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The Vivarais (Le Mastou)

Discussion in 'International Heritage Railways/Tramways' started by donbenn2000, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. SteveA

    SteveA Member

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    The old bogie coaches are being restored for 'Heritage' services out of the peak season. The new coaches are converted Swiss bogie vans and are high capacity for the
    peak season.
     
  2. Jark91

    Jark91 Member

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    What happens when it rains?!

    Very pleased to see the Vivarais back in action. I must check it out soon. Maybe next summer when the second Mallet (414?) is up and running.
     
  3. SteveA

    SteveA Member

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    Went to Vivarais yesterday. Did both Velorail and the steam trip. The Velorail was well organised and great fun, especially on the very steep downhill gradients. But, oh dear, the steam operation was clinical, commercial and devoid of any French charm. Whilst the previous operators failed to make a profit, the new operation is about as far from the rural backwater that Le Masteou was as you can get. Looks like it's left to the Velay to represent the old Vivarais spirit. Shame the new CFV has most of the authentic rolling stock.

    Steve
     
  4. paulhitch

    paulhitch Guest

    Baie de Somme seems to get the balance about right!

    PH
     
  5. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    Just made my first visit to the Vivarais as part of an special Inside Track holiday to incorporate the line. The Company had actually added the reopened line to their summer Lyon trip and the tour company owner absolutely agreed with the comments of SteveA (the timing of that earlier trip meant Steven and Inside Track could even have been on the same train).

    This time, as noted further up, the vintage style coaches were in use and we had an CFV vehicle - a composite - wooden benches in one end, upholstered armchairs the other - I spent the whole time on the veranda! Half the set were varnished wood bogie coaches with what appeared to be brand new bodywork, of a similar style to that from Brittany (Velay have a couple which look more original). Nigel, our courier, said this made the experience infinitely better than the new open coaches and I have to agree. The new station at St-Jean-de-Muzols is a strange mix of some authentically designed and nicely completed buildings and modern security fencing and turnstiles, but is well equipped with a large (but very typical generic tourist attraction) shop and adequate toilet facilities. Lamastre has had very little done to the station yet, but there were a number of signs that the upper part of the line is still being worked on. We returned on the last trip[ from Lamastre this year, but the "Gorge only" trains are running this weekend.

    The whole area is stunning, especially with the Autumn colours. I must urge anyone who loves stunning scenery to do the journey, especially the gorges section.

    I attach a picture of 403 about to depart from St Jeans.

    Two days previously, we visited the Velay (a return trip for me) and I can only echo what a wonderful line this is - I attach a picture of the Inside Track charter on a run past at Raucoules-Brossettes. You may notice new tarmac where the 4th line through the station (leading off the closed branch to La Voute sur Loire) was. I asked about this and was given some very bad news by our guide - I shall start a new thread for that shortly.


    100_2461 Cropped - smaller.jpg 100_2575.JPG

    Steven
     
  6. PortRoadFan

    PortRoadFan New Member

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    Which company did the Swiss bogie vans - which form the new coaches - come from? Also, aren't some of the older bogie coaches from Switzerland as well, and if so, from which lines?
     
  7. PortRoadFan

    PortRoadFan New Member

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    The 1st coach behind the loco in the Velay photo appears to be from the Swiss Nyon-Saint Cergue-Morez line, and the coach behind it looks to be Swiss as well, but I cannot identify it. So the VFV must have some ex Swiss coaches, any photos Steven?

     
  8. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    They certainly do - yes, you are right about the front coach - this was mentioned during our visit.

    The second one I am not sure - it was mentioned but I can't remember what was said!

    I attach 4 pictures from a visit in 2012 showing the stock in use plus a Swiss origin coach in a siding at Tence. I believe they cover the 2 coaches we had on the Inside Track Charter this year.

    Steven

    100_8283.JPG 100_8299.JPG 100_8300.JPG DSCF3094.JPG
     
  9. PortRoadFan

    PortRoadFan New Member

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    Thanks Steven,

    The first photo shows a 1930's Rhatische Bahn (RhB) bogie coach, still in the RhB's old 1960's (?) green and cream livery (some survive in use on steam/heritage electric specials on the RhB), the 2nd is the NStCM coach (the Blonay-Chamby line in Switzerland has one of these), the 3rd I'm not sure - it might be an ex Bernina Bahn (now RhB) coach with a newer body, the underframe design suggests BB or possibly Landquart-Davos Bahn (RhB) to me, but cannot be sure.

    Many thanks!

    Chris
     
  10. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    A few more of the Gorge section of the Vivarais, taken from the train and being stills taken on a video, so not the greatest quality.

    Plus a couple taken last year not a huge distance away of another much missed French line - any guesses as to which (just bridges and the reason it is no longer running, I am afraid)?

    Steven

    DSC00168.JPG DSC00206.JPG DSC00170.JPG DSC00186.JPG DSC00198.JPG 100_8402.JPG 100_8428.JPG
     
  11. robpalmer

    robpalmer New Member

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    The last two photos show the Chemin de fer de La Mure which ran from Saint-Georges-de-Commiers to La Mure in the Isère department, not too far from Grenoble. It is indeed very much missed although I believe that there is a plan to reopen the upper part.

    Rob.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  12. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Part of the furniture

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    That's right Rob - both taken during a lunch cruise on the Lac de Monteyard-Avignonet in 2012. The views of the Lake from the train must have been stunning. Let us hope at least part of the route can reopen soon.

    Steven
     
  13. robpalmer

    robpalmer New Member

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    It was certainly a stunning trip, I only travelled on it once and now wish I had been back more often.

    The department of the Isère has requested offers from potential operators to restart services, again under electric traction, from Monteynard to La Mure. Monteynard is just above the damaged section. They wanted replies by 30th September this year to be followed by negotiations during the Autumn. This upper section does at least include the famous double viaduct where the track doubles back on itself to cross a gorge on a second viaduct, higher up than the first. The train always used to stop on the higher viaduct to let everyone out for a view which was quite spectacular.

    However I have just learnt that over the last few days thieves have stolen large sections of the overhead wire from a number of different sections. I hope that this does not scupper the re opening process.

    Rob.


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