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8th December 2018

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Published by membersonly, 2018-12-05 16:12:22

1318i

8th December 2018

INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1318 08 DECEMBER 2018

BRANCH LINE NEWS

INTERNATIONAL

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

____________________________________________________

One of the most inaccessible pieces of railway in the world may be the short line along the pier to the base of the
lighthouse on Daedalus Reef. The reef is in Egypt, situated about 90 kilometres from Marsa Alam in the southern Red
Sea. The French built the first lighthouse in 1863 and the British rebuilt it in 1931. Our member believes that the only
boats to call there are the supply boat for the staff (lighthouse keepers, coastguard and military) and diving
liveaboards. The only rail vehicle is a 4-wheel bogie. Both the wheels and the rails were very rusty and he was unable
to shift the bogie by himself. Enlisting assistance was not considered an option as he had no wish to raise doubts in
the minds of his friends as to his sanity. He wondered if it was still in use but one of the dive guides on the boat later
told him that it was.

EUROPE

[474] Austria – Achenseebahn in danger
The Achenseebahn (T311: Jenbach - Achensee) is potentially in danger of closure at the end of the 2019
tourist season owing to poor track condition. Now that this year's tourist season has finished, the line
needs to be examined. It is thought that renovation will cost about €4 million. As it is a tourist line, the
Tirol region does not wish to subsidise it. However, it can be funded only if a (daily?) public passenger

service is run, whereupon the region would be required to do so by law. Some second hand EMUs were
acquired from the Appenzeller Bahn on favourable terms but there is no indication at present whether
they will be put to work.
The closure threat is no doubt the opening salvo in a campaign to gain funding for renovation. However,
anybody wanting the line would probably be advised to travel on it next year in case it does close.

[475] Belgium/France - Dinant to Givet again proposed for reopening
Yet again this long mothballed line is being proposed for re-opening, as the French and Belgian
governments signed an agreement to perform a study for the reopening of the Dinant to Givet line on
19 November. The official blurb is attached to this e-mail for a press report
https://www.matele.be/la-france-plus-que-jamais-motivee-par-la-liaison-dinant-givet?jwsource=fb
There is an adequate bus service from Dinant Railway Station to Givet Railway Station which calls at all
the places between the two. It is run by TEC and has the number 154a. When our member travelled on
it in May 2017 the bus was not busy and it went very quickly between the two places. On the return he
was the only person who made the whole journey and the bus only picked up one person who did a bus
stop leap to the shop. The fare was only €3.50 each way and the journey time some 41 minutes. It is not
a bad service with the first bus off Givet at 06:12 and the last at 18:12 running most hours through the
day. The first bus off Dinant is 06:07 and the last at 20:07. In true francophone style some of the buses
only run one way from Dinant to Givet and then back empty! https://www.infotec.be/fr-
be/medeplacer/horaires/ligne.aspx?ligne=N1541&titre=154a%20DINANT%20-%20GIVET
A study showed that the subsidy per bus passenger was €4 and each train passenger would need at least
€10 subsidy per journey. Fifteen years ago the estimated cost of reinstatement was €15 million per
kilometre and costs since then will have only gone one way.
So is there the passenger demand? It might work if the SNCF service to Givet was extended to Dinant,
but you are then dealing with SNCF and it's legendary customer service. The service from Charleville-
Mézièrs to Namur might work but you either have the problem of Belgian stock working to France or
French stock working into Belgium. (The article refers to a possible Brussels –Namur – Reims service.
Ed.) Another problem is that the Belgian Authorities are turning Line 154 between Waulsort and
Anseremme into a RAVel in 2019. RAVeL is a network of hiking paths and is an initiative of the Walloon
region in Belgium. The Region aims to have a network of routes for pedestrians, cyclists, disabled and
riders where the situation allows . This network of greenways uses towpaths and disused railways leased
by a 99-year lease by Region. The idea is to build a network where all the paths are linked together. The
RAVeL project was introduced in October 1995. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAVeL_network
The British equivalent is probably Sustrans but the RAVel scheme is Belgium does not appear to be as
militant. The idea in Belgium is to preserve the route and in some cases as a prelude to re-opening as a
railway. Turning disused railways into linear paths preserves the right of way and they can be re-opened.
Once the land has been sold and a housing estate built, re-opening is virtually impossible.

[476] Czech Republic – New railway tunnel and cut-off open
The Březenský tunnel near Chomutov, at 1758 metres length was the longest tunnel in the Czech
Republic, but the title is now held (until 7 December) by the 4159 metre-long southern bore of the
Epjovice tunnel between Rokycany and Plzeň-Doubravka on the Praha to Plzeň line, following its opening
(for revenue earning freight services) on 15 November 2018. Passenger services followed the next day.
There are two bores under the Chlum and Homolka hills, the northern being the longer at 4174 metres.

They form part of a new 14.1 km double-track alignment which replaces the 20.2 km route via Chrást u
Plzně, which will now be partly closed.
Trains are initially only using the southern bore until 7 December, and will run at a maximum speed of
50 km/h until the launch of the full service and 160 km/h running with the 9 December timetable change.
Testing for 200 km/h running is planned for 2019.
A member travelled the new line on 24/25 November and confirms that only the south tunnel was in
use. Some track at the west end of the north tunnel remained to be connected/laid, there were gaps in
the overhead wiring on the north tunnel line and ballasting was in progress at the east end. As a result
of the temporary single line section, some local trains were replaced by buses. However some "R"
services were calling additionally at Ejpovice to allow connections to and from trains to Radnice. These
were extended from their usual starting point Chrást u Plzně. Ejpovice will be the permanent starting
point for these trains once the north tunnel is opened. The west end of the former main line near Plzen
Doubravka had already been lifted. The line had also been singled at the east end between Ejpovice and
Chrást, but with the overhead wiring left in place. The layout at Chrást u Plzně was unchanged, but that
may only be temporary as the sidings were fully in use in connection with track lifting trains. The former
main line west of Chrást was still in situ.

[477] Denmark – Lines without services at the start of 2019
DSB working timetables for 2019 show that there still seem to be no trains via the short stretch of HSL
via Dybbølsbro – Ny Ellebjerg – Høje Taastrup (Hvidovre Fjern), which appears to have had no booked
service since the 2016/17 timetable. The line through to Ringsted is supposed to be opening in May 2019
but there have been serious problems with the signalling, which would limit it to 1 train per hour! On
this basis, one must wonder if it will open as scheduled.
The Lemvig Havn Bjergbane did not operate in 2018 as the line is in need of renovation before it can
carry passengers again. There is no information on the website which might suggest any repairs are
planned, so the future of this short heritage line is uncertain.

[478] France – Closure confirmed
Kalhausen to Sarre-Union is to close. French Wikipedia states that closure will be on 22 December 2018
and the IBSE Liste says 21 December, which is presumably the date of the last train. Apparently the
closure is ‘temporary’ until a decision is taken on the future of the line; the speed restrictions of 20 and
40 km/h being put in place mean that it is not practicable to run a rail service.

[479] France – Curve used by TGV services loses passenger service
The 3.5km chord connecting the Grenoble to Valence line with the LGV Mediterranee near Valence TGV
has lost its passenger service. A member recalls that he ‘did’ the chord line, opened in early 2014, in late
August 2014 by accident without realising it was such rare track. He happened on it when the line west
of Geneva was closed, and a bus connection to Annemasse then TER to Annecy to connect with a direct
TGV to Marseille via Grenoble was proposed by the SNCF website and looked like an interesting
alternative to the bus via the usual itinerary, partly by bus and via Lyon. He had not realized until recently
that this at most once or twice-weekly TGV (depending on the season) was the only service booked over
the chord. Now he learns from an informal email mailing list (the writer did not acknowledge any press
source) that this train ran for the last time on 4 November thus leaving this section of LGV without any
booked passenger train. He has checked the public website and indeed all Annecy-Marseille journeys

now entail a change from TER to TGV with connection times varying from a few minutes to an hour. This
withdrawal is perhaps hardly surprising perhaps given the apparent lack of publicity, the decline of ticket
sales by well-informed humans and the unlikelihood of potential users chancing on it on internet
bookings unless timings and days of running corresponded to their first choice of travel times.

[480] Germany – The Köln to Lüdenscheid service
The reintroduction of passenger services over the railway between Gummersbach and Brügge (Westf)
has taken place over almost 15 years. Since 10 December 2017 it has been possible to travel all the way
from Hagen to Köln via Gummersbach, following the re-opening to passengers of the line from
Meinerzhagen to Brügge (Westf). There is no through service, with trains running from both Dortmund
Hbf and Köln-Hansaring to Lüdenscheid, connecting at Brügge (Westf). For passenger purposes Brügge
(Westf) is now named Lüdenscheid-Brügge, but the impressive gantry signal box still carries the old
name. The original passenger station at Lüdenscheid was completely swept away in 2009 and trains now
terminate in a platform immediately adjacent to the bus station. There was considerable criticism from
local people that no buildings to replace the former station were provided until 2015. The bus station
appears to occupy the area where the tracks once were, and the Finanzamt Lüdenscheid (tax office) is
on the site of the station building. The line between Brügge and Meinerzhagen has been re-opened to
passengers with the least possible expenditure. No intermediate stations have re-opened yet, though
Oberbrügge and Kierspe appear in the timetable with no trains shown as stopping. The level crossings
have not been upgraded and all are open, with no warning of oncoming trains. At just one crossing there
is a person to put a temporary barrier across the road when a train is coming. That results in trains

making a very cautious approach to the crossings, resulting in an average speed between Meinerzhagen
and Brügge of only 50 km/hr. There is an hourly service from Köln to Meinerzhagen, with alternate trains
continuing to Lüdenscheid. It is to be hoped that there will be an hourly service throughout once the
level crossings have been upgraded and Kierspe and Oberbrügge stations are open. There is rail cycling
along the branch from Oberbrügge to Halver; for the first few hundred metres cyclists are pedalling
along a track immediately adjacent to the running line and with no fence or barrier between the two.
The freight branch from Meinerzhagen to Krummenerl, which serves a basalt quarry, appears well-used.
Track remains on the closed line to Olpe from Dieringhausen, but it is disconnected and heavily
overgrown. Many stations between Meinerzhagen and Köln have been rebuilt, with a particularly
impressive combined rail and bus station at Gummersbach. For much of the day, Mondays to Fridays,
there are two trains per hour between Köln and Gummersbach. At other times the service is half hourly
between Köln and Overath. It is 98 km from Köln Hbf to Lüdenscheid, with a journey time of about two
hours. It is quicker, but more expensive, to do the journey via Hagen.

This photograph shows the new rail/bus station at Lüdenscheid. The train is the 15:06 to Dortmund on 24 October and is one of DB's new Polish-
built DMUs. Our member believes trains used to terminate to the far left of the bus station.

[481] Germany – Duisburg service to close from December 2019, but...
The Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr have announced that they intend to close the very lightly-used RB37
service between Duisburg Hbf and Duisburg-Entenfang from December 2019. Services will be replaced
by a higher frequency on existing bus route 928 (30 minute frequency, and every 15 mins at peak time,
as opposed to hourly on the train). The VRR say that this closure will apparently not prejudice plans to
reopen the currently freight and diversionary-use only Ratinger Weststrecke between Düsseldorf-Rath
and Duisburg to passengers, but the line is needed for diversionary use in the next few years during the

line upgrades for the RRX (Rhein-Ruhr Express) project, and if the RB37 service were to be retained it
would be severely disrupted.
[482] Germany – The Turmbergbahn visited
The Turmbergbahn is a funicular that climbs a hill in the Karlsruhe suburb of Durlach. A 13th century
defensive tower is sited at the top of the hill, from which it is possible to see as far as Strasbourg and
Speyer on a clear day. Since closure of the Malbergbahn at Bad Ems in 1979, the Turmbergbahn has
been the oldest funicular railway in Germany. The Drahtseilbahn AG Durlach Turmberg was established
in 1887 to build the railway, which opened in the following year. As built, the funicular was operated by
water ballast and fitted with Riggenbach rack for braking. In 1913 it was proposed to convert it to electric
working, but the First World War and the economic conditions that followed prevented that. The line
was not electrically worked until 1966, following complete modernisation which did away with the rack
braking. Karlsruhe City Council owned 51% of the shares in the company from 1919, and the railway was
taken over by the local transport undertaking, VBK, in 1983. The line is 315 metres long and rises by 101
metres. It carries about 100,000 passengers per year. The line is capable of being operated by one
person, with one of the cars out of use. The railway operates daily 10:00 to 20:00 April to October. From
November to March it operates 10:00 to 18:00 at weekends and holidays, also 11:00 to 17:00 Mondays
to Fridays if the weather is fine. However, there is a maintenance period in late November when the
line is closed. The lower station is close to the Durlach terminus of tram route 1. Karlsruhe day tickets
and similar are not valid on the funicular.

This is the Turmbergbahn, showing the car with a large sign saying that passengers should travel in the other one.

[483] Italy - Maddaloni-Marcianise smistamento
Maddaloni-Marcianise smistamento is a large marshalling yard to the north of Napoli, which opened as
recently as 1993.

Courtesy of europeanrailwayatlas.com

As built, there were 20 arrival sidings and 32 departure sidings. There was a locomotive depot at the
yard and also a goods depot, with customs clearance facilities. A new line was built to serve the yard,
from Gricignano-Teverola to Cancello, with a north-facing curve towards Caserta at the Cancello end. A
railway direct to the west end of the yard from the Cassino line at Capua was under construction, but
seems never to have been completed. The formation, including a lengthy concrete viaduct, appears
complete but is extensively overgrown at the Capua end. It is not clear how much track was laid, but
some has been lifted at the Maddaloni-Marcianise end. The railway serving the yard was freight-only,
but in recent years a few overnight trains have run this way, between Gricignano-Teverola and Cancello.
Initially, this was just ICN1559 Roma to Siracusa, and on Monday night only, but this year ICN1956
Siracusa to Roma has been scheduled via Maddaloni-Marcianise every night. What was much more
exceptional was the operation of daytime IC trains between Roma and Napoli via the yard because of
engineering work on 31 August to 2 September and 1 to 4 November 2018 (as advertised on the EGTRE
website and reported in BLNI 1307.238). These also did the north-facing curve from the yard towards
Caserta, which is not used by the night trains. A daylight trip via Maddaloni-Marcianise revealed that the
yard is hardly used. Many elderly wagons were present, looking as if they had not moved for a long
time, together with withdrawn passenger carriages. The western departure line is disconnected and
large areas of the yard are returning to nature. The freight terminal, on the north side of the yard, still
appears to see traffic. There is extensive information, in Italian, about the construction and opening of
the yard at http://www.larassegnadischia.it/Gli%20anni/testi-articoli/anni93-94/marcianise.html.

This was taken through the window of a moving train, but interest may outweigh quality. It shows the control tower at Maddaloni-Marcianise
smistamento and the overgrown adjacent sidings. It looks as if the tracks over the hump have been taken out of use and are blocked by two
buffer stops.

[484] Romania - Line 704 is in danger
Line 704 runs Mărășești - Tecuci – Barboși – Galați. It is the eastern end of the line that has problems.
Deforestation and other human activities have recently led to a massive increase in sedimentation and
erosion in the Danube and its tributary the Siret in the area around Galați, a major city in the east of
Romania near the border with the Moldova. Of most concern to railway authorities is near Serbestii
Vechi where the Siret is changing its course and has reduced the distance of the river to the railway from
60 metres to 30 metres since June this year. The National Water Authority "Apele Romane" said that it
has already provided around 7.3 million lei for emergency work, but more money needs to be invested
to stop the erosion.

[485] Romania – How to get to and from the Anina line
With reference to recent BLNI 1313.373, a member actually travelled to Anina on Friday 12 October: not
an easy journey as it is currently impossible to get to and from the Anina branch junction station at
Oravița by train on the same day! Outbound is straightforward enough travelling from Timișoara Nord
by two trains, both ex SNCF Caravelles, the first leaving Timișoara Nord at 07:23 and going to Berzovia
with a booked arrival 08:54. This arrived slightly late but the 09:00 to Oravița waited and got our member
to Oravița at 10:39 giving a good connection onto the daily branch departure for Anina at 11:15. Each
train had required a separate ticket, total cost 16.2 Lei [£3]. Loadings on the 09:00 Berzovia to Oravița
were very poor, raising concerns about the future of the service, already withdrawn once. Reassuringly
there were quite a few people milling around the station at Oravița and three wooden bodied coaches

(built 1914 apparently) on an adjacent track. It was known in advance that the Anina service was
locomotive hauled, and fortunately before the 10:49 to Berzovia (last train of the day!) a Class 69 diesel
appeared – so it was game on! By the time of departure it was clear that the train was going to be far
from full, although the CFR website insisted a reservation was required, with a group occupying the rear
vehicle but hardly anyone in the other two. Enquiries confirmed that the guard would sell a ticket, and
that turned out to be 10 Lei single.
The line to Anina was the fifth to be built in all of what is now Romania, primarily to transport coal down
towards the Danube for onwards transportation. It was completed in 1863 during the Austrian Empire
and given the nickname of the Semmering of Banat giving a clue as to the nature of the line and the
region. The lines website at http://www.oravita-anina.eu/en/index.php goes as far as saying “Any
person fond of trains and mountain trips should take this route at least once in a lifetime”, but in the
opinion of the writer this is overplaying it somewhat. Even in Autumn with the colours turning it was
simply a scenic hillside railway, an enthusiasts impression not helped by the loco never having to strain
itself on the three lightly loaded coaches with a maximum gradient of 1 in 50. The line is 34km long rising
340 metres with numerous tunnels, viaducts and tight curves down to a radius of 114 m (so the line has
always required special locomotives), so is most definitely a very pleasant journey and worth the effort
in visiting, but not a must do for anyone’s bucket list.... Old maps show many now closed spurs off the
line and there are a few abandoned pit heads and sidings visible en route, but there is no current freight.

Gârliște station, 3.5km from village of the same name, and no road between them.... Google maps shows the line to the left
petering out after 400 metres.

So as there is just the one pair of trains a day there is no need for functional passing loops. It seemed
excessive that two of the five intermediate stations plus Anina had Redcaps. Nice work if you can get it!

At Anina ready to form 13:30 departure back to Oravița

Even though the train returns earlier from 1 October (from Anina at 13:30) and arrives at Oravița at
15:35, there is no way of getting back to Timișoara by train. With no train, research had found a limited
bus service from Oravița to Reșița followed by a nearly two hour wait for a train back to Timișoara and
this was the fall back plan, but it was hoped to arrange a taxi on the day from Anina to Reșița to do
additional CFR track, plus getting back earlier to the hotel. Our member had 25 minutes at Anina to
decide. On asking the Redcap for assistance our member was pointed at a poster in the station building
window, and within 5 minutes a taxi appeared at the station for a journey to Reșița Nord station, around
30km away, the fare being pre-arranged. To help anyone who may want to pre-book from their previous
night’s hotel for a future trip, the Anina based taxi company number was +40 734 726 808. Reșița Nord
is where DMUs towards Timișoara via Berzovia terminate and the taxi journey took 40 minutes at a cost
of 100 Lei including a tip, easily making the hoped for 14:40 departure. This was to Berzovia to fill in the
gap to the outbound route and was again a Caravelle. A 15:28 arrival nicely connected with a 15:36 train
back to Reșița Nord, where it was possible to fit in the electrified branch end to Reșița Sud. From here it
was a journey with electric locomotive and corridor coaches via Reșița Nord to Caransebeș on the
Craiova main line. This was reached just before dark at 19:14 for an instant connection to Timișoara
arriving at 21:34, a much more satisfying afternoon than returning from Oravița partly by bus.

[486] Spain – Service to Almeria cut back one station
Services to Almeria were cut back on 14 November to the next (former) station up the line, Huércal-
Viator, where passenger trains had reportedly ceased to call about 20 years ago. A provisional terminal
station has been provided here, apparently at considerable cost. A bus will convey passengers between
there and the "real" Almeria station. This has nothing to do with the recent bad weather and consequent
washouts. The reason is the start of work for the future AVE line (from Murcia) at El Puche (looking at
google etc maps, this appears to be the crossing with the Carretera de Mami, about 2.5 km from the
present station) level-crossing, which will be eliminated and the new line put underground into Almeria.
No timescales, other than “years”, nor whether the new alignment will lead into the traditional Almeria
station or if a new one will be built. It seems that the local people (possibly with the Granada example
in mind) are annoyed by what is taking place. They claim that the relevant work could have been
achieved (at similar cost) in a less inconvenient way, e.g. by means of a temporary by-pass line.

Courtesy of europeanrailwayatlas.com

[487] Spain – New track for gricers due to flood damage
A severe storm hit parts of Andalucia on 21 October. One result was that the Río Blanco broke its banks
and destroyed the girder bridge west of Aguadulce (between Osuna and Pedrera) carrying the Sevilla -
Osuna - Antequera SA line. There is at present a bus service between Osuna and Pedrera for passengers
between Sevilla and Málaga, and between Osuna and Antequera SA passengers between Sevilla and
Granada/Almería. As it would take months to rebuild the bridge, the Public Works ministry and ADIF
have agreed to use a section of the incomplete high speed line between Antequera and Seville. (Work
ceased when the contractor went bankrupt). Fortunately the formation between Osuna and Pedrera
was completed. Track will be laid on an 11 km section of the HSL formation, between locations where
the old and new lines run side by side, bypassing the missing bridge. The old route will never reopen.

[488] Switzerland/Italy – The Luino area visited
Work on the Ceneri base tunnel (between Bellinzona and Lugano) appears to be progressing well. The
approach viaduct from Giubiasco is complete and work on the southern connection at Lamone seems
to be well-advanced. However, a significant amount of Gotthard freight is unlikely to use the new line,
because it is routed via Luino, following the single-track railway along the eastern shore of Lake
Maggiore. This gives direct access to major freight terminals at Busto Arsizio and Novara. Trains to
Novara use the line from Laveno-Mombello to Oleggio, from which passenger train services were
withdrawn in 2013. Those to Busto Arsizio can run from Laveno-Mombello via the passenger line
through Ternate-Varano Borghi or via the north side of the triangle at Sesto Calende. There are lengthy
passing loops at many of the stations via Luino, in order to accommodate the freight traffic. The amount
of freight probably accounts for the passenger trains between Cadenazzo and Gallarate via Luino only
running every two hours, with other services within Switzerland being provided by bus. An unusual
feature of the line is the long-standing operation by FFS to Luino, 15 km into Italy. This is a legacy of the
railway to Luino having been built by the Gotthard Bahn, a Swiss company. It was electrified, using the
Swiss 15kV AC system, in 1960. This used to require passengers to change trains at Luino and, until
Switzerland became part of the Schengen area in 2009, frontier checks were carried out there. That was
despite the Swiss trains calling at three stations within Italy before reaching Luino. Today there is just a
brief stop at Luino while the multi-system train switches between Italian DC and Swiss AC.

[489] Switzerland – Correction to BLNI 1317.469, New viaduct built near Reichenau-Tamins
A knowledgeable member has provided a correction and additional information for this item. The new
viaduct is part of the doubling of the line between Reichenau and the junction where the lines to Filisur
and Disentis separate and was opened from start of traffic 4 November 2018. The original viaduct was
closed at this point for refurbishment and from November 2019 will return to use as part of the new
double track.

REST OF THE WORLD

[490] Canada – The Canadian rescheduled
Timings for the revised schedule have now been confirmed, effective from 29 April, with just two trains
per week east of Edmonton:
Train #1 leaves Toronto 09:30 Wednesday and Saturday, Edmonton 00:01 Saturday & Wednesday, and
arrives Vancouver 08:00 Sunday & Thursday (journey time 97.5 hours)
Train #2 leaves Vancouver 15:00 Monday & Friday, Edmonton 19:50 Tuesday & Saturday, and arrives
Toronto 15:00 Friday and Tuesday (journey time 94 hours)
The Edmonton/Vancouver section is still served by a third train each week (April 30 to October 8)
operating to the same timings, leaving Edmonton 00:01 Friday as Train #3, and Vancouver 15:00 Tuesday
as Train #4. The reduced service level east of Edmonton is deemed necessary due to extensive
engineering work planned by CN. The full day’s turn-round time at Toronto will eliminate dependency
of westbound departures upon punctual eastbound arrivals. The discrepancy in end-to-end journey
times is accounted for by a very relaxed schedule westbound between Kamloops North and Vancouver,
to avoid an arrival there in the early hours; it also means that a train could be as much as 5 hours late at
Kamloops and still achieve a punctual arrival. Breakfast will not be served on the final morning. All in all
the changes, whilst regrettable, should deliver a much more reliable service and stop the reputational
damage suffered by VIA Rail earlier this year. Westbound passengers will unfortunately traverse the
Thompson and Fraser canyons in darkness, but will still be able to enjoy the Rocky Mountains.

[491] Morocco - Moroccan King and French President Inaugurate Al Boraq High Speed Train
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and French President Emmanuel Macron inaugurated on Thursday 15
November Morocco’s first high-speed rail line, known as Al Boraq, the first such line in Africa, capable
of running at up to 320 km/h. The project required an investment of USD2.3 billion of which 51 percent
was financed by France, 27 percent by Morocco and 22 percent by four sovereign Gulf funds. The
Moroccan and French leaders boarded the train in Tangier after they were handed tickets by the Director
General of the National Railway Office. The section opened is from Tangier to Kenitra, with Kenitra to
Casablanca expected to open in 2020. Construction work started in 2011 and was supposed to be
complete by 2015, finally slipping by 3 years.

LCGB Programme 2019
In 2019 the LCGB is pleased to renew its invitation to BLS members to participate in its Overseas Study
Tours. A brief outline of each is shown below. Further information on each tour is placed on the LCGB
website as it becomes available at www.lcgb.org.uk. To join LCGB Overseas Tours travel insurance is
mandatory. Further details will appear as they become available on the LCGB website or contact Adrian
Palmer, 46 Heathside, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 9YL Tel 07774 859871, email - [email protected]
Taiwan – March 2019 - with optional South Korea and North Borneo extension.
South Africa – April 2019 - Stars of Sandstone festival followed by optional main line steam tour from
Bethlehem – Bloemfontein plus Kimberley for Steamnet 2000
Austria – Using 8-day Tirol pass - dates to be confirmed
Mexico – 10 days – tour for late autumn in planning stage
Ethiopia/Djibouti – Autumn 2019 - travel on new electrified sg line plus new light rail lines and
sightseeing.


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