INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1238 8 AUGUST 2015
BRANCH LINE NEWS
This newsletter covers the World outside the British Isles from information
supplied by members.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS TEAM:-
International Editor (to whom all email and postal contributions should be sent):
Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ
Email: [email protected]
Deputy International Editor: Derek Woodward, 68 Church Street, Matlock, DERBY, DE4 3BY
In the southwest corner of Sardegna (Sardinia) the railway ends at Carbonia. Just beyond the station is a most
unusual turning arrangement, beautifully seen on this aerial view. Suggestions as to the reason for its
complexity would be welcomed. Possibly it allows a more compact arrangement?
 Europe – Connecting Europe Facility funding
276 projects have been selected to receive funding of 20-85% of individual project costs. They include the
Rail Baltica standard gauge line, the Brenner base tunnel, the Fehmarn Belt fixed link, the Caland Bridge in
Rotterdam, the Iron Rhine and improvements to cross-border links between Groningen and Bremen.
 Bosnia Herzegovina – Visits to non-passenger lines in Bosnia-Herzegovina
The Railway Touring Company's recent "Steam in the former Yugoslavia" tour covered a number of non-
passenger lines in Bosnia-Herzegovina hauled by a variety of steam engines.
The first full day in the country was spent traversing the busy 760mm Banovići coal mine railway which is
double track for much of its length, starting from a short spur in the middle of the town. Three passenger
wagons were provided, one uncovered. However with the emphasis on different engines rather than track,
the trains stopped well short of the buffer stops at either end of the system. Nevertheless on its first run,
the train did deviate off to the north, past the loading gantry, and then reversed back to the doors of the
On the next day, the party took the standard gauge line from Tuzla to Brčko, on the Croatian border, and
back in a first class compartment carriage. Passenger services on this line are understood to have ceased,
Croatian trains from Vinkovci now terminating across the river at Gunja. The following day the group paid a
visit to the Dubrave coal mine to watch some standard gauge steam-hauled movements, but no rides were
available. They then joined a standard gauge train at Kreka station, just outside Tuzla, and took the branch
back to Banovići. After watching some shunting at the low level station, further trips were enjoyed on the
narrow gauge line. A new 760mm link between the low-level standard gauge line and the high-level
narrow gauge line is almost complete, but was not ready for traversal. Coal is brought from the mine via
the narrow gauge railway to the Separacija separation plant where it is processed and then dropped into
wagons on the standard gauge line, ready for dispatch.
The party finally travelled from Tuzla to Sarajevo, deviating en route at the Kreka coal mine, some distance
west of the eponymous station, to watch some more steam workings. The deviation was a short one into
the nearest of a series of lines parallel to the single line to Doboj. Again the charter did not penetrate very
far into the system stopping just short of the loading gantry.
 Czech Republic - Mladějovské průmyslové dráhy (PMD) extends
This former industrial line, now a heritage railway known called Mladějovské průmyslové dráhy ran from
Mladějov na Moravě to Hřebeč doly. Until this year it got as far as Nová Ves u Kunčiny, but from the 4 June
two trains pairs run to Josefka, a 2.5km extension. To complete the line a further 2km of track to Hřebeč
doly are required. Remaining running days this year are 15 and 28 August and 5 and 19 September.
Mladějov na Moravě is on the Česká Třebová to Chornice line.
 Czech Republic – New alignment opens south of Veselí nad Lužnicí
BLNI 1206.132 reported a new alignment being constructed south of the station on the České Budějovice
line to ease the sharp curve which limited line speed. One of the new tracks is now open, the other is being
wired. It departs the station heading briefly towards Třeboň/České Velenice before swinging west to meet
the old line (which has already been lifted) about 2kms south. Work is ongoing on another cut off north of
 France – On-line atlas of RFF network
Can be viewed at this web address. Appears similar to the book version.
 France - Last train runs from Villeneuve-l'Archevêque to Troyes
SE of Paris a secondary line passes through the town of Troyes en route to Chaumont and Culmont-
Chalindrey. Four freight lines radiate from Troyes, one of which runs west to Villeneuve-l'Archevêque. It
used to go through to Sens. The only traffic on this line was about 15-20 cereals trains a year, everything
else went by canal. The economics of rail transport were against it, and on 15 June the last 20 wagons
were loaded for the final trip to Troyes, adorned with a symbolic sheaf. With no traffic the line seems
certain to close.
 France/Germany - Saarbahn border crossing under scrutiny
BLNI 1221.396 reported the opening of a northern extension of the Saarbahn in 2014. Later that year
problems arose with the financing of the southernmost part of the Saarbahn – the 600 metres that goes to
the southern terminus of Sarreguemines – in France. It seems that the cost of maintaining this short length
of track was considered unacceptable and a temporary compromise was hammered out in late 2014 to
keep trains running into Sarreguemines until the end of 2016. This has now been endorsed, but the
question of future funding remains.
 France - Check before going to Oyonnax
Anyone planning to visit the St.Claude - Bourg-en-Bresse line (threatened as far as Oyonnax) should note
that it is currently bustituted (apparently since late June) until "at least" October, between St-Claude and
Bourg-en-Bresse. The remedial work is apparently of a very minor nature. The current Fiche Horaire runs
until December, so there is some hope that rail services will recommence, but if the bus service proves
effective, this may well be another nail in its coffin.
 Germany - A members trip to Germany, Denmark and Sweden, 19 May – 22 May ( Part 1)
This was a quick trip to use up three days of a 10 day Interrail pass. Our member flew to Hamburg from
Manchester with Easyjet. On the way to the airport the news was received that there was to be another
German rail strike starting the next day. He was planning to spend the night in Hamburg before travelling
on to Denmark, so therefore had to decide whether to cancel his hotel booking and go straight to
Flensburg that evening but, in the end, he decided to stick to his plan and take his chances.
The evening was spent exploring the environs of Hamburg Altona. This once important terminal station is
now only served by basic hourly services to Westerland and Elmshorn, as well as starting and terminating
long distance trains serving Hauptbahnhof, which appear to run from and to Altona mainly for operational
convenience. There are also frequent S-Bahn services but these use the four through underground
platforms. The terminal station is reported to be closing in 2016 in order to allow redevelopment of the
site, so a visit was high on our member’s list of priorities. The track layout outside the station is very
complex, and the station itself is effectively divided into two halves, with the high numbered platforms, 9-
12, on the east side, being used mainly by departing long distance services. The approach from the
direction of Hauptbahnhof is via a flying junction, and our member’s first move was on an inbound ICE
service from Berlin. The assumption was that all inbound trains would use the west flyover in order to
reach the lower numbered platforms (5-8), but in fact the train used the east flyover and ran into platform
11. A quick study of the arrivals board showed that a significant minority of arriving services do this, so
anyone wanting to cover the west flyover should check. Later on a second attempt was made, on an EC
service from Budapest, and this obligingly ran into platform 5 via the west flyover. Incidentally, these
services are not advertised at Hauptbahnhof as they are effectively set down only, but our member
experienced no problems in joining on both occasions, along with a handful of other passengers.
The northbound routes are more complex. The outbound service that was taken to Pinneberg left from
platform 6, then ran via a single line to the west of both the above mentioned flyovers to HH Altona Gbf,
from where it then used the right hand line of the double track flyover to join the northbound line from
Hauptbahnhof. On returning the train left the main line at HH Altona Gbf and crossed the goods lines to
join the outward route to run back into platform 7. At HH Altona Gbf a separate route diverges left,
running to the east of the flyovers into the high numbered platforms. Whilst most of these services use the
west side of the station, some also go from the high numbered platforms, but unfortunately not at the
time our member was there.
 Romania - Oradea to Cheresig service ends
BLNI 1194.406 reported the reopening of the 17km branch from Oradea Vest to Cheresig on 21 August
2013. Subsequently the reduction of services was documented in BLNI1220.385. To complete the story all
that was needed was the closure date, now known to be 15 March 2015.
 Sweden - Some observations from the PTG tour of central Sweden in June
A highlight of the tour was the day spent travelling the branches of the Siljansbanan north of Borlänge. The
railway between Borlänge and Mora is very attractive. From Mora, first the short stub of the old
Inlandbanan route south to Vansbro and Persberg was visited – the train getting as far as the wagons
blocking the railway south of Lomsmyren. The traffic here, as in so much of Sweden, was timber. A short
private branch owned by the city of Mora diverges just before this and was well used, but the source of
traffic is unknown. Next came the long branch to Blyberg where a huge timber processing facility provides
regular traffic, contrary to the comment in the Ball atlas.
The PTG tour at
Blyberg, the site of a
large timber processing
complex, and close to
the new end of line
following the closure of
the section to Märbäck.
A stop sign beyond the sidings is the end of the line, the section beyond to Märbäck having closed some
months previously. As a final treat the return journey featured a visit to the 3 km branch to Insjön Hamn.
Once the terminus of the railway to the north, today the line serves a saw mill and Inland Port and has a
container terminal built in 2002 which was electrified in 2004. The main traffic appeared to be containers.
A visit was also made to the remaining part of the old course of the Ostkustbanan (the east coast railway)
south of Söderhamn. This was bypassed by a new cut-off in 1997, and retained as a branch to Stugsund.
The tour arrived from Gävle into the sidings at Åänge, into which a private branch from the paper mill at
Vallvik trails in from the coast. The rails were shiny, so probably in use. North of Åänge the bridge over the
Ljusnan river is crossed and before the station at Ljusne, the old course of the Ostkustbanan diverges right.
Soon a private branch is passed trailing in from the right. This goes to docks with a timber export facility in
an area called Orrskärsviken. The line proceeds northwards now through forest until a railway goes
overhead at right angles. This is the Marna-Sandarne Järnväg (MaSJ), and it has an interesting history. It
was built by an English company called James Dickson & Co. to export sawn timber from the port of
Sandarne. A concession was received in 1854 and the 8.9km long railway was operational in autumn 1857
though the official opening was on 5 August 1858. It connected the log transport artery of the Ljusnan river
with Sandarne Port, and was not connected to the Swedish railway network for 65 years until the
Ostkustbanan arrived in 1923, at which point a viaduct was built for the MaSJ, and presumably the west to
north connection still present just north of the viaduct. The construction of Söderhamn airport
necessitated a deviation to the south, but a runway extension when jets were introduced meant that trains
had to run over part of the
Although freight was always most
important a passenger service did
run, but ended in 1924 because
the concession expired. The use
of the river Ljusnan for log
transport ended in 1970 and
traffic between Östanbo and
Askesta ceased shortly afterwards
and the tracks were removed in
1980/81. Today there is traffic to
the port of Sandarne where there
is also a large chemicals factory.
The line has been owned by
Bergvik & Ala New AB since 1918.
The tour passed the connection
onto the MaSJ and was able to
proceed about another kilometre
towards the former end of line at
Stugsund before reaching some
extremely new looking buffer
stops. This was not unexpected as
the proposed closure of the Sandarne to Stugsund section had been announced two years earlier. What
remains is clearly a headshunt for trains coming from Sandarne Port. These need to do a double reversal
before they can go south.
The long branch from Örbyhus to Hallstavik was one of the most sought after sections of track on the tour,
in part because it is 63km long, but also because it is very difficult to do. This is because the line uses a
simplified signalling system, apparently to avoid manning the stations along its length. It is effectively a
one train occupancy system, so capacity of the line is limited, and hence the tour had to do it at the
weekend. Just to add to the difficulty, only a few drivers are trained on the special signalling, so one of
these had to be organised as well. Partway down the branch is the former iron ore mining area of
Dannemora where there used to be a triangle. The west to northwest curve to the yard has been closed
and the track lifted, at least near the junction. The former bypass line is therefore used and the still extant
and well used northwest to south east curve trails into this. Hallstavik has an enormous paper mill on an
inlet of the Baltic. A reversal is needed from the yard to access the paper mill, and the tour was able to get
as far as the gate, passing en route a class 66 locomotive with a freight. This was ‘locked-into’ the siding so
it disappears from the signalling system and allows another train onto the branch.
Approaching the gates of the Hallstavik paper mill Class 66 ‘locked into’ siding by paper mill
On the final day, the tour visited the docks branch known as the Värtanbanan in north east Stockholm,
getting to the Trafikverket limit at the end of Värtan yard. However, most interest related to the very
obvious deviation over a bridge between (approx) km 1.29 and 1.66 from Karlberg, where the Värtanbanan
diverges from the Stockholm – Uppsala line. The deviation, also on a bridge, is about 40 metres to the
south of the previous alignment, and very obvious when viewed on google earth, though not completed as
the image dates from 2007. A little internet digging revealed more. The deviation is due to the Norra
länken road project, part of the projected Stockholm ring, with a maze of roads and tunnels being built in
this area. The deviation was opened in 2010, and the old bridge demolished. A new bridge, 200 metres
long, was built with non-equidistant pillars, presumably to allow new roads to fit underneath. It has track,
but this is not connected at either end. In 2017 work will start to enclose part of the new line converting it
into a tunnel, albeit above ground level. The work should be complete in 2019, at which point the
deviation and its temporary bridge will be closed and demolished after a nine year life. The diagram at this
website gives some indication of the complexity of the area.
 Switzerland - Travels by Steam tour, train and tram around Switzerland (Part 4)
8 January. This was supposed to be an ‘official’ free day for Swiss Pass use. Objective number one for the
day was to grice his last required passenger line radiating from Bern Hbf. This was the line to Thun via Belp
worked by BLS. Duly done, a Deutsche Bahn ICE set next obliged for the short hop to Spiez, changing onto
a BLS EMU to the standard gauge terminus at Zweisimmen. Timings had worked out well here. Next up
was the hourly chemin de fer Montreux Oberland Bernois (MOB) service to Lenk (im Simmental) and back,
albeit in one of their unappealing gold painted modern 3 car EMUs. This line is metre gauge, as is the
mainline of the MOB, taken next, once back at Zweisimmen. For this journey the MOB had included one of
their older 2 car EMUs at the front of the train to Montreux, in their traditional light blue and white livery.
The MOB train also features in Bryan Morgan’s book. The MOB mainline was another line that was
electrically worked from the outset, although on a very few occasions a steam loco has ventured along it
for special events. The MOB service train from Zweisimmen is hourly as far as the famous ski resort of
Gstaad, but only 2 hourly beyond, until nearing the Montreux end of the line. Needless to say, the scenery
is spectacular, but between Gstaad and the next junction station at Montbovon, the population is very
sparse. Montbovon is the junction for the GFM system, which advertises itself as ‘La Gruyère‘, and runs to
Bulle and Broc Fabrique. And, this being Switzerland, despite being told the GFM “was nothing to do with
us” provided the sort of smart connection out of the MOB that is normal in Switzerland. Beyond
Montbovon, the MOB train continued through Les Avants and Chamby on its steep and curvy descent to
the MOB station at Montreux, adjacent to the SBB station. Return to Basel was via a local service, all
stations to Lausanne, then an ICN class 500 EMU direct to Basel SBB. By this time our member was feeling
too unwell to record the unit number, or pay much attention to the route back, having previously
ascertained that it would not give him any new track.
9 January. SBB loco 460-099 conveyed the group from Basel SBB to Olten. Here SBB class Eb3/5 2-6-2T No.
5819 appeared with three historic coaches, including a Wagon-Lits dining car on the substitute day
excursion for the failed 141R1244. From Olten they headed towards Basel, but by the original mainline (of
1858, he thinks), through Läufelfingen, where a photo stop was held. This line had long since been
bypassed by the Hauenstein Base Tunnel which opened in 1916. This resulted in the old line via
Läufelfingen being one of the last handful of SBB passenger lines not to be electrified until the 1950s. The
map in the flyleaf of Cecil J. Allen’s book ‘Switzerland’s Amazing Railways’ shows Olten-Sissach via
Läufelfingen as still steam operated at the time of publication in 1953. Continuing north, the mainline was
regained at Sissach; they continued through Liestal, part of the Muttenz yard complex, St. Jakob, then the
curve avoiding Basel SBB, to a pathing stop at the Basel suburban station of Münchenstein, before carrying
on through Laufen to Delémont. The train ran into the Delémont loco depot yard, to inspect the steam and
other locos on shed, and for lunch to be served in suitable style in the Wagon-Lits dining car, the meal
service continuing as they departed onwards to Porrentruy. Here they continued beyond the station into
the yard, for 5819 to run round the train and proceed up the branch to Bonfol, the first steam hauled train
to reach there for many years. Noting that there is some doubt over the future of the Bonfol branch, could
this also have been the last steam hauled train there? The return to Olten was identical to outward, so our
member alighted at Laufen for a service train back to Basel. Feeling pretty unwell, he had been unable to
face much of the wonderful lunch served in the Wagon-Lits dining car. And the Porrentruy-Bonfol branch
had been the only bit of route by heritage or steam traction all day.
 Switzerland - Kandersteg signal box to close
After a visit to Spiez Central Control and Kandersteg signal box early in July a member was advised that
Kandersteg signal box is to close on Sunday 6th September 2015 and its signalling operations transferred
to Goppenstein signal box. Eventually Brig and Goppenstein will be transferred to Spiez Central Control.
REST OF THE WORLD
 Argentina – Trains return to Pinamar and San Antonio de los Cobres
After a gap of five years trains have started running again from Buenos Aires Constitución to the popular
coastal resort of Pinamar. The train will leave Constitución on Fridays and return on Sundays. Meanwhile in
Salta province the Tren de las Nubes (see BLNI 1218.353) has also restarted after the concessionaire
Ecotren was stripped of its contract following a derailment. The very popular tourist railway, which runs
through amazing scenery at very high altitude, will run on ten days in July and twice weekly from August.
The dining car has been refurbished, and the train is attended by a doctor and three nurses.
The Tren de las Nubes is now painted in the Trenes Argentinos livery. The railway line has 29 bridges, 21
tunnels, 13 viaducts, 2 spirals and 2 zigzags. Picture courtesy of Presidencia.gov.ar
 Costa Rica – A cruise ship visit allows a short rail journey
A member partaking of a cruise was able to enjoy a short train journey in Costa Rica when the ship called
at Puntarenas. During the morning a stroll around found the remains of 3’6” rail tracks along what is now
the promenade and where the newish cruise terminal is located, but which until the 70’s was the dock
area before being replaced by larger and more convenient seawise docks near Caldera. Puntarenas is on
the Pacific coast and was linked to Limon on the Atlantic coast (opened 1910) but most of the railway at
the Puntarenas end has been disused since the mid 90’s. It is, however, still extant even if blocked by an
occasional mound of earth or other material. In the afternoon one of the shore excursions was for a
railway trip. Puntarenas is on a long peninsula with the modern dual carriageway paralleling the single
track railway, hence the observation of its condition, albeit from a coach. A siding containing a bogie van
was noted on the town’s outskirts. Once off the dual carriageway road condition deteriorated noticeably.
The main event, a train ride, was on the way back to the ship which unfortunately meant time was tight so
there was little time to investigate. The train, comprising diesel loco number 39 , a caboose and two nicely
restored coaches, was waiting straddling a level crossing – but what was the station name? They departed
quickly over the somewhat ‘uneven’ track at probably 20-25 mph for what was quite a lengthy ride of at
least 5 miles, passing over a substantial bridge and a half mile long tunnel. There was the occasional
disused station with passing loops, also long out of use, and an absence of point clamps! Unfortunately
there was no PA and the track noise made it difficult to hear the commentary. The destination seems to
have been on the edge of a small town (Caldera?) with substantial sidings and ‘Y’. Enquiries to the guide
as to the whereabouts of the depot elicited the reponse that it was down near the port. An interesting
excursion, but the lack of information was frustrating. Incidentally there was more leg room between the
seats than on British stock! The seats had reversible backs, tramcar style, bearing the name ‘Asuaire
Travel’. Searching the internet once home provided little more than the above, except that occasional
passenger trains had run from the port of Caldera, a distance of 2.3km, and very occasionally to Salinas,
RAILTOURS AND DIVERSIONS OVER NON-PASSENGER LINES
This is provided as a service to members and details must be checked with the organisers.
Germany – IBSE tram tours
Our ‘sister’ society in Germany, IBSE, are running two tram tours on 11/12 September
Friday 11 September is a comprehensive tour of Potsdam, leaving from outside Potsdam Hbf at 11:30.
Saturday 12 September sees a further exploration of the Leipzig system starting from Waldplatz at about
08:10. Each tour costs €40, or €36 for IBSE members. To book email [email protected]
The immensely detailed routes are too long to print here, but anyone wishing to know details may email
the international editor of BLN.
IBSE - List of Special Trains on Lines without Passenger Services
14-17. 08. + Ausflugsverkehr Shuttles Neustrelitz Süd - Feldberg(Meckl)
(Magdeburg Hbf -) Einbeck-Salzderhelden - Einbeck Mitte and back.
15. 08. + EF Helmstedt Shuttles Walsrode - Bomlitz [also 13.IX]
Shuttles Neuhausen(Erzg) - Olbernhau
15. 08. AVL
Bahnpark Augsburg - Augsburg Hbf (- Utting) and back.
16. 08. TG Ferkeltaxi
u.a. Gotha - Emleben, Bad Langensalza - Bad Langensalza Ost, Hohenebra - Ebeleben, Straussfurt
16. 08. + Bahnpark Augsburg - Kölleda, Erfurt Ost - Erfurt West, Erfurt Anschl. Siemens
Bielefeld Hbf - Gütersloh Nord (- Bad Laer) and back. [also 27.XI]
22. 08. TEV Diversion d. ICE-Linie 43 between Hamm(Westf) u. Köln üb. Übg Düsseldorf Hbf [also 4-7.IX]
Shuttles Rheinsberg(Mark) - Stechlinsee
23. 08. Osningbahn Railway Festival in Lohsdorf
(Naumburg(Saale)Hbf - Erfurt Hbf -) Artern - Donndorf(Unstrut) and back.
28-31. 08. + DB Shuttles (Koblenz Hbf -) Koblenz-Lützel - DB-Museum
Shuttles Pockau-Lengefeld - Marienberg(Sachs)
29/30. 08. Ausflugsverkehr
29/30. 08. Schwarzbachbahn
30. 08. IG Unstrutbahn
05. 09. DB
05/06. 09. DB
05/06. 09. OSEF (Löbau(Sachs) -) Ebersbach(Sachs) - RumburkRumburg (- Turnov/Turnau) and back. [DE/CZ]
Shuttles Reutlingen West (ZHL) - Betzingen
08. 09. ZHL Tram specials Potsdam + Leipzig IV
(Staßfurt -) Artern - Wangen(Unstrut) (- Freyburg(Unstrut)) and back.
11/12. 09. IBSE Round trip Works ArcelorMittal Bremen
Shuttles Walsrode - Bomlitz
12. 09. EF Staßfurt Operating day Feldbahn Domsdorf
u.a. Nossen - Freiberg(Sachs)
12. 09. ArcelorMittal (Dessau Hbf -) Oranienbaum(Anh) - Ferropolis and back.
Seitzsteg - Augsburg Ring - AVA and back.
13. 09. AVL Hafen Mannheim [also 31.X]
Shuttles Löbau(Sachs) - Ebersbach(Sachs) - Rumburk/Rumburg [DE/CZ]
13. 09. + ??? u.a. Nossen - Freiberg(Sachs) [also 31.X]
(Bielefeld Hbf -) Einbeck-Salzderhelden - Einbeck Mitte and back.
13. 09. + TG Ferkeltaxi Hafenbahn Stuttgart
Piesberg - Osnabrück Hbf - Uffeln and back.
13. 09. DVG (Erfurt Hbf -) Artern - Wangen(Unstrut) and back.
Hafenbahn Wittenberge Planned
19. 09. + BSM Special train in Ruhrgebiet from Bochum Hbf
(Löbau(Sachs) -) Kamenz(Sachs) - Hosena - Hoyerswerda - Spreewitz - KW Schwarze Pumpe -
19. 09. HE Mannheim Tagebau Nochten and back.
(Lengerich(Westf) -) Hasbergen - Georgsmarienhütte and back.
19/20. 09. OSEF Special train around Nürnberg In Planning
u.a. Brohl Hafen
19. 09. + IG Nossen u.a. Remscheid-Bliedinghausen
(Lutherstadt Wittenberg -) Pratau - Eilenburg (- Leipzig Hbf)
19. 09. Osningbahn (Nossen - Klingenthal -) Zwotental - Adorf(Vogtl) (- Nossen) In planning
26. 09. + VFSEV
27. 09. ODF
03. 10. IG Unstrutbahn
10/11. 10. + DF Salzwedel
10. 10. + DGEG
12. 10. OSEF
16. 10. ET
17/18. 10. IBSE
31. 10. + DGEG
28. 11. + DGEG
05/06. 12. FV BAE
05. 12. IG Nossen
Europa / Europe 2015
09. 08. + Varallo (Milano C -) Novara - Varallo Sesia and back. [also 23.VIII, 6,20.IX] IT
15. 08. MLV Special train from Zwettl [also 26.IX, 5/6.XII] CZ
15/16. 08. ČD Shuttles Kojetín - Tovačov [also 28.IX] SK
SPDŽ Piešťany - Vrbové and back. DK
16. 08. PL
23. 08. VSVT Rund um København/Kopenhagen [also 30/31.VIII] PL
30. 08. TurKol (Wrocław Gł. Hbf - Legnica -) Kamieniec Ząbk. - Nysa (- Brzeg - Wrocław Gł.) SK
05/06. 09. + 1435.pl KWB Konin. Cancelled
05. 09. Grodziska KD u.a. Terespol Pom. - Świecie Przechowo (?), Bydgoszcz - Szubin AT
12. 09. + TREŽ Shuttles Trenčianska Teplá - Trenčianske Teplice [also 10.X, 28.XI] RO
18/19. 09. + Mercia 18.IX: Drenas - NewCo Ferronikeli (?) 19.IX: Bardh - Medvec, Fushë Kosovë - RO
Mitrovicë - FAFOS (?) [XK] PL
19-27. 09. DGEG Includes Vatican City railway PL
19. 09. + FdBB Shuttles Mixnitz Lb - Breitenau Hst SK
19. 09. KPHŽD (Bratislava hl.st. -) Zohor - Plavecké Podhradie and back. PL
24. 09.-03. 10. PTG Heritage railways in Romania GR
25. 09.-05. 10. SFS Special train in Greece
26/27. 09. ??? Shuttles Cornătel - Hosman
03. 10. TurKol (Wrocław- Legnica - Złotoryja and back.
03-10. 10. PTG Special train in Greeece
03. 10. Czerski Special train in Southern Poland In planning
07-14. 10. IGE u.a. Tuzla - Banovići + Schmalspurbahn, Ilijaš - Vareš
09-11. 10. KŽC
TPWP Special train around Bratislava [SK/CZ]
10. 10. (Chabówka -) Rabka Zdrój - Nowy Sącz and back.
12-20. 10. PTG Special train in Greece (Peloponnese)
15-29. 10. SERVRAIL Special train in Greece
TurKol (Toruń Gł. -) Sierpc - Brodnica (- Grudziądz - Toruń Gł.)
17-25. 10. DGEG Special train in Bosnien und Herzegowina [BA/HR] BA
24. 10. Mercia NL
21. 11. TurKol Freight lines in Rotterdam and Sloehaven PL
29. 11. Landesbahn (Poznań Gł. -) Wągrowiec - Rogoźno Wlkp. and back. AT
29. 11. + ČD CZ
04. 12. ČD (Wien Praterstern -) Paasdorf - Mistelbach Lb - Bullendorf and back. CZ
05. 12. KHT (Č. Budějovice -) Dívčice - Netolice and back. SK
Příbram - Kovohutě Příbram
(Zvolen os.st. -) Zvolen město - Zvolen nákl.st. (- Zvolen os.st.)
BLNI – Africa Extra July 2015
[A60] Algeria - First extension to Algiers metro
On 4 July the first extension of the Alger metro since the line opened in 2011 was inaugurated. The 4 km
eastern extension from Haï El Badr to El Harrach Centre has three stations, with a further intermediate
station at El Harrach Gare to open in the future. Two further extensions are under construction: a branch
from Haï El Badr to Ain Naadja with three stations, and a northern extension from Tafourah Grande Poste
to Place des Martyrs with an intermediate station at Emir Abdelkadar. Both are due to be completed in
2017. In the longer term, an extension east from El Harrach Centre to Houari Boumediene Airport is
scheduled to open in 2020.
[A61] Benin - Metre gauge line to be rehabilitated
On 2 June President Thomas Bony Yayi joined Vincent Bolloré, CEO of railway concessionaire Bolloré
Group, to officially launch the rehabilitation of the 25 km metre gauge Cotonou – Pahou line. The project
includes complete replacement of the track and the rehabilitation of the stations at Cadjèhoun Saint-Jean,
Godomey, Cococodji and Pahou. Bolloré plans to launch a passenger service branded Blueline by the end
of the year, using second hand coaches which have been acquired from Switzerland’s Zentralbahn. It will
also rehabilitate the station in Sémé, which would be the starting point for the planned rehabilitation of
the line to the capital Porto-Novo.
Agreements were reached in April for the rehabilitation of the line running north from Cotonou to Parakou
and the construction of a 574 km extension to Niamey in Niger. The freight and passenger route is
envisaged as part of a 2,700 km loop linking Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin and Togo.
[A62] Ivory Coast - Metro concession signed
A French-Korean consortium signed a build-operate-transfer concession agreement for the Abidjan metro
Line 1 on 6 July. Hyundai Rotem is to supply rolling stock and signalling, Dongsan Engineering the
electrification, and DTP Terrassement and Bouygues Travaux Publics and will be responsible for
engineering work. Keolis is to operate the line. The 37 km line will connect the northern and southern
suburbs via the city centre, and would serve Félix Houphouët-Boigny International Airport. Construction is
estimated to last 5½ years. The first phase is due to be completed in 2019, with passenger services starting
[A63] Malawi/Tanzania/Zambia – New railway into Malawi announced
During a state banquet in July 2015 hosted in his honour by Malawian president Peter Mutharika at
Blantyre, Zambian president Edgar Lungu announced that the railway currently terminating at Chipata is to
be extended to link with the Tanzania-Zambia line. The effect will be to provide Malawi with a rail
connection to Tanzania, as well as a route from northern Zambia through Malawi to the port of Nacala in
[A64] Nigeria - Abuja to Kaduna railway completed
The Abuja-Kaduna rail line is one of the first standard gauge railway modernisation projects undertaken in
Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa. The standard gauge line connects federal capital city Abuja
with its commercial capital Kaduna. Construction of the line started in February 2011 and was completed
in December 2014. China Civil and Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), which is also constructing
the Lagos Rail Mass Transit System in Nigeria, built the line which has nine stations and will be used for
both passenger and freight trains. The passenger trains on the line can operate at a speed between
200km/h and 250km/h. The travel time between Abuja and Kaduna will be reduced to one hour and each
passenger train can carry up to 5,000 commuters. The cargo trains, carrying 800t of goods, will take one
and half hours to travel between the two cities.
The railway modernisation initiative in Nigeria is aimed to replace the existing narrow gauge system with a
standard gauge system, while allowing high-speed train operations on the railway network. The $8.3bn
contract for the Lagos-Kano standard gauge modernisation project awarded to CCECC in 2006 marked the
beginning of the initiative. However, the project couldn't be implemented due to funding problems. It was
later re-scoped into different standalone segments and the existing 1,124km narrow gauge Lagos-Kano line
The 186km long Abuja-Kaduna segment is the first to be implemented as part of the Lagos-Kano standard
gauge project. The next segment to undergo standard gauge renovations is the 312km-long Lagos-Ibadan
rail line, which is a double-track standard gauge line scheduled for completion in 2016. The other standard
gauge line projects in the pipeline include the Lagos-Benin City (300km), Benin-Abakiliki (500km), Benin
Obudu Cattle Ranch (673km), Lagos-Abuja high-speed (615km), Zaria-Birnin Koni (520km), Ega nyi-Otukpo
(533km) and Ega nyi-Abuja. Other projects scheduled are the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri line (1,657km),
Ogoja-Maiduguri, Kano-Gamboru Ngala, Kano-Jibia, and Ilela-Minna rail lines. Public-private partnership
(PPP) strategy is being explored to develop these standard-gauge lines.
[A65] Senegal - Railway services in Senegal
Summary of a posting on World-Rail-Gen. The author had been watching Senegal with interest for several
years hoping for the international train to Mali to restart, but finally gave up on this and decided to make
the trip to investigate the Dakar commuter trains that operate under the Petit Train de Banlieue (PTB)
banner. Originally they booked flights for November last year, but the Ebola outbreak led to them
cancelling that trip and when it calmed down they re-booked a few months ago with flights outward with
Brussels Airlines and return by TAP.
What they found was a Monday to Saturday morning and Monday to Friday evening commuter service
between Dakar and Thiaroye or Rufisque which ran approximately every 30 minutes in the peak operating
a limited stop service. Three of the sets were locomotive and stock, with ex-Indian Railways metre gauge
locomotives generally being used. Of note was that there was currently an ongoing dispute between PTB
and the government over unpaid wages and funds, and after a strike in April there should have been a two
day strike during their visit. However the General Manager’s mother had died so it was thankfully
postponed until a later date. There is also a Monday to Friday service from Thies to Dakar in the morning
and an evening return. Services start from Dakar Crynos, approx 1km from the ornate and derelict Gare
Dakar that is still used to store and service the stock - however access to Gare Dakar was hit and miss
depending on which police officers were on duty at the gate. Trains are busy (but not to Indian standards)
and ticket checkers and security travel on all services, although our informants did not travel after dark for
obvious reasons. They were told once or twice that photography was illegal but no one seemed to enforce
this, possibly because they were discreet (well as discreet as a white man in Africa can be) and used a point
and shoot compact rather than a DSLR.
[A66] Sierra Leone – National Railway Museum established
Up until 1975, Sierra Leone still had a national rail network – more than 300 miles of narrow gauge track,
an iron reminder of its British heritage. Locomotives built in Yorkshire were shipped thousands of miles to
West Africa to transform travel in the country. But in the mid-1970s it closed, the track was torn up and
the workshops bolted shut. Although many of the locomotives and carriages were hauled away for scrap, a
handful were saved – hidden in a quiet corner of the Freetown works.
An old works shunter – now called Nellie – two Hunslet steam engines, four Hudswell Clarke diesels, a
Beyer Garratt locomotive and several carriages, including a royal carriage – built for Queen Elizabeth II who
was due to visit in 1961 – which was never used were discovered by Colonel Steve Davies, with the help of
former railway workers, who was in Sierra Leone in 2002 as part of a British peacekeeping force.
The engines were thought to have been lost during the civil war, but not only did they survive, they
played an important role, housing some of the 10,000 refugees who made the Freetown works their home.
The Welshpool & Llanfair Railway in Wales bought four coaches and a Hunslet loco but the rest stayed in
Sierra Leone. Over the course of the next few years, the rolling stock was carefully restored. The Sierra
Leone National Railway Museum (SLNRM) was formally established in 2005 by President Kabbah, not only
as a way of bringing tourism to such a poor region but to protect Sierra Leone’s railway heritage.
To develop the museum, Steve, who at the time was the director of the National Railway Museum (NRM)
in York, set up the Friends of SLNRM to give the museum access to the wealth of heritage railway
knowledge that exists in the UK. Volunteers from the NRM have even travelled to Sierra Leone to help with
the maintenance of the vehicles and the furthering of the collection. This has included creating recordings
documenting the memories of former rail workers.
In May, the museum’s oldest locomotive Nellie – an 0-4-0 saddle tank shunting engine – celebrated its
100th birthday. The occasion was marked by an event at the Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills.
With the Ebola outbreak now beginning to yield, the museum is hoping to relaunch and attract much-
needed tourism investment. Helen Ashby OBE, chair of the Friends of SLNRM, said, ‘Many years ago ‘Nellie
the Engine’ and her later cousins helped build a nation 3,000 miles away. Now, 100 years later, these
products of Britain’s industrial past are engines for growth once again: they can help rebuild that nation
and help people rebuild their lives.