INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1282 3 JUNE 2017
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
Platform 1 at Dessau railway station is only used by heritage services of the Dessau-Wörlitzer Eisenbahn and it is necessary to
leave the station building to access it. The Dessau-Wörlitzer Eisenbahn have two of the six class 670 single car, double decker
DMUs withdrawn from DB capital stock in 2001. The upper and lower levels are connected by a spiral staircase, giving them a
very ‘double decker bus’ feel. On certain dates in 2017 one class 670 operates Dessau to Wörlitz, connecting en-route at
Oranienbaum with a second class 670 which works down the branch to Ferropolis, an important tourist attraction.
Unfortunately on the day of our members visit the second class 670 was broken, and replaced by a real bus.
 Czech Republic - Gricing with KŽC Part 2 – From Poland back to the Czech Republic
Having spent the night in Świdnica, gricing resumed immediately the following morning. Line 285 ran
from Wrocław through Kobierzyce, Sobótka, Świdnica Przedmiescie and Świdnica Kraszowice to
Jedlina-Zdrój, where it joined the Klodzko to Wałbrzych railway. The railway was opened southwards in
several steps by the Preußischen Staatseisenbahnen (Prussian state railways) between 1884 and 1904.
Subsequently a curve was constructed from Świdnica Przedmiesce to Świdnica Miasto (much better
placed for the city centre), on the Jaworzyna Śląska to Kamieniec Ząbkowicki line. This curve became
Wrocław to Kobierzyce was double tracked in 1910, but the second track was dismantled in 1945,
presumably removed by the Soviets as war reparations. The railway south of Świdnica to Jedlina-Zdrój
closed to passenger services in 1989 and to freight in 2004, but the track was not lifted and is now
used by Sowiogórskie Bractwo Kolejowe, an Association formed in 2003 with the aim of reopening
Świdnica Kraszowice to Jedlina-Zdrój. From their base at Jugowice, they operate summer draisine rides
over part of the line. Passenger traffic from Wrocław to Świdnica was discontinued in 2000. Today
Wrocław to Sobótka Zachodnia is a non-electrified single track railway for freight traffic only and for
most of the way the line speed is between 20 and 40 km/h. Sobótka Zachodnia to Pszenno is out of use
and Pszenno to Świdnica Miasto is freight only. Leaving Świdnica Miasto the line splits into two single
lines, the northernmost one diverging towards Pszenno. KŽC had asked permission to traverse the full
triangle, but this had been refused. Track is present on the curve from Świdnica Przedmiescie to
Świdnica Kraszowice, connected and devoid of encroaching vegetation. So it looked useable – at least
at that end. A photo-stop was made at Świdnica Przedmiescie, still with cobbled platform and wooden
platform covers, but all now decaying and derelict.
The station building at Świdnica Przedmiescie was founded in 1898 and was originally called Schweidnitz Niederstadt. After 1945
the name was changed several times first to Świdnica, then to Swidnica Dolna and Świdnica Dolne Miasto until finally becoming
Świdnica Przedmiescie. Passenger trains ceased in 2000.
Soon after the station a line diverges right up to a headshunt from where a reversal can access the
short branch to the Wagony Świdnica S.A. wagon works. This makes wagons for many operators,
including UK ones, and examples of these were visible in the works yard.
The line continues along the eastern side of Świdnica to reach open country. Pszenno station was
visible on the left, but the tour crossed a road and entered the small yard from where a number of
sidings entered the very large sugar factory. Coal for the boilers is the source of traffic.
The small yard at Pszenno. The backshunt into the Sugar factory with its large chimney, is on the left. The former main line is to
On 9 January 2017, an agreement was signed between PKP PLK and the authorities of the Lower
Silesian Voivodeship to reopen the line between Wrocław and Świdnica by 2020. This has been
‘agreed’ before, so progress will be keenly observed by those needing the track. The tour now
returned to the northern part of Wałbrzych.
The final highlight of the tour was a visit to the remaining stub of the former loop line from Wałbrzych
Sczcawienko to Boguszów-Gorce and Meziměstí. This was line 291 and it was electrified at 15kV from
1914 until 1945 when the catenary was removed by the Soviets. It offered a route avoiding Wałbrzych
Glowny as well as serving local industry, but passenger services ended in 1960 and the northern
section closed to freight in 1995, leaving only a short stub at the northeastern end from Wałbrzych
Sczcawienko. Today three platforms are in use on the east side of the station building, but the former
platform on the western side is not believed to see any passenger use, and only freight trains pass
through it. The station building appeared to be undergoing major works (it was badly damaged by fire
in the 1990s) and the approach road was dug up. Southbound trains passing through the western
platform take a connection back to the Wałbrzych Glowny tracks, but trains for line 291 (more
properly line 809 now) continue past some prefabricated railway buildings to enter a deep and rather
boggy cutting which gives way to woodland after which two branches trail in. Both appear to serve
power stations and both appear to be in use, the northernmost one having extensive sidings
containing many wagons. Past the junctions the line passes over a viaduct and ends at crossed wooden
sleepers which act as buffer stops at about the 2km point. It is all uphill, and the engines on the coal
trains must need to work hard. A steep embankment prevented alighting, so the tour returned to
Wałbrzych Sczcawienko (west side) and reversed to take the connection for Wałbrzych Glowny. Half an
hour later line 291 was observed trailing in near Boguszów-Gorce through a deep cutting which was
completely devoid of track.
It had been intended that the tour return to the Czech Republic via the southern part of line 291 from
Boguszów-Gorce to Meziměstí, but rather late in the day it was discovered that PKP would have to
open the line for the train at ’a five figure cost’. The train therefore ran via the Sędzisław – Lubawka –
Trutnov cross-border line, open to passenger trains in the summer season. This afforded an
opportunity to visit the 5km branch line from Královec to Žacléř, which is just over the border in the
Czech Republic. This was built for coal, which was taken out by a short branch from the colliery to
Lampertice, which is 3 km down the branch towards Žaclér, which was the dormitory town for the
mines. The mine closed in 1992, and passenger traffic on weekdays ended in December 2003. In
December 2008 weekend trains also ended and since then only a few special trains have operated
over the line. The KŽC special got to the old station at Žaclér which is only a few metres from the end
of the line.
The station building at Žaclér seen from the end of the line. Note the absence of proper buffer stops.
From here on people started leaving the tour at convenient places, your scribe opting to get off at
Stará Paka for onward travel to Děčín via Liberec. Alas, an accident at Pardubice led to the cancellation
of the next fast service to Liberec, so he finally arrived in Děčín well after 23:00.
 Czech Republic - Deviation open on Praha – Plzeň line
The cut-off between Cerhovice and Zbiroh mentioned as under construction in BLNI 1146.372 was
observed to be in use when a member passed by in April and was surprised to find himself passing
through a short tunnel.
 France – Nantes to Saint Nazaire to be diverted?
A major issue faces the Donges oil refinery, west of Nantes which is dissected by the Nantes - St
Nazaire main-line carrying 60 passenger trains a day. The refinery which employs 680 people and
supports 1500 indirect jobs has been declared a ‘Seveso’ site. If it is to remain in operation then the
line needs to be moved outside of the ‘Seveso’ zone. Seveso sites are named after the Seveso disaster
in 1976 when an accident at an industrial site released quantities of the toxic chemical dioxin into the
atmosphere. Subsequent studies into industrial safety practices culminated in the EU safety
regulations known as the Seveso II Directive. Total who operate the site are now putting pressure on
the Region and SNCF to move the line if operations at the site are to continue. A project to develop an
alternative route has established a preferred option that would move the railway onto a stretch of
existing road. Three new road bridges and two roundabouts would need to be built along with a new
station at Donges. There is strong opposition from local residents who fear that the value of their
property will fall due to the close proximity of the trains. A declaration of public utility is expected at
the end of 2017. If unchallenged work would begin in 2018 for completion by 2021. The cost is
estimated at €150 million of which one third would be met by Total, a third by the state and the
remainder by the Region and local authorities. Courtesy of the SNCF Society
 France - Steam trains to return to Saint Quentin station
Following platform works Le petit train du Chemin de fer touristique du Vermandois will be running
into Saint Quentin station by the end of the year. SNCF stopped the heritage railway running into
platform 4 in 2001 and since then trains have started from the depot. The association operate heritage
trains between Saint- Quentin and Origny-Sainte-Benoite.
 France – Go to Quillan by train this year, or you may not go at all
According to L'Echo du Rail, Carcassonne - Limoux - Quillan will close from December 2017; Carcassone
- Limoux should reopen in 2018 but Limoux - Quillan, for which no funding has yet been agreed, may
not reopen at all (and if it does it would not be before 2020).
 France - CFHVS, Bar-le-Duc, Meuse - an update
BLNI 1278.122 featured the new railway museum under construction at Bar-le-Duc, Meuse. This is the
Chemin de fer Historique de la Voie Sacrée (CFHVS). A new metre gauge track of 4 km has been laid
through the forest along the route of the First World War narrow gauge railway that was used to
supply the front line during the battle of Verdun.
The ambitious museum project requires the construction of various buildings at the terminus of the
new line on the outskirts of Bar-le-Duc (visitor centre, engine shed and depot) and also at the opposite
end of the line at Ferme Saint-Christophe where a museum is to be erected.
It is reported that the local council is responsible for the financing and building of these structures.
Currently no work has yet started on this part of the project which the association considers essential
before the line can be opened to visitors. At present, the Corpet Louvet loco "Suzanne" and rolling
stock are stored at different locations in the town of Bar-le-Duc because there is no secure covered
accommodation at the terminus of the new line.
So, due to this situation, CFHVS has announced that no trains will run in 2017. Instead, there will be
guided visits of the Corpet Louvet tank engine "Suzanne" on the first Saturday of each month from
April to September. On those days the engine will be displayed at the terminus, Chemin du Varinot,
55000 Bar-le-Duc (on the north-western edge of the town).
On Sunday, 3 September 2017 there will be a special, free, "spectacle" depicting a supply depot in
1917, with costumed participants, historical vehicles and all the preserved rolling stock and
locomotive. Those who may be in the area this year, and would like further information, can contact
CFHVS at 03 29 79 04 17 or by email at [email protected] Courtesy of the SNCF Society
 Germany – Electrification of the Kaiserstuhlbahn moves forward
Local rail infrastructure manager SWEG Schienenwege has awarded Powerlines Group a contract to
electrify the 37.6 km Kaiserstuhlbahn linking Riegel-Malterdingen with Gottenheim and Breisach.
Forming part of the Breisgau-S-Bahn 2020 project, this will enable Kaiserstuhlbahn services to be
integrated with the Freiburg – Breisach line which is being electrified under a separate contract and
the Höllentalbahn which is already electrified.
 Germany – Diversions at Magdeburg
IBSE have published details of ICs from Braunschweig to Leipzig currently reversing in temporary
platforms on goods by-pass line 6406. P13 can only be accessed from outside the station, and trains
from this to/from Leipzig in traversing part of line 6406 are some way over from the usual tracks
behind buildings before joining the avoiding curve at km 1.8 and use crossovers just south of there to
rejoin the normal route.
Allegedly nothing departs north from these temporary platforms but the 18:08 to Frankfurt (Oder) was
in temporary P12 when a member visited on Sunday 9 April. Hafas claims this train should have been
in P10, but it wasn’t, so it would have used a different section (not the flyover though) of line 6406.
 Germany – Nürnberg ring diversions
On the DB Bauarbeiten site there is information that some IC and all ICE services between [Frankfurt -]
- Würzburg - Passau [- Wien] are diverted and do not call at Nürnberg Hbf from 5 to 26 August, with a
delay of 10 minutes. This is due to engineering works between Nürnberg Hbf and Dutzendteich, so it
can be assumed that this means use of the full length of the freight ring line from Fürth (Bay.) Hbf to
Fischbach. For ICE services, there are two date ranges with identical information. For the IC trains, the
two date ranges only differ by referring to 'several' (mehrere) trains from 5 to 19 August and 'a few'
(einige) trains from 19 to 26 August. Services to München reverse in Nürnberg Hbf and run via
Augsburg, omitting Ingolstadt. RE services from both east and west appear to be unaffected.
 Germany – Kiel to Flensburg line realignment in 2018
According to the DB projects site, they intend to replace the Schleibrücke lifting bridge at Lindaunis,
between Eckernförde and Süderbrarup on the Kiel to Flensburg line (KBS146), with a new bridge 12
metres to the east of the current one. This is planned for early to mid- 2018. This presumably involves
some realignment of the track on either side and so would constitute a new stretch of track.
 Norway – Trains return to the Rjukanbanen
Abundant hydro-electric power in the Rjukan area led to the development of a large chemical plant,
the products from which were transported south by rail through Notodden to the national railway
network and the port of Skien. The 16km section from Rjukan to Mæl ended with a train ferry for
30km from Mæl to Tinnoset across Lake Tinn. The Rjukan Line and the ferries were operated by Norsk
Transport, a subsidiary of Norsk Hydro. Passenger trains ran until 1985 and the line closed in 1991. In
1997 the ownership of the track was transferred to Stiftelsen Rjukanbanen, a foundation that started
heritage operation of the line in 1999. Both railway and train ferry are a protected industrial
monument and part of the "Rjukan - Notodden industrial heritage", inscribed on UNESCO on 5 July
2015. On 13 May 2016 Jernbanetilsynet gave approval for conveyance of passengers on the railway
and in the 2016 summer season over 3000 passengers travelled on the trains. This year trains will run
on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 28 June to 12 August, at similar times to those in 2016 which were
two return trips Rjukan to Mæl, the first at 10:00 connecting with a return trip on the train ferry
‘Storegut’ from Mæl to Tinnoset. The southern part of the Norsk hydro railway system was the 34km-
long Tinnosbanen from the pierhead at Tinnoset to Notodden which closed at the same time as the
Rjukanbanen. It is planned to restore the railway to operational condition, but currently there is
debate as to which government department is to pay for it or how the bill will be split. No heritage
trains are foreseen in the near future.
 Poland – A walk needed to get to the Śmigiel narrow gauge now
The troubled narrow gauge line from Stare Bojanowo to Śmigiel sees trains running this summer on
selected dates. Details at http://kolejka.smigiel.pl/index.php/oferta. The narrow gauge terminus in
Stare Bojanowo is now about 200 metres from the standard gauge railway station as it is no longer
possible for trains to cross a street nearby.
 Poland - Assorted snippets from a man in the know
A recent railtour in Poland afforded the opportunity to quiz an enthusiast who also works for PKP and
knows a lot about future developments. Some points of interest are as follows:
There are to be more closures of the main line to Białystok for Rail Baltica, this time north of Tłuszcz
and to ensure through services continue there is genuine consideration of diversions of TLK’s via
Czeremcha or even via Ostrołęka and long closed to passenger line 520 to/from Łapy. The Czeremcha
line is undergoing works this year so seems much more likely if diversions go ahead, as the line speeds
on line 520 on a tour a few years ago were slow even then.
Warszawa tunnel works are planned again with diversions via Warszawa Gdanska.
The Darłowo branch will reopen as previously suggested at weekends in the summer but those wishing
to do the line diesel hauled may want to wait until 2018 as PKP IC have applied for a path to take a TLK
from Przemyśl there next year. Rough timings are to arrive Darłowo 13:00 and depart 16:00.
The Zegrze branch reopening is making progress, discussions are now at funding the repairs to
Funding for Korzse to Ełk electrification is also making progress
There will be a Polish Woodstock festival this year and the reasons that no special train paths
appeared in the 2017 all year PDF’s was that the compiler was off sick at the time. He was on the tour
and plans to start work on them shortly and admitted he was a little “imaginative” with their routing.
In previous years there has been plenty of freight line content.
The rumoured daytime Chełm – Doruhusk- Jagodin – Kovel DMU service should start as suggested in
July. And from German sources on the same tour, there will definitely be a passenger service between
Horka (Germany) and Węgliniec in the future , but it is not yet known if trains will start/finish from
Cottbus or Leipzig, or even both.
 Switzerland – A member comments on proposals on a number of Swiss lines
A member visited a number of lines where IBSE or Today’s Railways Europe had reported forthcoming
track changes or proposals. He reports as follows:-
Appenzeller Bahn (AB). At St Gallen digging of the new tunnel towards Gais is well under way and
posters claim it will open in Autumn 2018. Doing all four lines of the Appenzeller Bahn system took 4h
Chemin de fer Orbe-Chavornay (OC). At Chavorney it has been suggested the Orbe branch junction will
be turned to face north as opposed to the present position facing south. Our member observed that
the terrain rises right outside the station, so doing this change would not be straightforward, but he
did see benefits if the passenger shuttle could be moved away from terminating at its current platform
on the south curve leading to the main line for two reasons. Firstly the branch has numerous rail
served warehouses and factories (including Nestle and Nescafe and serving these is suspected to be
the reason why all midday services are replaced by buses), and secondly because the line crosses a
level crossing over a busy main road just before reaching the branch platform.
Transports Publics Fribourgeois (TPF). At Châtel -St-Denis It is planned that the current terminus
station would be replaced by a new station on a new curve. No work has yet commenced but the
curve would be easy enough to construct across an open field. Much village centre space will be
released at the existing dead-end station where the depot beyond the station platforms has already
been closed and replaced by what looks like a new facility on the outskirts of Bulle.
Transports Publics Fribourgeois (TPF). No sign yet of work starting on converting Bulle - Broc-Fabrique
to standard gauge.
Waldenburgerbahn (WB). Allegedly the Liestal to Waldenburg line near Basel is to be converted from
750 to 1000mm by 2022. It certainly won’t be to standard gauge as there are a few kilometres of
street running alongside houses and shops towards the terminus. No sign of any work yet.
Local sources reported to IBSE that the SBB line from Sissach to Olten via Buckten is under threat of
closure and a visit showed why. Despite moderate loadings mid-morning on a Tuesday the line is
always high up on the east side of a valley and all but one of the places it serves are way down below
by a main road with a frequent bus service. Also the line has a 2.5km long tunnel and the rails are not
CWR so any major expenditure requirement could see it close.
REST OF THE WORLD
 Algeria/Tunisia – International trains resume
The launch of the Annaba-Tunis rail link was scheduled for 14 May with 300 seater trains running three
times a week. According to officials of the SNTF, customs formalities will be carried out on board.
About 1.5 million Algerians visit Tunisia each year, the vast majority being tourists. In the opposite
direction, 500,000 Tunisians visited Algeria last year.
 Bangladesh - New projects
The government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese contractors to regauge and
double-track the Dhaka – Chittagong main line via Akhaura and Comilla. The upgrading is expected to
be completed by the end of 2019.
At present the Bangladesh Railways network east of the capital is entirely 1000 mm gauge, although
1676 mm gauge and dual-gauge routes have been developed to connect with the broad gauge
network in the west of the country. However, a broad-gauge cross-border link between Agartala and
Akhaura is being developed under a co-operation accord with Indian Railways.
Work is expected to start in August on a 100 km dual-gauge extension running south from Chittagong
to Cox’s Bazar.
 Canada – Good news for the Gaspé branch
The Province of Québec has announced spending of $100 million for upgrades to the railway between
Matapedia and Gaspé, with work to begin in the coming months.
Work will take place over the next 3 years, though it doesn't sound like that would get them finished
all the way to Gaspé, and it's not clear if the current funding would be enough or if they'd need more
to finish the job. However, the province has apparently stated that they intend for the work to allow
for the resumption of passenger service on the line. Would VIA have any interest in re-instating service
part-way once the initial phases are done, or would they insist on waiting until the work is finished all
the way to Gaspé? Whatever, this certainly seems to be a very positive development.
 Canada – On-line atlas
The Railway Association of Canada has an on-line atlas which can be found at
 Canada – New branch opens to potash mine
In 2013, Canadian Pacific signed a long-term contract with K+S Potash Canada (KSPC) to deliver its
potash products, and began construction of a 30.4km branch connecting the new mine with the
Regina - Saskatoon line. The Bethune (Legacy) Project potash mine and the branch were officially
opened on 2 May. The project involved laying more than 50,000 sleepers, 4500 tonnes of rails, plates
and fasteners, and 90,000 tonnes of ballast. The trains which run on the new line will be formed of
four locomotives and 177 wagons, which transport the potash to KSPC’s handling and storage facility
at Port Moody near Vancouver.
 India – Busy line to be upgraded
The Delhi – Chandigarh line is to be upgraded to permit operation at speeds up to 200 km/h and a
design and build tender should be ready by the end the year. The 245 km route is one of the busiest in
northern India, with 100 trains a day and current ridership of 40 million passengers/year predicted to
increase by 4% annually. The project would involve traffic segregation, the introduction of new EMUs
and new operations and maintenance standards.
 Indonesia – Rail link to airport under construction
Following a groundbreaking ceremony on 8 April construction started on a 13.5 km rail link to serve
Adi Soemarmo International Airport in the central Java state of Boyolali. The line is due to be
completed within two years, and will connect the airport with Solo City station in the northern suburbs
of Surakata, where it will meet the Jakarta – Bandung – Surabaya southern main line. About 3.5 km of
the route uses an existing alignment the remainder being new build. Construction of the rail link
coincides with work to expand the airport which should be complete by 2018.
 Iran – Two new lines open and more to come
The 267km railway linking Tehran with the city of Hamadan was officially opened on 8 May.
Construction of the line began in 2001, but work stopped in 2004 before being restarted after the
easing of sanctions in 2015. The line starts at a junction at Robat Karim near Imam Khomeini
International Airport southwest of the capital, then runs west via Saveh and Famenin. The alignment is
designed for passenger trains running at a maximum speed of 160 km/h and 120 km/h freight services.
The 70 km Malayer – Firouzan route built at a cost of 941bn rials was also opened on the same day.
Tracklaying has begun on the Hamedan – Sanandaj line, one of several projects currently underway
including Arak – Khosravi, Mahabad – Orumiyeh, Mianeh – Tabriz and the North–South corridor which
will connect Europe and the port of Bandar Abbas.
 Japan - Station work starts at Global Gateway Shinagawa
East Japan Railway and the Urban Renaissance Agency marked the start of construction of a new
station on the Yamanote Line with a Shinto-style ceremony in Tokyo on 10 February. The station will
be located between the current Shinagawa and Tamachi stations and will serve the Yamanote Loop
Line and the Keihin-Tohoku Line. The station should open temporarily in spring 2020 in time for the
Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, with full completion due by 2024. It will be the 30th station on
the Yamanote Line and will lie at the heart of a 14.7ha land redevelopment project known as ‘Global
Gateway Shinagawa’ due to be finished by 2031. To be built on three levels, the station designed by
Kengo Kuma will have two island platforms and four tracks for the Yamanote Loop and Keihin-Tohoku
 Uruguay – FS working with state railway on wood pulp transport project
State railway AFE and FS Group of Italy are co-operating in three priority areas, including supply of
rolling stock. AFE has signed a memorandum of understanding with FS, who have submitted a bid to
supply 200 wagons, including hoppers and flat wagons, for the transport of wood pulp, grain and
ballast. The current agreement will also see FS provide technical assistance to AFE for staff training and
infrastructure upgrades. The latter are expected to include the US$500m programme to upgrade the
270 km Montevideo — Paso de Los Toros route to carry 2 million tonnes of wood pulp a year.
 Uzbekistan – Schemes approved
The Asian Development Bank has approved a loan towards a project to electrify 145.1 km of single
track line linking Pap, Namangan and Andijon in the Ferghana Valley. Completion is planned for the
second quarter of 2020. The route is now directly connected to the rest of the Uzbek network via the
Angren – Pap line which was officially opened in June 2016.
The President has approved plans for a 71 km electrified double-track passenger railway paralleling the
Toshkent ring road. The orbital line would be designed to reduce road congestion and pollution in the
capital, and reduce the need for public transport users to travel via the city centre to reach peripheral
destinations. The 26 stations would be located to provide intermodal interchanges with current and
future transport routes. National railway UTY envisages that construction of the ring railway could be
completed within three years.