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Published by membersonly, 2018-04-07 03:07:59

1284i

8th July 2017

INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1284 08 JULY 2017

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

___________________________________________________

BLNI Extra 25 item C56 reported on a railtour in Poland that visited the Military branch at Cewice. Mention was also made of
there being no less than three 0.0 km posts in this rather remote clearing in a forest. Two are seen here, with the third
somewhere behind the locomotive which is running round the tour train.

EUROPE

[251] Denmark – Bjergbanen running again
This heritage railway running between Lemvig and Lemvig Havn has not operated in recent years due
to failure to meet safety requirements. These have been resolved and trains will operate 10 July to 5
August and 16-21 October. M-F five train pairs, and Sat 4 train pairs. Timetable at
http://bjergbanen.dk/?id=3

[252] France – The Valenciennes to Le Boulon tram
A visit to the northern branch of the Valenciennes tram system proved rewarding. The line leaves town
along the straight Rue Jean Jaurès, generally down the middle of the street with houses on either side
and mainly on a single track with occasional double-track sections. The official service interval during
the daytime off-peak is every 12 minutes as far as Brunehaut, where every other tram turns back.
Approaching Fresnes-sur-Escaut the line takes an abrupt turn right to follow an old railway route
parallel to the main road. The tram stop “Rue de l’Escaut” shown on this section in the Robert
Schwandl atlas is “Station en projet” according to the passenger information displays; a platform has
been built but trams do not stop. The tram passes through the main square of Fresnes, with a couple
of impressive buildings, then rejoins the main road towards Condé sur L’Escaut, crossing the canalised
Escaut on its own tram bridge parallel to the road. The route through Condé is very interesting; it
curves around the town centre, twice crossing a narrow canal with an old lock (disused) before turning
sharply uphill through some old fortifications. After another short roadside section, the route takes a
sharp left turn to go cross-country, serving the local Lycée (secondary school), then going around the
edge of playing fields and finally heading slightly south towards the terminus in Vieux-Condé. Here
there are two tracks but on our visit the tram that had been standing on the other track left before the
doors of ours opened, so we had at least 24 minutes in Vieux-Condé whether we liked it or not.
The tram stop at Vieux-Condé (Le Boulon) is immediately next to the railway that used to continue to
Péruwelz in Belgium, now converted to a cycle track (Voie Verte des Gueules Noires = Black faces
green route – the ‘black faces’ were the local coal miners). There is a surviving signal box next to a
former level crossing but this is a post-industrial scene of little interest to the average tourist.

Tram stop and signal box at Le Boulon

The tram system seemed very efficient, despite the long single-track sections and a day ticket is a
bargain EUR3.80, including buses and local TER trains. Level-crossing style barriers come down to
protect the trams at some road crossings. The communities served by the northern branch are
relatively small and it is very hard to imagine such a project getting off the ground in the UK.

Tram leaving Fresnes towards Valenciennes

[253] France – SNCF introducing ticket gates at some stations
SNCF has set up gates at the Gare Montparnasse to check the validity of tickets. To access the
platforms, travellers must present their paper or digital ticket in front of an optical drive. The gate will
open only if the ticket is valid. On both sides of these boarding gates, SNCF agents will be in charge of
informing travelers, especially groups, children, the elderly or disabled. Discount cards and IDs will only
be checked on the train. These anti-fraud barriers will not be able to detect dangerous materials.
After Paris-Montparnasse station, these barriers will be deployed at Marseille in May, in Nantes,
Rennes and in Hall 2 of the Paris-Gare de Lyon in June and at Paris-Nord station in July. This autumn, it
will be the turn of the stations of Aix-TGV, Lyon-Perrache, Paris-Est, then Bordeaux, Le Mans, Saint-
Pierre-des-Corps and Tours at the end of 2017. Lyon Part-Dieu will have to wait until the 2022
renovation of the station.

[254] Germany – Kleve station visited
During a somewhat disappointing visit to Kleve in Germany a member took a look at the railway
station area and the line forward to the Dutch frontier and Nijmegen.
The buffer stops are at the end of the run round loop for Kleve Station which he does not think has run
anything round for a while now. The visit coincided with rain in Kleve. It was a public holiday in
Germany on 1 May 2017 and just like any Bank Holiday in the UK, it was cold and wet. He had noticed
a red railway van parked up at the other end of the car park which has been built over the formation,
so he walked over for a better look. The old railway bridge over the Spaykanal still has the rail laid over
it and he was then surprised to find some rail bikes in a shelter. The railway is still in operation with the
tracks continuing across the frontier to Groesbeek.

It would appear that a company was formed to offer rail bike tours from Kleve to Kranenburg with
some running onto Groesbeek. The area where the line runs is very pretty and the rail bikes look like a
good way to see it. He wondered what happens when two bikes met on the single line, but a look at
the web site shows that there are set times for departure from Kleve and returning departure times.

The bikes come in a variety of sizes with group ones down to doubles. There is more information on
the web site (in German/Nederlands) http://grenzland-draisine.eu/index.php/de/.

A group bike in the storage shed. This is looking towards Kleve Station and the track stops at the end of this shed.
You can pick out the station footbridge in the distance and it is around 175 metres from this shed to the DB Netz buffer stops.

From the Buffer Stops at the end of the German DB Netz line looking back towards the station at Kleve.

This is the view looking the other way past the end of the track towards Nijmegen.

Technically the line could re-open as the right of way has been preserved. There have been a number
of studies conducted which range from re-opening the route as a railway to a tram-train and a
separate tram system perhaps running through Kleve and then running to the airport at Weeze. It was

noticeable that a large number of people got off at Weeze on the inbound train complete with
luggage. Weeze Airport is used by Ryanair and the airline pretends it is somewhere near Düsseldorf.
There is an hourly bus service from Nijmegen to Kleve and it is operated by Breng which is the
Arnhem/Nijmegen Area Public Transport Organisation with the buses being operated by Connexxion.
The route number is 58 and it runs from Nijmegen Station- Kranenburg - Kleve Station - Emmerich
Station hourly on weekdays. https://www.breng.nl/ go to Zoek dienstregeling and type in the time and
date you wish to travel.

Looking from the "station" towards Kranenburg and Nijmegen.

[255] Hungary/Slovakia/Ukraine - The PTG Great Hungarian Track Bash – some notes of interest
This five day locomotive hauled tour was a combination of traction interest, with numerous
locomotive changes, and track interest, with some very choice branch lines traversed.
Day one was a big loop from Budapest entering Slovakia at Komarno, and returning via Štúrovo. On the
outward journey the route from Budapest Keleti was via the little used connection over the mainline
into Budapest Nyugati to the first station on the Esztergom line at Angyalföld. The normal passenger
lines by the station building are lifted whilst reconstruction of the approaches is carried out, so the
former goods lines, rather distant from the station building, are currently used by all trains. A
backshunt gives access to the short branch to Sanofi, which was taken as far as the road crossing. The
manoeuvring here was complex as it involved dropping off a carriage, re-attaching it, and also
changing locomotives, so a lot of time was lost.
The Esztergom line is being reconstructed and electrified. Platforms have been rebuilt and masts
erected, but there is still some way to go. The Esztergom avoiding line has been retained, and the tour
duly took this. The organisers were fortunate in that they had booked a path from Esztergom to
Almásfüzitő before an engineering blockade for extensive work on the line was announced. The
blockade had to be lifted specially for the PTG train to pass.
After crossing the (currently) freight only line across the Duna (Danube) bridge between Komárom and
Komárno, the former passenger branch to Kolárovo was observed to be completely overgrown and out
of use. The tour then reversed and travelled the line to Komárno Docks, passing under a series of
cranes to reach the end of the line. There is something immensely satisfying about passing under a
crane to get to the end of a branch.

Above left:- going under a crane on the Komárno docks branch
Above right:- End of the line in Komárno docks by the Danube)

The tour proceeded to Štúrovo via Nové Zámky and shunted into the yard to gain access to the branch
to the Smurfit Kappa Štúrovo paper mill, closed since 2009. This is nominally out of use, but clearly
something had been down it recently. The organiser had no idea how far the tour would get, but in the
event it took a wide loop over the mainline then continued through the goods yard (quite a few
wagons here, but difficult to determine whether they were in use) and continued by the side of the

Duna (Danube) all the way to a dock with a big yellow traverse crane, reaching the buffer stops for a
memorable photo stop.

A few hours later and the end of another branch by the Danube. The closed paper mill is behind a security fence off to the right.

Day two was a track bash around Budapest which the BLS would have been proud of, though there
were problems on some of the freight branches as it
was an ambitious program. The airport branch was
refused due to condition of track, and travelling by bus
to the airport later revealed several sections of track
missing.
The Freeport on the island of Csepel was the first
destination. It had been planned to visit the new
Metrans terminal on the island, but this had not yet
received final authorisations. Bureaucracy triumphs
again. From the yard at Soroksár the Freeport line
quickly heads east then splits into numerous branches
serving the docks. The northernmost one is the longest
and this was the one travelled. A number of
photographers were following the train, and one was
observed high in a tree taking a picture.

A Mercia tour had been down this branch previously, but at the end, where the line turns south, had
taken a now disused line by the Danube. The PTG tour took a line slightly further inland to within a

short distance of the buffer stops. The photographer last seen in the tree had arrived here on his
bicycle, so our member struck up a conversation and asked for a copy of the picture! It hasn’t arrived
yet. With time in hand a further branch was visited owned by Budapest Szabadkikoto Logisztikai zrt,
and this was a quite fascinating as the stock was reversed towards a tall building through which two
short tunnels ended in buffer stops. A photograph, (e-BLNI only) shows the train approaching the
buffer stops with the tour organiser on the road behind encouraging the shunter to get the train to the
buffers!

Above left:- Approaching the tall building where the track ends
Above right:- Getting close to the buffer stops which were contacted (gently) with the organiser watching from behind. Possibly
slightly nervously.

An ad-hoc meeting of Branch Line Society members was held in the vestibule at the back of the train
while this was happening. An hour later, and 4 km further south the tour entered the Soroksár
freightliner terminal and ran through onto the southern departure road (before the mainline junction)
before reversing up the branch to the BILK terminal. This was between huge white and blue boxlike
warehouses and the tour got to a unloading platform near the end of the line.

Ex ÖBB 2068-010 now has a new lease of life as 429-001 and is seen at the end of one of the BILK terminals with the PTG charter

There were two notable firsts for the train at this point – the first passenger working of an (ex)ÖBB
class 2068 in Hungary and the first ever passenger use of the branch. The tour went on to visit three

freight branches around Rákos at EGIS Pharmaceuticaks, Ereco scrapyard and MABI (formerly Ikarus
bus). The latter site had been visited by ADL in October 2003, but from the look of the photographs of
this visit seen on the train, they did not get through the gate to the end of the branch, which the PTG
tour did. Buses are still made here, but any rail traffic must be very sparse, if indeed there is any.

MÁV nosztalgia diesel M43-1001 is seen at the end of the MABI branch north of Rakos on the eastern side of Budapest having
got through the gate and to the end of the line at a concrete loading wharf. The wooden shed carries a sign on the far side
saying Pályaudvar, which means station and is probably meant to be humorous.

Day three started with a fast journey from Budapest towards Miskolc. At Kál-Kápolna the former
passenger line to Kisterenye which closed to passenger services March 2007 was observed. This is still
open as far as the quarries at Recsk. Nearer to Miskolc is the junction station of Nyékládháza and
4.4km south of here at the small station of Hejőkeresztúr two branches go south.
The 16.4 km branch to Mezőcsát lost its passenger service in 2007, and is shown on the Ball atlas as
out of use. The tour travelled the branch at 10km/h and found that there is occasional traffic to a
scrapyard at the end of the line. The other branch goes to Tiszapalkonya now, but until 15 December
2013 went a further 3 km to Tiszapalkonya-Erőmű. There is considerable industrial activity beyond
here, and no less than three branches including a power station and Tiszai Vegyi Kombinát, who make
plastics from petrochemicals. One refused access to the tour, while another asked a ridiculous price.
However the TIFO (MOL Tiszai Olaj Finomító) Oil Refinery agreed to accept the tour on their branch
subject to a list of participants passport details and agreement that no photographs would be taken or
any smoking permitted. The tour locomotive had to be replaced by one of their locomotives fitted
with a spark arrestor. More photographers were in evidence as the tour left the station at
Tiszapalkonya-Erőmű, including some who had climbed partway up an electricity pylon and another
man up a tree. The tour got about 200 metres from the end of the companies yard – a distance of
about 2.2km from the station. Further progress was not possible as a gas delivery was taking place.

Between arrival and departure all three of the company’s class 449 diesel shunters found their way
onto the train.
Záhony, on the border with Ukraine, is a fascinating area for railways. There is a large Russian gauge
(RG) system with two points of entry – one from Chop, and one from a triangle further east midway
between Chop and Bat’ovo. Permission had been sought to travel over the border bridge into Ukraine,
but this was granted too late for the immigration services to be present. There is also a standard gauge
line from Záhony to Chop which has a passenger service, of which more later.
The PTG tour travelled from Nyíregyháza to Záhony on standard gauge passenger tracks, then
passengers transferred to a different special train on the Russian Gauge tracks at Záhony, using two
coaches hired from Ukrainian Railways and a MAV class M62/5 Russian gauge loco. A comprehensive
tour of the RG system ensued. The Záhony Port company operate trans-shipment facilities in the area
between the two gauges and these vary enormously in complexity. On the RG branch south from
Eperjeske Yard a broad transhipment area lies between RG and SG lines, and is simply a long flat area
where coal or stone can be heaped ready for movement by grabs.

Plenty of space between the SG Mátészalka to Záhony line (left ) and RG branch (on the right) south of Eperjeske Yard, for
storage of material for trans-shipment

By comparison in the centre of the site iron ore pellets from Ukraine are transferred from high level RG
lines to a low-level loading area for SG trains.

Iron ore pellets are unloaded from the RG high level line for loading onto the SG wagons on the low level line

On the day it was agreed that the PTG RG special would travel the RG lines to Chop with a Ukrainian
locomotive which turned out to be ChME3-4177. RG and SG lines interlace north of Záhony station to
go over the narrow single track border bridge, then take very separate routes into Chop station. The
RG line is normally out of use and according to Today’s Railways Europe this was believed to be the
first passenger train over it. The PTG SG train had been divested of its restaurant and saloon car and
the two passenger coaches were coupled to the single coach and M41 diesel which forms the Záhony
to Chop passenger service. This formed the 18:02 service from Záhony to Chop and the 18:57 return
service (Hungarian time). The group had plenty of time to explore the scenic delights of Chop, which
didn’t take long. Of interest was that there are effectively two station buildings sharing a common set

of platforms at Chop. International services from Hungary and Slovakia arrive at a rather drab Soviet
era station at the east end of the platforms and passengers are shepherded into an immigration and
customs hall. A much more impressive building, which looks rather like a grandiose town hall, is
adjacent and used by passengers for internal journeys.

The line from Nyíregyháza to Nyírbátor is a DMU only line, and only locomotives with a low axle
loading can travel on it. Only one such locomotive was available for the tour at Nyíregyháza depot and
this required repair on the day before it could work the tour. The two hour delay was partially filled by
shunting the train to the depot where unlimited access was allowed. The single track line has a low line
speed and was rather bumpy. At the halfway mark the 23km former line south to Nyíradony diverges a
few kilometres east of Nagykálló. This was clearly usable, but according to the driver was classified as
‘temporarily out of use’. Passenger traffic ended in March 2007 and there was no freight.
A most successful tour overall. Though late running was a problem throughout, good company and
copious quantities of beer from the restaurant car made up for the late arrivals.

[256] Italy - Narrow Gauge restoration at Castelveltrano
There have been many proposals to reopen the 950 mm Castelveltrano - Porto Empedocle narrow
gauge line on Sicily, but finally a modest start has been made 30 years after closure. Track is being laid
from the old NG loco depot to permit railway vehicles to reach the main railway station, which was the
interchange between the standard and narrow gauge lines. Old rolling stock in the track maintenance
depot is to be restored, which allows working exhibits to be seen at Castelvetrano station.

[257] Italy - Trieste Campo Marzio refurbishment project
Trieste's Campo Marzio Railway Museum is to be renovated. The plan prepared by the Fondazione FS
foresees, in a first phase, the restoration of the open area to the public along Via Giulio Cesare - where
the collection of railway items will be exhibited - including some unique pieces coming both from Italy
and the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. It will be managed after the restoration by the Fondazione
FS. The museum is located in the former terminal station of the old Austro-Hungarian Trieste-Wien line
and is still connected to the railway network by freight lines, so it will be possible to start from the site
for journeys by vintage trains either within the region or to Austria and Slovenia via the ancient
Monrupino valley route that will be maintained in operation for these purposes.

[258] Poland – Summer trains from Białystok to Waliły again
A two train pair service operates weekends (and a few other dates) from 17 June to 2 September.
Trains leave Białystok at 09:27 and 16:02. Timetable at : https://polregio.pl/media/4632/b-
wali%C5%82y-b-17-vi-2-ix-polregio.pdf

[259] Poland – Special trains in Małopolska
Małopolska (Lesser Poland) is a province of south east Poland. They are sponsoring a variety of special
trains with diesel and steam haulage thoughout the year. Of especial interest is that there are return
trips between Nowy Sącz and Chabówka every Sunday in July and August. Full details, in English at:
http://en.kolejegalicyjskie.pl/heritage-rail-trips-in-malopolska-region-poland-2017/

[260] Poland - Rare diversion bonanza coming up
Line 100 - From 10 July until 10 August there are works on the CMK (Warszawa – Katowice high speed
line) between Opoczno Poludnie and podg. Knapówka (south of Włoszczowa Pólnoc). Warszawa–
Katowice/Kraków are largely diverted via Koluszki - Częstochowa – Koniecpol, nd the few CMK using
Warszawa - Kielce - Kraków run old line via Warka and Skarżysko-Kamienna.
But two IC train pairs "Korczak" and "Wit Stwosz" (Warszawa Wschodnia - Kraków Gł.), from their stop
in Opoczno Poludnie are diverted from Idzikowice via the curve to Radzice - Wolanów – Radom
avoiding line, Skarżysko-Kamienna (calling) - Kielce avoider - Włoszczowa (calling) – curve back onto
CMK.
Lines 147/148: The freight curve from Chybie to Chybie Mnich is in use by one train on 10 - 31 July, 11,
16 - 18 August and 21 August – 1 Sept. Train KS49317 leaves Katowice at 14:01 and Chybie 15:14 en-
route to Wisla Glebce
Line 151/151a /155: Between Katowice and Katowice-Ligota from 10 July, individual regional trains on
numerous different days (examples being 15-30 July SSuO & 1-10 August SSuX or just 5/6 August)
trains from Katowice run via via podg. Gottwald - podg. Hajduki - podg. Radoszowy - podg. Panewnik –
Katowice-Ligota. They can be identified by the missing stop in Katowice-Brynów and the extended
journey time of more than 30 minutes instead of around 7 minutes.
Line 175: Lubliniec - Pludry (towards Fosowskie) is closed from 10 to 23 July 2017. IC train pairs
"Kossak", "Matejko", "Malczewski", "Mehoffer", "Siemiradzki" and "Wyspiańsi" are diverted via the
Lubliniec avoider onto line165 via podg. Jawonica - podg. Droniowiczki and go to Paczyna to reverse
and run via Strzelce to Opole. Instead of the stop in Lubliniec they call at Kochanowice
Line 270: Leszno Górne – Żagań is closed from 19 August until 2 September. The "Pociąg do Kultury"
Wrocław – Berlin on SSuO is redirected via Horka - Węgliniec again in this period
Line 300/300a: Confirmation that with Konin - Września now closed until at least the timetable change
in December many long-distance services are diverted between Kłodawa and Poznań Gł via
Inowrocław Rąbinek and the curve onto line 430 with calls at Gniezno.
As another knock-on consequence, other services from Poznań towards Łódź are confirmed as
diverted via the Ostrów Wlkp avoider. Four train pairs are affected.
Line 541: The Siedlce avoider is scheduled between 11 July and 20 July, by train pair 19251/91250
reversing to/from Czeremcha.
Line 606: Bizarre limited diversions indicated by < markers over line 20 connecting Warszawa
Zachodnia with Warszawa Główna Towarowa, i.e diverted through the carriage sidings as opposed to
the main line to/from Warszawa Gołąbki. These are IC 17006 which departs Warszawa Zachodnia
15:43 SX, TLK 81112 departing Sochaczew at 10:03 from 1 August and TLK 53190 departing Sochaczew
05:18 from 4 August

[261] Russia - Ukraine railway by-pass line opening in August 2017
The 140 km section of new route between Voronezh and Rostov-on-Don will allow Russian trains
bound for southern Russia not to cross the Ukrainian border. It will be much longer than the Ukrainian
section of 26 km in particular because of the special features of relief. The €713M project was
announced in early 2015 and had apparently long been part of the Russian railway development
program. Implementation commenced following the deepening of the crisis in Ukraine in 2014.

[262] Switzerland – Kander viaduct renovation
South of Frutigen on the high-level line the northbound original Kander viaduct is having major
restoration work and is covered in scaffolding and plastic sheeting. The track and ballast has been
removed and all trains have to go over the newer viaduct.

[263] Ukraine/Hungary – Mukacheve to Debrecen Train Planned for Launch In September
A rail service may be launched on the Mukacheve-Debrecen (Hungary) route in September 2017 and
subsequently extended to Budapest. Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelian has said
that Hungary is ready to provide a high-speed train for operation on the Mukacheve-Budapest route,
but Ukraine should repair the section of the railway tracks located on its territory. There is combined
rail track (1520 mm + 1435 mm (European)) to Mukacheve (east of Chop), but it does not reach
Mukacheve station, ending at a trans-shipment complex on the outskirts of the city. To launch a train
to Hungary, Ukraine needs to complete approximately 500 metres of combined track. In addition,
electrification of the Zahony-Chop cross border line would be desirable to optimize train traffic.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ukrainian Railways public joint-stock company (Ukrzaliznytsia)
are working on the launch of another international train between Uzhhorod and Kosice (Slovakia). In
addition, Ukraine and Bulgaria are discussing the launch of a Kyiv-Sofia train. Ukrzaliznytsia also plans
to launch a Lviv-Krakow train on 1 August.

REST OF THE WORLD

[264] India – Metre gauge wind down continues
In Uttar Pradesh Pilibhit to Mailani is scheduled to close on 01 November 2017.
In Gujarat Sabarmati to Botad is scheduled to close on 01 November 2017 and Dhasa to Jetalsar is
scheduled to close on 01 January 2018.
Finally, in Madhya Pradesh the Mhow to Sanawad closure date is still to be decided.

[265] Kenya – Standard Gauge Railway opens ahead of schedule
The new standard gauge line between Nairobi and Mombasa opened 18 months ahead of schedule
with the first trains running on 31 May. The 470km long line will be branded the Madaraka (named
after the day Kenya attained internal self-rule) Express. The Mombasa-Nairobi line is the first phase of
a 840km line linking the port city of Mombasa to the western border town of Malaba. Kenya recently
secured an additional $3.6bn from China to extend the railway line 250km west from the central town
of Naivasha to Kisumu. The railway is supposed to eventually connect land-locked South Sudan,
eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia to the Indian Ocean. The
Chinese built the line in 3.5 years and will be in charge of the new railway line for some time, while
Kenyans are being trained to take over. It cuts the journey-time from Mombasa to Nairobi to 4.5
hours, compared to 9 hours by bus or 12 hours on the previous railway. An economy class ticket will
cost 900 Kenyan shillings (£7) which is slightly cheaper than a bus ticket. At $5.6m per kilometre for
the track alone, Kenya's line cost close to three times the international standard and four times the
original estimate. Most of the railway's revenue is expected to come from transporting cargo. Only 5%
of cargo is currently being transported on the old railway line while 95% goes by road, but Kenya
Railways is aiming to push its share to 40% by 2025 with the new track. It is possible that a law will be

passed requiring certain goods to be transported by rail to ensure a massive transfer of freight away
from the roads.

[266] USA – Trams in the Motor City
In 1976 a one-mile (1.6 km) narrow-gauge heritage streetcar (tram) service was started along an "L-
shaped" route from Grand Circus Park to the Renaissance Center along Washington Boulevard and
Jefferson Avenue, using trams from Lisbon, Portugal. The tramway was originally just 3/4 miles long,
but was extended 1/4 mile to the Renaissance Center in 1980. It was known as the Detroit Citizens
Railway but was a pretty pitiful effort by the time your correspondent succeeded in riding it in June
2001. There was no timetable, no-one seemed to know when it ran (it seemed to be entirely at the
whim of the available staff and their meal breaks) - indeed, it was only waiting patiently at the
Renaissance Center end for the single car that was operating to appear that enabled us to ride it. You
wouldn't want to wait elsewhere in downtown Detroit - away from Renaissance Center it was a ghost
town (or worse - at Amtrak's Woodward Avenue station passengers were seriously advised that it was
not done to set foot on the street even in daylight....). It should not be confused with the elevated
people mover.

From a news report in October 2014:
"A half-dozen narrow gauge trolley cars are among the hundreds of items that the city of Detroit will
auction next month (report dated Oct 2014). The cars, which were operated by the Detroit Citizens
Railway, will be put on the block on Nov. 5 (2014). The cars were built for a mile-long trolley route that
was built in the 1970s, but failed to attract much ridership. It was built as part of a downtown
redevelopment project that itself failed to gain traction. Reportedly, just one car was still operating
when the trolley line closed in June 2003. There were originally nine single-truck trolleys (tramcars) on
the line, including seven closed cars, an open bench car, and a double-decker open top car from the
Burton & Ashby system in England. Three of the Detroit cars are reportedly up for sale in the Pacific
Northwest. The Detroit cars were built in Portugal. The tracks of the trolley line are said to be covered
with asphalt or buried in dirt."
On 12 May 2017 trams carried passengers along Woodward Avenue in Detroit for the first time in 61
years with the inauguration of the 5.3km Q Line from Larned Street to West Grand Boulevard. In 2007
the project’s backers formed M-1 Rail, a non-profit organisation, to lead the design, construction and
operation of the 20-station line. Stacy & Witbeck was subsequently awarded the contract to build the
line and major construction began in July 2014. The 20.3m-long three-section bidirectional vehicles will
operate without catenary on 60% of the line, drawing power from an onboard energy storage system
which utilises 750V lithium-ion batteries. The 70% low-floor vehicles will also operate in catenary-free
mode around the line's depot.


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