INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1243 17 OCTOBER 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
Beograd Glavna is the main railway station of Serbia and was built between 1881 and 1884 by the Oriental Railway (CO)
as part of the Istanbul-Wien railway. It opened 23 August 1884, but before the construction of the station was complete,
the CO handed ownership of the station to the newly formed Serbian Railways, but operated trains to the station via
trackage rights until 1913, when the Oriental Railway ceased operations outside of the Ottoman Empire. A terminus,
there have long been plans to replace most of its functions by a through station, Beograd Centar, and these seem to be
 Austria - More trams that go into Wien Hauptwerkstatte
BLNI 1239.296 reported a tram from line 6 on route 71 which enters the Hauptwerkstatte (the main
workshops). Another member has provided details of more trams that do this, identified from the
downloadable timetable at http://www.wienerlinien.at/media/download/2015/Linie_71_149681.pdf, by
being picked out in pink squares. The services appear identical to those operating in July 2013 (when our
second member visited) with 3 early morning services M-F all year around but with the particular service
noted (14:25 ex-Borse) being confined to the school holiday period (Ferien). Why this service should only
run in the school holidays he is unable to explain. However the experience then on the early morning
service was that traversal of the works itself seemed perfectly possible as no-one even appeared to notice
the lonely passenger circling the works loop. It can be guessed that in the afternoon the inbound tram is
empty and fills outbound, this possibly might make a passenger more obvious but sat in the trailer your
correspondent doubts any interference. The Wien tram system is a labyrinth of odd workings providing
unusual sections of track and is well worth exploring.
Although clearly signed ‘Hauptwerkstatte’ when he joined the tram, the sign says Sonderzug (special train) as it goes
round the depot loop, with our member taking a photograph through the window – always difficult, and often
unsatisfactory due to reflections.
 Finland – Closure list
Updating BLNI 1242.356, the complete list of lines for closure on 27 March 2016 is as follows: Joensuu –
Nurmes, Varkaus – Joensuu, Orivesi – Haapamäki and Seinäjoki - Haapamäki - Jyväskylä.
 France - Gare de Metz gains passenger capacity but loses horse capacity
Members may recall that e-BLNI 1240 had a picture of Metz station gracing the front page, and the final
words of the caption were that ‘the station was therefore sized with platforms large enough to allow
loading of troops on foot and horseback’. Little did your editor realise that a few weeks later he would be
writing a further item on Metz station, with mention of horses!
On 3 September Metz station saw two new platforms inaugurated, taking the total to ten. Together with a
resignalling scheme and the new computerized signal box at Pagny-sur-Moselle, this has dramatically
increased capacity at the station. Previously simultaneous arrivals and departures were impossible and the
station was considered to be at saturation. Before the scheme platforms 4 and 5 were level with the rails -
a height suitable for loading of horses - but these have now been raised to the standard 55cm height.
Doubtless the German Army is much relieved at the reduction of the threat of horseborne invasion.
 France/Belgium - Getting to the Sud Ardennes Explorer and afterwards Part 1
En route to the BLS Challerange trip a member travelled via Belgium and returned home (as you do) via
Brest in Brittany! Outbound was via Libramont to Bertrix for a first time journey via Virton and Athus to
Arlon which had been reinstated as long ago as 10 December 2006! A Eurostar ticket including all stations
in Belgium was valid to Virton, and with the guards blessing was then accepted to Arlon via Athus. No
evidence was seen of any progress on the proposed avoiding curves at Libramont and Bertrix shown in the
Ball Atlas. From Arlon the plan was to travel via Rodange in Luxembourg to Longwy in France, a distance of
just over 20km, but by train this involves two changes and two border crossings which need separate
tickets for each leg as none of the SNCB, CFL or SNCF websites could sell anything apart from “their” part
of the chain. This proved to be the case on the day too. So €3.10 from Arlon to Athus within Belgium, the
guard on the CFL train from there to Rodange declined to charge the €3 when unable to sell a ticket to
Longwy, and the CFL Booking Office Clerk at Rodange initially advised your correspondent that a bus for a
cheaper fare left before the next train, but was persuaded to sell him a €4.80 train ticket! This route had
been taken as it had been suggested that the Longwy cross border service was threatened, but well over
50 commuters alighted from the 17:16 arrival at Longwy, less so off the late arriving 17:46 where it was
noted the 17:51 SNCF service to Reims was held to connect, even though only three passengers did so.
At Rodange the hourly Luxembourg RB stopping services via Esch use a relatively new Voie 7 which is the
furthest north side through track of the small yard, so it is four tracks away from the other platforms and
uses yard connections at the east end of the station towards Pétange.
On arrival at Longwy an SNCF Bi-mode train arrived from the south and then formed a service heading for
Thionville via Rodange. Your correspondent had no idea such a service existed and according to EGTRE it
uses the Bettembourg avoiding line and is threatened with withdrawal at the December 2015 timetable
change, so an annoying miss. On exchanges with like-minded souls on return to the UK, a traveller on this
service in May advised an eastbound working was poorly patronised and it additionally ran via the outer
line around Bettembourg Yard as apparently traversed by a Mercia Tour in July 2003.
The Longwy - Saulnes branch remains connected but very rusty and grass-grown, clearly long term OOU,
and the Longuyon avoiding curve shown on Ball maps was obviously closed and lifted years ago. The 36km
long freight branch from Pont-Maugis to Stenay was shiny at the main line junction and the Mohon
avoiding curve, as suggested on the new Schweers & Wall atlas for Northern France, diverges some way
from its eastern junction and runs parallel to the passenger line and showed signs of light use, with, as
expected, the Charleville-Mézières avoiding curve very shiny.
 Germany – Frankenberg to Korbach Süd finally opens
The 30km line between Frankenberg and Korbach Süd was reopened and officially inaugurated on 11
September with a weekend of special trains. Service trains commenced a two hourly service on 14
 Germany - Tour of Threatened Lines
Four lines in Sachsen-Anhalt and one in Sachsen are currently proposed for closure, probably in December
2015. The proposed closures are for financial and decline in traffic reasons, though a member who visited
the area over two weekdays July queries the ‘traffic’ reason as there were no ticket checks on four of the
lines suggesting fraudulent travel is reducing recorded loadings. It is possible that passenger loads are
greater outside the holiday period.
Stendal – Tangermünde (KBS 269).
This line is operated by DB using 2 car class 642 DMUs running to an approximately hourly (Mon-Fri)
timetable with a journey time of 12 minutes. The train leaves from an east facing bay platform at Stendal,
passes through the yard and turns in a south easterly direction passing an industrial plant which may
provide rail traffic but looks as though it hasn’t done so recently. After passing through farmland the
outskirts of Tangermünde are reached and then the rather run down station. There were about 20
passengers on the 12:16 train, mostly students. A few alighted at the intermediate stations, most travelled
through to the terminus. There are several parallel bus routes which would make closure straightforward.
Calbe Ost – Bernburg (KBS 340 -part).
This service runs two hourly at weekends, but only 5 times a day during the week when trains run through
to Magdeburg Hbf. Operated as route RB48 by DB using a 2 car class 642 DMU the 15:22 from Magdeburg
departed with few passengers. Heading southeast along the main line towards Halle it stopped at
Schönebeck (Elbe), continued passing a facing connection to freight only section of line 6118 (northeast
towards the river Elbe at Barby), then passed under a remnant of line 6118 (the former Berlin to
Blankenheim line) before calling at Calbe Ost where it reversed and lost most of it passengers. Turning
through approximately 270° to run in a south westerly direction the route joins the remnant of 6118 and
calls at Calbe Stadt, a station only opened in late 2014! Next comes Calbe West where line 6118 once
continued straight ahead, its route now blocked by buffer stops. The train now headed approximately
south along line 6853 pausing at Nienburg where most of the remaining passengers left. After Nienburg a
triangular junction connects the line to a series of large active industrial plants which appeared to supply
traffic to the line. The train passed the stations of Bernburg Strenzfeld and Bernburg Waldau before
terminating at Bernburg. A couple of notes may be of interest. Line 6118 formerly ran from Berlin to
Blankenheim carrying traffic towards Erfurt and Halberstadt and the Harz, (according to wiki was part of a
main line to Metz, France). The Weisenberg - Barby and Calbe West – Gusten sections are closed to all
traffic. Plans exist for a connection at Calbe to remove the need for reversal at Calbe Ost. At Bernburg,
visible from the ‘main’ line is a 900mm gauge electrified private line connecting a limestone(?) mine to a
Additionally, our correspondent took the HEX service from Bernburg to Könnern, another almost empty
train, possibly a threatened line for the future?
Merseburg – Querfurt (KBS 586)
Operated by DB subsidiary Burgenlandbahn using 4 wheel class 672 railbuses with a seating capacity of 64
this service runs hourly during the week and two hourly at weekends. This line had the distinction of being
the only one of the threatened lines where any ticket checks took place and this happened after each stop.
Departing from Merseburg on the Halle to Erfurt/Jena main line, this line runs approximately westwards to
its terminus, passing through a mix of rural and former industrial areas including a number of large, former
brown coal ‘holes’, now mostly reclaimed and used for leisure. In the rural areas one of the main crops
appeared to be electricity, with fields full of solar panels. Between Mücheln and Langeneichstädt the new
high speed line from Erfurt to Halle is crossed. The trains give excellent forward views of the undulating
nature of the line. A good load of about 25 plus several bicycles departed from Merseburg, but most had
left before the mid-point of Braunsbedra where another train was crossed. The train then filled up to
about 20 or so by the end of the journey. A similar load was carried on the return journey with slightly
fewer passengers but more bicycles. How will these be carried on any replacement bus? Some industry
remains, including at the terminus Querfurt and provides freight traffic for the line, so passenger closure
would not see much line disappear.
Weißenfels – Zeitz (KBS 551)
Another route operated by Burgenlandbahn with class 672 units, this line connects Weißenfels on the
Halle – Erfurt mainline with Zeitz on the Leipzig – Gera line and is also worked by class 672 railbuses. The
weekday service is hourly with a mid morning gap and two hourly at weekends. Again a mix of industry
and farming, this time with rather more industry, particularly around the crossing point of Teuchern where
a freight train was waiting to follow one of the passenger trains. At Zeitz it was observed that the onward
connections to Leipzig were bustituted, thus disrupting plans to ‘do’ the final threatened line of the day, so
it was back to Weißenfels with the 672. On the return journey the train was delayed at Teuchern awaiting
a crossing move which was itself delayed waiting for another (different) freight to precede it towards Zeitz,
so plenty of freight to keep this line open. Passenger loadings were good on both journeys so perhaps
other passengers were trying to avoid the buses!
Döbeln – Roßwein – Nossen – Meißen Triebischtal (KBS 506 -part)
This service is run as part of route RB110, a through service from Leipzig Hbf to Meißen, and only the
section beyond Döbeln is under threat. During the weeks it runs two hourly throughout with an hourly
service as far as Grimma, some of these continuing to Döbeln, especially in the afternoon. The weekend
service is similar, but without the Döbeln extensions. The service is worked by DB using class 642 2 car
DMUs. Moleworks (so called because the DB posters show moles digging up the tracks!) were in progress
between Borsdorf (where the service leaves the Leipzig – Dresden main-line) and Naunhof. Three buses
were needed to shift the crowds that descended from the single class 642 at Borsdorf with approximately
one bus load joining the train to Meißen. The line becomes more scenic as it gets to Döbeln and beyond.
This was by far the most attractive of the lines surveyed, however the train was almost empty by Döbeln.
On the threatened section, again passing through attractive countryside, few passengers joined, with most
business done at Roßwein and Nossen and no more than 15-20 leaving the train at Meißen. Should this
line close it will leave the preservation group at Nossen cut off from the passenger system. No freight was
seen on the journey.
 Hungary/Romania/Bulgaria - Europe Trip – 30 May to 6 June Part 2
Today our member was leaving on the overnight to Beograd and had devised a number of options, the
most risky of which was to cover the Dobrinishte branch, as it involved catching a bus back. In the end the
temptation proved too much and, early the following morning he caught the Plovdiv service as far as
Septemvri, where, after a walk across the main line, he eventually found the narrow gauge station. This
branch has already been described in a recent BLNI, but two amusing features stood out. The first was two
policemen who seemed to be transporting a couple of (very live) pigeons to Velingrad, one of the few
significant towns on the route, and the second, a very harassed women who was exchanging paperwork
with station staff along the line and who annoyed both the policemen and railway staff by talking very
loudly and at great length on her phone, and also by delaying the train at every stop. Despite all this the
train managed to arrive at Dobrinishte on time after a marathon 5-hour journey.
On the return trip your reporter alighted at Bansko, the second station, and made his way to the adjacent
bus station. He thought that he had a 40 minute wait for a bus back to Sofia, but within a couple of
minutes one turned up. He therefore ended up back in Sofia with plenty of time before the Beograd train
departed, despite the coach seeming to drop people off in various random locations around the west and
north side of the city before reaching the main bus station.
The main feature of the fourth day was a long, long westward journey from Sofia (admittedly starting out
the night before) to Zagreb, with an extended break in Beograd. Our member should have had a couchette
compartment to himself, but the rather nervous sleeping car attendant decided that it would be safer to
share in case the train was attacked, so he ended up spending the night with a university lecturer from
Ruse who was on his way to Beograd for a conference and who spoke excellent English. He told our
member that the last time he had travelled on this service was during the NATO bombing of Beograd in
1999 and, as airfields in Bulgaria had been used for this, his welcome wasn’t particularly warm!
After an uneventful but leisurely journey the train approached Beograd via the secondary route through
Mala Krsna and arrived 90 minutes late, effectively scuppering plans to cover the short Dunav branch. Our
member therefore contented himself with taking the circular tram route 2, having bought a ticket from the
newspaper kiosk outside the station, and catching the suburban service from Pancevaki Most to Novi
Beograd. This service travels through Beograd Centar, where it was noticed that work was on-going to
create the new main station that will eventually replace the current terminus at Beograd Glavna. This is a
shame as Glavna is a splendid traditional station with beautifully restored buildings and wide open spaces,
where the huge awnings and outside tables mean that you can enjoy a cool beer on a very hot day whilst
waiting for your train, which is what our member did.
A view from the overnight service from Sofia approaching end of journey at Belgrade Glavna. This terminus station has a
somewhat run-down appearance and pointwork tends to be taken cautiously
The onward journey to Zagreb was only notable for a 50 minute delay caused by a lengthy piece of single
line working early on in the journey through Serbia, but this was mostly made up by some very slack
timings closer to the border (presumably deliberate), and the eventual arrival at journey's end was on
time. The scenery was unspectacular, with the plains of Serbia being followed by rolling hills in Croatia,
although at one point the much higher mountains of Bosnia could be seen in the distance.
 Poland – Obscure route changes from 1 September
To access the timetable PDFs go to http://rozklad.plk-sa.pl/Tablice and enter the timetable number under
Wyszukiwanie według tablicy. The following changes are included in EGTRE.
Tables 116/555 The Przeworsk avoiding curve is back in use with the 2 pairs of TLK’s from Lublin to
Przemysl diverted this way to terminate at Rzeszów. This also means the Stalowa Wola avoider lost all
services after 13/14 September.
153 IC have a pair of TLK’s from Racibórz to Rybnik booked to use the direct line from Sumina – Rybnik that
would otherwise have had no service with the IR withdrawals
Table 165 Gliwice via the freight corridor line to Lubliniec is, as expected, down to the pair of TLK’s with
the IR’s ending.
Table 166 The previous Gliwice – Bytom train pair has been replaced, with just one daily service eastbound
only which is NOT, as previously, via table 165
Wrocław area diversions continue for the whole period with the same lines in use as previously, and very
similar usage. The one TLK from Jelenia Góra to Warszawa which went back to calling at Wrocław Główny
for the Summer period resumes avoiding Główny and calling at Wrocław Nadodrze again. This is TLK 61100
and it departs Jaworzyna Śląska 16:10 and arrives Wrocław Nadodrze at 16:55.
Table 300a One TLK is booked via Poznań Franowo. This is TLK 81200, Szczecin Główny – Poznań Główny
depart 02:08 – Warszawa Wschodnia
Table 322 is a new table for Kępno – Herby Nowe and it is now impossible to travel the section from
Weilun to Kępno in daylight except southbound on SSuO depart Kępno 12:46.
Table 366 Footnotes still reveal odd dated diversions via the Szczecin avoiding curve to Szczecin Dąbie.
Table B110 best shows the 601/602/603 combinations of routes taken from Łódź to Warszawa, with use
again of Łowicz Przedmiescie – Bednary (line 15 assumed), plus the combination of the Skierniewice
avoider and curve from 603 to Bednary.
Table 200/601 There is booked use of the Łódź Kaliska avoider through the timetable period. This is also
shown in table B110.
Weird new table 602a covering Zgierz – Łódź Kaliska which also includes Łódź Chojny to Łódź Widzew so
trains departing Łódź Kaliska in opposite directions are next to each other on the same page…..
Table 601 The * indicating use of Żakowice Południowe has disappeared but this unusual route remains,
with calls now mentioned in a footnote. Now one pair, so newly traversed westbound and both are
through services from Skierniewice. PR 11737 Koluszki d 06:51 or PR 11707 Łódź Kaliska d. 08:17 via Łódź
Widzew. Last call before the rare bit of track is at Gałkówek d. 08:53.
Regarding Łódź – Warszawa. Note there are two trains calling at Skierniewice and Łowicz Przedmiescie
thus taking the very rare line 531 curve until 17 October. They are:
TLK19153 14.13 SuX Warszawa Wschodnia - Łódź Kaliska (according to B110 and Journey Planner. The
timetable 601 pdf is confused!)
TLK91112 19.40 Łódź Kaliska - Warszawa Wschodnia
 Poland - Tram bridge across Kraków Płaszów station opened
A 1 km section of new tram line connecting Kraków’s Wielicka and Lipska streets via a 600 m bridge across
Kraków Płaszów station opened on 30 August. Although the new link is relatively short, construction was a
complex two-year project. The bridge incorporates a tram stop with stairs and lifts to the railway
platforms. As well as tram tracks, it has cycle paths and pedestrian walkways, and can also be used by
emergency service vehicles seeking to avoid heavy road traffic. Completion of the bridge has enabled a
5 minute reduction in journey times on tram routes 9, 11 and 50 between the city centre and the
Kurdwanów and Bieżanów districts.
 Poland – Kraków airport branch reopens
The branch to Kraków Balice airport (also known as John Paul II International Airport) reopened on 1
September 2015 after a 1½ year closure to upgrade the branch and slightly lengthen it to reach nearer the
terminal building. The increased distance is not reflected in the distances given by the new timetable pdfs
as the station remains at km11.918, so these obviously need updating. The journey from Kraków Główny
to Kraków Balice takes 18 minutes and there are three new stations at Kraków Młynówka, Kraków Zakliki
and Kraków Olszanica.
 Serbia – Tourist trains ran Vršac to Bela Crkva
Rather late in the season, but confirmation that tourist trains have run this year from Vršac to Bela Crkva
as suggested in BLNI1217.330 which gives more information on the line. In happier days Vršac - Bela Crkva
was Serbia timetable 43 and is shown as 44 tariff km. Services ceased from or before the start of the
December 2005 timetable. The tourist train continues a short distance past Bela Crkva station to some
attractive lakes. It ran Saturdays and Sundays in the peak summer months, departing Vršac at 09:30 and
arriving back at Vršac at 18:28. Connections were guaranteed off the train from Beograd Dunav d. 07:19,
and returning from Vršac at 18:45. It is to be hoped it runs again in 2016 and more notice is received!
 Serbia/Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia** - Travelling to join the Mercia Railtour
** The informal title of the country, ‘Macedonia’, is not recognized internationally because of objections
by Greece. Two members caught train 337 from Beograd (Serbia) to Skopje (Macedonia) on 1 September.
It consisted of Serbian Railways electric loco 444-018 and two carriages (which were not particularly full at
any stage of the journey). The loco change was at Tabanovci, after which the train was hauled by
Macedonian Railways electric loco 482-001. The train left on time, but was diverted via Marla Krsna
because of the closure of the main line via Mladenovac for reasons unknown. The time lost on this
diversion was but the start of a series of delays which meant that the train took no less than 12 hours to
complete the Serbian stretch of the journey – an average of 33.4 kph; it was 220 minutes late at Skopje
after a spirited run through Macedonia. Skopje Station is an uninspiring place. It could form a decent
interchange with the adjacent long-distance bus station, but it seems (like the rest of Skopje) to be in a
state of semi-permanent rebuilding. The only facilities are an enquiry office which has no printed
information to offer and the booking office (the booking clerks were all helpful, but again no printed
information was available). No timetable is displayed, except within the booking office – and that includes
trains which do not run. The other alleged facility is the electronic departure screen, which creates an
illusion of modern efficiency, but is actually much worse than useless. All trains in the timetable are
entered into the system and the unwary may be tempted to think they will be running. In fact, for
instance, the 08:05 to Kičevo and 12:18 return are displayed but do not (as correctly predicted by the ERT)
in fact run. The system has a space to show the extent of expected lateness, but this is not used at all. All
that happens is that, a little after the appointed time, the train disappears from the screen so one is left
assuming it has gone. Northamptonshire County Council employs an equally useful system at some bus
stops. The following day our members set off for Thessaloniki on train 335 (the overnight from Beograd).
An early start was called for as scheduled departure was at 04:45, but the train did not appear until 07:00.
It consisted of a couchette car plus two day cars and was hauled by Macedonian Railways electric loco 441-
755. The flow of migrants from Greece through Macedonia to Serbia was very much in the news at the
time, and a train of migrants passed through Skopje during the wait for Train 335. There were also some
on a platform along the way, but no delays because of ‘the crisis’. Unfortunately the train was terminated
at the border station (Gevgelija) and the journey on to Thessaloniki had to be undertaken by bus – a major
disappointment. The reason for the curtailment was unclear. Our members had already decided to
complete the entire return journey by bus in order to avoid the possible incursion of migrants, but there
was no mention at all of the train at Thessaloniki that day. The line to Bitola was sampled on 3 September;
this leaves the main line at Veles. Until this point, travel was in decrepit DMU 712-101(which was very
crowded), but it was necessary to change there to a single car hauled by diesel loco 661-235. It was this
train which performed the (through) return journey. In addition to the main line from Beograd to
Thessaloniki via Skopje, there could be three branches in total to ride, but those to Kočani and Kičevo can
only be done from the outer ends (or perhaps by using buses in one direction). Fares are very cheap (cash
only – no credit cards, but there is an ATM at the bus station in Skopje in case of need). Food and drink is
equally cheap, but there are no facilities for these on any trains. There were no problems with
photography. Our members were due to return to Skopje the following week to travel to Priština in Kosovo
for the Mercia Charters trip in that country, having ascertained that the train left 15 minutes earlier than
predicted by the screen at Skopje Station. The station itself replaced the original one (which was much
closer to the city centre). That was largely destroyed in the 1963 earthquake and is now a rather
uninspiring city museum, although the displays about the earthquake are worth seeing and the station
name still appears on its side.
 Spain - FEVE freight branches closed
A very recent visitor to Cistierna found that the coal trains had stopped running and the branches to La
Robla and Velilla (from Guardó) were reported closed. The locos were said to have been moved eastwards.
The former station building at La Robla is now a ruin, and if the closure of the coal mine proves permanent, then the
metre gauge branch may follow it into closure and decline.
 Sweden - Diversions due to Hallandsås tunnel commissioning
On the main line from Malmö to Göteborg the Hallandsås tunnel is finally being commissioned and
connected to the rail network. From 5 November to 12 December fast trains from Malmö are diverted via
Hässleholm through Markaryd to Eldsberga where the main line is rejoined. Hässleholm to Eldsberga has
been freight-only in recent years, though there are plans for a regular service now the Hallandsås tunnel is
completed. Once the tunnel is opened (presumably 13 December at the timetable change unless there is a
further delay) the present winding route around the Hallandsås ridge via Båstad will be closed and lifted,
so if you need this line you have until 4 November.
 Switzerland - Two lines under serious threat
Swiss Express’ reports that “the Federal Transport Office has now ruled that lines that do not take 30% of
their direct costs in fares should normally be closed unless compelling reasons are given It mentions
Solothurn – Moutier and Porrentruy – Bonfol as particularly under threat.
 Switzerland – Basle trams going to Saint Louis in France
Switzerland’s Federal Office of Transport has granted Basle Transport Authority planning permission for
the Swiss section of the cross-border extension of tram Line 3 to Saint Louis in France. The project will
extend the line by 3.4km from its current terminus on Waldinghoferstrasse in Burgfelden to the Burgfelden
border crossing serving a park-and-ride station near the A35 motorway before terminating outside the
main-line station in Saint Louis. Services will operate at 7-8 minute intervals as far as the border, with
trams running to Saint Louis every 15 minutes. The extension is due to open at the end of 2017.
REST OF THE WORLD
 Colombia - Trams take to Ayacucho light rail network
Testing of the Ayacucho tramway in Medellin, Colombia, has begun with test trams running along the
4.3km line which connects the city’s metro and metrocable lines. Operated by Metro de Medellin, the line
is scheduled for a partial opening in October 2015. NTL is supplying 12 Translohr STE5 trams for Medellin
which have been designed to operate on the system’s 12 per cent gradients.
 Japan - JR Hokkaido to reduce service on Sassho Line
According to local news reports, JR Hokkaido is considering reducing service on the north end of the
Sassho Line to one run per day in each direction from the current level of three per day. The only service
will be in the morning in both directions, so useless for daily commutes. This is unequivocal indication that
JR Hokkaido is working toward line closure. The Sassho Line is electrified and double-track near Sapporo.
Extremely few passengers use the un-electrified section. Traffic density is 17,000 passengers/km/day in the
electrified section and 81 passengers/km/day in the un-electrified section. JR Hokkaido may want to close
down the entire un-electrified section, but it is likely that only the north end will be axed. The northern
terminus Shin-Totsugawa is not far from Takikawa Station on the Hakodate Line, served by two limited
express trains during most hours. There are no lines with only one round-trip run a day in Japan today. The
JNR Shimizu-ko (Shimuzu Port) Line in Shizuoka had only one round trip per day in the 1980s, before it was
abolished. The Sassho Line was built to carry coal from the Numata Mine. Originally it linked Soen (near
Sapporo) to Ishikari-Numata on the Rumoi Line. Shin-Totsugawa - Ishikari-Numata was closed down during
WW2, reopened in 1956 and abolished in 1972.
 USA - Portland opens Orange Line
Portland light rail operator TriMet inaugurated the MAX Orange Line between Portland and Milwaukie on
12 September. The 11.7 km route is operated as a southern extension of the existing Yellow line. Starting
at SE Park Avenue in north Milwaukie, the route runs north to OMSI before crossing the Willamette River
on the newly opened Tilikum Crossing. The 524 m cable-stayed bridge is the longest car-free transit bridge
in the USA and also carries buses, bicycles and pedestrians. Services then continue to SW College before
continuing as Yellow Line services. The Orange Line adds 10 stops to the network.
 USA - Approval for central section of Southeast Corridor
Plans to extend high-speed rail services from Washington into the Southeastern states have been backed
by the US Department of Transportation. The final Environmental Impact Statement for a 260-kilometre
section of the Southeast Corridor between Richmond and Raleigh has now been signed. Subject to funding,
construction of the railway – the majority of which will use existing or former lines – can now begin.
 USA - No more excursions to Rockland?
The company that has operated Maine Eastern Railroad’s freight and excursion rail since 2004 announced
on Friday 4 September that it was leaving Maine later this year. The Morristown & Erie Railway has been
operating in Maine as the Maine Eastern Railroad, providing year-round freight service and seasonal
excursion train service along the Rockland Branch. The railroad’s main office in Morristown, New Jersey,
was notified on Wednesday that the operating lease on the state-owned Rockland Branch, which runs for
58 miles between Brunswick and Rockland, will not be renewed with Maine Eastern. Instead, the local
Central Maine & Quebec Railway will assume the freight operations on the Rockland Branch on 1 January
2016. Morristown & Erie also said it does not plan to continue excursion passenger service along the
Rockland Branch after this year. The remainder of the Maine Eastern’s current excursion season will
continue as scheduled, with Saturday and Sunday round-trips running until Sunday, 31 October. Tickets
may still be purchased for these excursions at www.MaineEasternRailroad.com or by calling 596-6725.
RAILTOURS AND DIVERSIONS OVER NON-PASSENGER LINES
This is provided as a service to members and details must be checked with the organisers.
Germany – Goods line diversion between Mülheim and Oberhausen on KBS 450.3
Until 13 November (but with a break in the first week of October) S3 trains between Mülheim and
Oberhausen (but not the opposite direction) are diverted onto goods lines avoiding Mülheim Styrum.