The International Steam Pages


Rail preservation in Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA)
Part 3 - Miscellaneous Items

Thomas Kautzor writes:

While the region is the third most important economically in France, with the 2nd and 5th largest cities with Marseilles and Nice, and is very dependent on tourism, rail preservation sites are few and far in between.

See also:

Part 1 Tourist Railways

Part 2 Museums


Preserved Locos:

SNCF 040.B.9 (Schneider 2512/1893, ex PLM 4.B.9, ex 3219) is plinthed at the junction of D97 and D13 in the centre of Carnoules (Var). It is classified as an ‘historical monument’ and was based at Carnoules shed from 1918 to 1930. Carnoules had the only shed between Marseille and Nice between 1862 and 1961.

Carqueiranne (Var), on the Côte d’Azur between Toulon and Hyères, used to be a station on the metre gauge Chemins de fer de Provence (CP, ex-C.f. du Sud de la France SF) coastal line between Toulon and Saint-Raphaël (107 km), a coastal line with short branches to Saint-Tropez and Cogolin, which could have become a perfect tourist line had it not been closed in 1948. The station at building at 3, Avenue de la Gare now houses the municipal police. A standard gauge 0-4-0T from the north of France (Henschel 18524/1921, ex Société Vermandoise de Sucreries, Beauchamp (Somme), ex Sucrerie F. Béghin, Thumeries (Nord)) has been placed on display outside to commemorate the railway.

Mr. Gérard Bernaud at Le Cannet (Alpes-Maritime, north of Cannes) owns an ex-Houillères d’Auvergne 0-4-0T (Corpet-Louvet 1962/1951), which is for sale: http://www.tvnp.fr/PFF/?p=7976

Chemins de fer de Camargue (CC) relics:

Located in the western part of the region, the Camargue, now a major tourist destination, was once served by two metre gauge lines from Arles to Salin-de-Giraud (37.9 km) and to Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (37.3 km) (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemins_de_fer_de_Camargue). Electrified in the early 1930s, the lines could have been used to transport tourists around the area had they not been closed in the 1950s, despite an effort at modernization after World War II. Although none of the rolling stock is known to have survived, nowadays relics of the railway can still be found at many locations, including Arles-Trinquetaille, where the railway’s extensive depot, maintenance and transfer facilities were located. These have been turned into a bus depot, while the station building and the freight transfer sheds have been used by the regional road authority. The other two pictures show the station buildings at Villeneuve-Romieu (on the line to Salin-de-Giraud), presently abandoned, and Maguelonne-Le Sauvage (on the line to Les Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer), now a private home.

The former CC station at Arles-Trinquetaille, now the offices of the regional road authority;
The water tower and workshops at Arles-Trinquetaille;
The workshops at Arles-Trinquetaille;
The goods shed at Arles-Triquetaille;
The goods and transfer shed at Arles-Trinquetaille;
Maguelonne-Le Sauvage station, on the former CC line to Les Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer;
The abandoned CC station at Villeneuve-Romieu, on the former line to Salin-de-Giraud.

Vélorails:

Rail bike operations are very popular with families on closed or lightly-used railway lines in France. Apart from ‘Vélorail de Provence’ at Plan d’Orgon (see above), there are two other vélorail operations in the PACA region:

At Pourcieux (Var) on the closed Gardanne – Carnoules line, ‘Vélorail 83 / Vélorail de la Sainte Baume’ (http://www.veloraildefrance.com/velorail83) operates over 7.5 km to Saint-Maximin with 12 five-seat rail bikes. The stretch of line includes a tunnel and two viaducts.

At Hyères (Var), ‘Ferrov’Hyères/Vélorail Hyères-les Palmiers’ (http://www.velorail-Hyeres.com) operates over 4 km between Hyères-Ville and Hyères-Plage with 10 “Valdenaire” rail bikes.


Rob Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk