 pm

Leaving Vence the Chemin de Fer du Sud travelled westwards towards Grasse, the perfume capital of Provence. I doing so it hugged the contours of the lower hills of Les Alpes Martimes. The meant that at each significant valley a viaduct was built. The most iconic of these was Le Pont de Loup. This will be the point at which the next length of the journey finishes.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... rovence-18" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by rogerfarnworth » Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:07 am

The next step on the journey from La Manda/Nice to Meyrargues along the Central Var line takes us from the emblematic Pont du Loup to Grasse.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... rovence-19

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by rogerfarnworth » Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:08 am

Grasse was at one stage full of different rail transport. Two TAM tramways, one from Cagnes-sur-Mer and one from Cannes approached the town from the south. A PLM branchline also linked Grasse to Cannes. There was a funicular railway linking the PLM (SNCF) railway station to the town centre, and there was the Chemins de Fer du Sud de la France Central Var line crossing the town on its way between Nice and Meyrargues.

This next post covers the first part of the story of the TAM tramway between Cagnes-sur-Mer and Grasse:

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... rovence-20

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by rogerfarnworth » Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:17 am

The second half of my blog on the TAM tramway between Grasse and Cagnes-sur-Mer:

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... rovence-21

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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by rogerfarnworth » Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:58 pm

There was also a Tramway between Grasse and Cannes. This next post covers that line ....

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... rovence-22" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by rogerfarnworth » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:33 am

The next post in the series about the Central Var line in Provence. The post covers the PLM branch line between Cannes and Grasse.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... rovence-24" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by rogerfarnworth » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:01 am

The Central Var line of Les Chemins de Fer du Sud de La France continues. ... This length runs from the station in Grasse to Peymeinade:

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... rovence-25" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by rogerfarnworth » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:43 am

This next length of the Central Var line runs from Peymeinade to Tanneron. After the invasion by allied forces in 1944 and the destruction by retreating German forces of a number of Viaducts, Tanneron became the eastern terminus of the Central Var line and renmained so until full closure of the line early in 1950.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... rovence-26" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

rogerfarnworth
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Re: Metre-Gauge railways in Provence - the Central Var Line

Post by rogerfarnworth » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:47 am

The next length of the line starts at Tanneron and finishes at Seillans:

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... rovence-27" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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