The International Steam Pages
C.F. de la Vallée de l’Ouche, 2013
Thomas Kautzor writes of his visit to this French narrow gauge railway on 23rd June 2013.
The current website is http://chemindefervalleedelouche.blogspot.ch/
and, for the stock, http://petittraindebligny.blogspot.fr/.
As of November 2013 the former site
Trains operate behind steam on Sundays and holidays from May to September (14.45 & 16.30), on rare special occasions two locos are steamed, while diesel trains operate Monday to Saturday in July and August (dep. 15.30).
On Sunday afternoon on the way back from Auxerre I paid a visit to the 6.8 km long C.F. de la Vallée de l’Ouche (CFVO). It was built on a section of trackbed of one of France’s oldest railways, the standard gauge C.F. d’Epinac coal railway linking the mines at Epinac with the Burgundy canal at Pont-d’Ouche opened in 1829. The line was later extended on both sides, in the northeast to Dijon, and taken over by SNCF as a rural secondary railway. The section on which the CFVO was laid was closed in 1968, with the station at Pont-d’Ouche demolished to make way for a pillar of the large A42 highway viaduct.
The 600mm gauge was chosen for the CFVO for cost savings, better availability of rolling stock and the reduced space needed to build a loco shed and yard. Reconstruction was started in 1973 with the 2 km section to Oucherotte opened in 1978. From then, the line was progressively extended via Les Cudilles (km 2.6), Pré-Magnien (km 3.5, loop), Thorey-sur-Ouche (km 5.0), La Garenne (km 6.2, loop and water tower) to Pont-d’Ouche (km 6.8) until 2007. In 2004 an agreement was reached to be able to again cross the D33 on the level, however with no possibility of again reaching the Burgundy canal due to the highway viaduct pillars it was decided it was not worth the extra costs. At Pont-d’Ouche there is no loop, so the loco pushes the train back to La Garenne, where it runs around. The road runs east of the line and with public trains operating only twice on Sunday & holiday afternoons from May to September photography is a challenge. A morning steam charter would cost EUR 350 (there are a few goods wagons available).
Blue 2-6-0T No. 8 (La Meuse ALM 3932/1938, 13/16.5t, ex Sucrerie de Maizy 8, Aisne) was the only steam loco here which I had not previously seen in use, it was the last to be restored to working order. It is privately-owned and came here from Montalieu (ex Meyzieu). MTP Pithiviers has No. 3931/1938.
Green 0-6-0T No. 7 BURGONDE (Couillet 1586/1910, 1965 ex Sucrerie de Maizy 7, Aisne) is classified as a National Monument. It came to the CFVO via the CFTM/CFHR Meyzieu/Montalieu, a first stint on the CFVO and the CF de St-Eutrope south of Paris, where it was No. 3.3 ORIANE.
Red 0-4-0 No. 020 TJ 1 (Decauville 6034/1947, 9.2t, ex Ateliers et Forges de la Loire, regauged from 640mm) is coming to the end of an overhaul, it should be back in use later this year. Its four-wheel tender was built using a Motor Rail diesel loco frame.
Stored inside the shed is TPT 0-8-0T No. 4.13 (SAFB KDL11/HF160D 2844/1945, 18.3/22.0t) which is owned by CFTM/CFHR and has been here since 2000. There are no plans to restore this heavy loco to working order.
Five diesel locos are also on the roster (Jung 21, LLD Deutz 22, Motor Rail 23, Poldi 24 and Plymouth 25), all of which except for the Plymouth (which is privately owned) have received new bodies to make them look more like narrow gauge locos (in the eyes of the French members of the CFVO). In July and August the railway operates a daily diesel train from Monday to Saturday, hauled by the Motor Rail.
The passenger stock consists of eight coaches: four open ‘balladeuses’ on DFB bogies, two of which have recently been converted to allow the transportation of wheelchairs, two permanently-coupled closed coaches on Péchôt frames and two-semi-open coaches on MAV bogies. A four-wheel brake-van for the conductor and to transport drinks for sale is incorporated into the passenger trains. A mixed open coach/van is currently under construction in the workshops.
The goods/service wagon park is made up of an open wagon, four Péchôt Artillery flats (one with a water tank, another converted into a track-laying crane) and two Pershing frames, plus an assortment of four-wheel wagons and trucks.
Green 0-6-0T No. 7 BURGONDE
Red 0-4-0 No. 020 TJ 1
Motor Rail 23
Blue 2-6-0T No. 8