INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1264 10 SEPTEMBER 2016
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
The Kafue Railway Bridge was built in 1906 to carry the Livingstone to Lusaka railway line in what is now Zambia over the Kafue
River. It is a steel girder truss bridge of 13 spans each of 33 metres supported on concrete piers and was built for Mashonaland
Railways, later merged into Rhodesian Railways which operated the line from 1927 until succeeded in Zambia by Zambia Railways in
1966. With a length of 427 metres the Kafue Railway Bridge was the longest bridge on the Rhodesian Railways network. It includes
nearly 2 kilometres of embankments raised about 7 metres where the line crosses the river's wider rainy season channel, and a lower
embankment about 15 kilometres long where it crosses the river's shallower floodplain to the south-west of the bridge.
 Belgium - Railbiking Tessenderlo-Kwaadmechelen/Ham
Your correspondent visited this mature railbiking operation, operated by the local tourist office (VVV
Tessenderlo) on 26 June. The starting point is adjacent to Tessenderlo’s disused station, on the opposite
site of the road running at right angles to the track. A connecting track from the station goods yard is in
place but blocked by the low fence surrounding the railbiking site.
The track used by the railbikes runs largely parallel to and on the north side of the freight-only line (line
218 Tessenderlo - Paal) heading east towards the Albert Canal. The history is complicated but it looks as if
the railbiking track is part of the former line 17 (Diest – Tessenderlo – Beringen-Mijn), still in use for freight
between Diest and Tessenderlo. The booklet given to visitors says that NMBS/SNCB handed over the
railbiking line to the firm Tessenderlo-Chemie on a concession basis. Line 218 is described as the former
military line Diest-Leopoldsburg, closed to passengers in 1957, but this is perhaps a slight simplification.
After passing under the A13/E313 motorway, the railbiking route diverges from the operational freight line
(there are no connections except the disused track at Tessenderlo station, previously mentioned). The
freight line divides into two shortly afterwards; the left (north) track enters a short 3-track sidings area
with one track continuing to serve the large canalside plant of Tessenderlo Chemie NV Ham; the right-hand
track heads south towards Paal. After the divergence, the railbiking route runs slightly downhill and
terminates near to the Albert Canal, approximately 3.75km from Tessenderlo. Just before the terminus, an
old concrete “Stop” sign appeared on the left of the track, but railbikers could safely ignore this indication,
even if the route ahead appeared heavily overgrown. The railbiking route is single-track throughout;
customers simply take the front bike and turn the seats round if necessary (we were instructed to swap
bikes if we met one coming in the other direction, but this didn’t happen). The terminus is probably within
the boundary of Kwaadmechelen although the village centre is on the east side of the canal. The extremely
old-fashioned bargees’ café “Erra”, on the canal bank just south of the terminus, is worth a visit.
The former rail bridge across the canal has long since disappeared and a new road bridge slightly further
south was built in the early years of the 21st century as part of a ‘gauge enhancement’ programme for the
canal, to allow craft with containers stacked 4-high to pass. Across the canal, the former railway route is
clearly visible, now a surfaced cycle path. Although apparently nearly flat, from a railbiker’s point of view
the route seemed to have some significant gradients, perhaps exacerbated by adhesion problems thanks
to heavy weed growth and recent rainfall. Despite these comments, it is a well-run operation that has
clearly earned its place among the attractions of an area that is little explored by tourists.
The hire price is EUR 18 for a railbike that can accommodate up to 4 adults (2 pedalling). More information
 Belgium – Viaduc de Moresnet celebrates 100 years
The Viaduc de Moresnet, also known as the Göhltalviadukt is the longest viaduct on the Belgium railway
system, and is 1107 metres long. Built during the German occupation, from late 1915, it was intended to
connect Aachen West to the important railway centre of Montzen and allow the transport of troops and
military equipment towards the Flanders front. The viaduct was considered a major technical feat at the
time. Construction was by prisoners of war of many nationalities, including Russians. It survived the war
unscathed and became the property of the Belgian State as war reparations. The Belgians destroyed it in
May 1940, but the Nazis rebuilt it, only to destroy it themselves during their retreat in 1944. With high
grade steel at a premium in post-war Europe, rebuilding took five years. The viaduct was renovated
between 2003-2005 to remove a 20km/h speed restriction and increase its life span.
The centenary of the viaduct’s construction is being celebrated with three days of presentations and
events on 16-18 September. Details at http://viaducdemoresnet.be/programme/
 Croatia - Gricing visit to Croatia with a bit of Serbia and Slovenia (part 3)
Savski Marof – Harmica : This busy and frequent electric suburban service runs west out of Zagreb, using
the Ljubljana line before branching off at Savski Marof, which is actually the border station for main line
services. The branch track runs alongside the main line through the next two stations before curving away
to the terminus at Harmica. This line originally continued through to Celje in Slovenia, crossing back and
forth over the Croatia/Slovenia border and is open on the Slovenian side as far as Imeno.
EMU at the single platform at Harmica View towards end of line at Harmica
Čakovec – Lendava : This unusual cross border line is actually a branch with the last station being in
Slovenia. The branch was reopened across the border in 2014, initially on Saturdays only, but improving to
Sundays excepted by 2016, although still with only two daily return services.
Left: - DMU at Lendava
Your reporter caught the Saturday morning service which was
provided by single car unit. One passenger alighted at the
penultimate station before the border, leaving two other
passengers, both UK enthusiasts, on board. One other person
did join for the return journey from Lendava, a staffed
station, but it turned out that he didn't have a ticket, was
apparently on his way to Italy, and didn’t actually realise that
he was going into Croatia!. There was passport control at
both border stations but nothing serious. A handful of passengers joined the return journey from one of
the Croatian stations.
Varaždin - Golubovec : This branch has a reasonable service on weekdays but just one return trip on a
Saturday, when your reporter travelled, with a two hour layover. The line, for the most part, runs through
flat well populated countryside which appears to provide a good level of business, even on a weekend, but
after leaving the penultimate station, by which point all but two passengers had alighted, the line starts to
climb into the hills by a series of sharp curves and, shortly before reaching the terminus, runs right through
the middle of a large quarry. Golubovec is a small hamlet in a deep valley and the impression is that the
end of the branch has survived because of the stone traffic. There are no sidings at the quarry itself, and
piles of stone trackside suggest that loading is done on the running line. Fortunately one of the few
buildings near the station was a bar, which was patronised not just by a thirsty traveller, but also by the
train crew and station staff, none of whom it should be said, drank anything stronger than coffee!
View from train proceeding through quarry towards Golubovec. Golubovec station
Gulobovec. Same location with wagons for stone traffic.
 Czech Republic - No trains to Oslavany next year?
West of Brno the branch from Moravské Bránice to Oslavany (table 244) has been sparsely served in recent
years and the decline seems set to continue as the draft 2016/17 timetable shows no trains between
Ivančice and Oslavany, which is the final 3km.
 Czech Republic – Breakthrough for the Czech Republic’s longest tunnel
The breakthrough of the Czech Republic's longest railway tunnel was celebrated on 11 June, when the
boring machine Viktorie broke through the southern bore of the 4.15 km twin-bore tunnel under the
Chlum and Homolka hills east of Plzeň after 16 months of work. Boring had officially started on 3 February
2015 after a delay of over a year owing to archaeological surveys. Work on the northern bore will start this
autumn. The tunnel is the main feature of a new 14.1 km alignment between Ejpovice and Plzeň-
Doubravka. This will be suitable for speeds of up to 200 km/h and will cut 6 km from the sinuous route via
Chrást, reducing journey times by 9 minutes. The project forms part of the modernisation of the Plzeň –
Rokycany section of infrastructure manager SŽDC´s Corridor 3 Praha – Plzeň – Cheb which will reduce the
Praha – Plzeň journey time by a half to under 1 hour.
 Czech Republic – Heritage railway visited near Ústí nad Labem
The Zubrnické museální železnice (Zubrnice Museum Railway) run trains from Ústí nad Labem Střekov to
Zubrnice at weekends until 30 October. Our member duly presented himself at Ústí nad Labem Střekov for
the 13:50 departure.
The railway stations at Ústí nad Labem are more than a little confusing to the uninitiated as Ústí nad
Labem Střekov is the terminus for trains from Děčín, down the east bank of the Labem, and is also the first
station from Ústí nad Labem zapad on the route to Lysá nad Labem. So for most travellers it is necessary to
travel from the main station of Ústí nad Labem hlavní nádraží onto a service towards Most, and change
again at Ústí nad Labem zapad. Little red ‘Hurvinka’ single car DMU M131-1280 arrived from Zubrnice on
time and a dozen passengers alighted. It seemed our member was going to have the train to himself when
departure time arrived, but two families rushed up and boarded two minutes after the train should have
left! The train proceeded north on the line to Děčín and it was observed that there is a new station at
Svádov. This is just a platform with bus shelter, several hundred metres north of the previous station –
which is still in use for station staff, who turn out in typical east European fashion to watch each train pass.
The train is shown as stopping here, but didn’t, and in fact did not call at the next station, Valtířov, or the
junction station of Velké Březno. Presumably these are on request. There are sidings on the right beyond
Velké Březno, with old rolling stock, a carriage and a small shunter – all owned by the Zubrnické museální
železnice (www.zmz.cz). The train has to reverse from beyond these sidings off the main line and into a
headshunt which is blocked off by a flat wagon just beyond the points for the Zubrnice branch. The double
reversal complete, the train sets off on the unremitting ascent of a 4% gradient. The little class T211
shunter is sometimes used at busy weekends to bank the train when extra carriages are added. There are
halts at Malé Březno zastávka after 2 km and Leština, after 4.188 km, but, not surprisingly, no-one wished
to use these stations and the train ground on up the side of the valley to finally reach Zubrnice, at 6.185
km from Velké Březno. The beautiful little station is home to a railway museum established in 1996. The
entire former railway (16.843km) between Velké Březno and Lovečkovice which closed 27 May 1978 has
been designated a cultural monument and is protected by the state. The Velké Březno to Zubrnice section
was restored and reopened on 28 October 2010, and this year has benefited from support from the
Region. One welcome consequence of this is that the one day Czech Railways rover ticket our member
used (the Celodonni Sit‘ova) is valid on the trains. Track is still in-situ as far as Lovečkovice, but there seem
to be no plans to reopen this section. Three old carriages house a display of signalling equipment and
photographs of the restoration of the railway, and there is a display of draisines by the station building.
This also serves as a museum, with a restored station masters office amongst other things. What a shame
that the rain had started just as the train arrived, and continued until a few minutes before departure, 35
The station at Zubrnice carries name boards proclaiming it to be Zubrnice Týniště. The draisine display is behind the ‘Hurvinka’
railcar, and the three carriages with the rest of the exhibits are at the end of the line behind the photographer.
The timetable of the Velké Březno and Lovečkovice service prior to withdrawal. Note the very extended hours of the service, typical of
Czechoslovakia at that time. Even today many services start very early in the morning.
 Germany - Zwickau tram threat
The Conservative party (who run the council in a coalition) on the city council has again proposed closing
the tram lines from the Hauptbahnhof to Georgenplatz to create room for more cars on Bahnhofstrasse.
This would not impact the trains that share the tramway in Zwickau as they use the other tram route from
the station. In the meanwhile buses are replacing many trams on the network due to engineering works.
 Germany – More of line 6653 reopens
Line 6653 ran for 27.9km between Werdau and Wünschendorf (Elster) and was closed to passenger
services on 30 May 1999 with total closure on 15 November 2000. Attempts to reopen the line were
unsuccessful, a new road has severed the eastern end of the line between Werdau and Werdau West and
the bridge over the main line at Werdau has been demolished. At Seelingstädt there was a junction from
the north with the Wismut railway, and the 3.7km of line between Seelingstädt and Gauern was retained
as a siding until 2003. In 2007 the Deutsche Regionaleisenbahn handed the line over to heritage group
Friedrich List“ of Zwickau who had the intention of reopening the line as the Werdauer Waldeisenbahn.
Draisine operation commenced in 2007 between Teichwolframsdorf and Langenbernsdorf, and by 2010
was extended to Werdau West. From 2012 a dampfdraisine has operated occasionally. Since 15 May 2016
reopening has extended west to Seelingstädt, so 13.7 km of the line is now available for trips by Rail Trabi.
Dates of operation can be found at http://www.efwo-friedrichlist.info/03-termine/03-01-termine.html.
 Germany – Final section of the Lumdatalbahn to close
BLNI 1249.022 reported that The Didier-Werke in Mainzlar transferred all their freight traffic to lorries
from 31 December 2015 leaving the 4km between Lollar and Mainzlar Didier-Werke without any traffic.
Since no-one has come forward to take over the line it will be decommissioned at the end of 2016.
 Germany – Hafenbahn Stralsund extends south
A new dock, the Frankenhafen, is being built south of the Stralsund – Rügen railway and 2.3km of new
track is being laid to serve it. Mid 2018 is the completion date.
 Germany - Danger of Thüringerwaldbahn and Straßenbahn Gotha closing
Between Erfurt and Eisenach is the small town of Gotha, where a metre gauge tram system electrified at
600V DC starts with two short branches from Ostbahnhof and Hauptbahnhof, running 21.7km to Tabarz, a
small town in the Thüringer Wald. There is also a 2.4km branch from Waltershausen Gleisdreieck to
Waltershausen. There is a proposal to close the entire system and replace it with buses, probably in 2017
but possibly earlier. As always, politicians will have the final say, but anyone wanting this line should look
for an opportunity to visit in the not too distant future.
 Italy - Ceva to Ormea reopening progresses
BLNI 1253.125 reported that this 35km branch, closed in 2012, is to reopen as a tourist line after
agreement was reached between Fondazione FS, Rete Ferroviaria Italiane (RFI) and the Piedmont Region.
Renovation work started in June 2016 along with building a run round loop at Ormea for loco hauled
trains. The first trains are expected to run this autumn.
 Italy – Testing on yet another section of high speed line
Testing at speeds of up to 330 km/h has started on the Treviglio to Brescia high speed line. The 39.6 km
route, which is connected to an 11.7 km bypass of Brescia and a 6.9 km connection to the existing line
west of the city, forms part of the Milano to Venezia corridor, of which the Milano – Treviglio and Padova –
Venezia Mestre sections are already in use. The layout of Brescia station is to be reconfigured to separate
regional and long-distance services. Trains should start using the new line at the December timetable
 Netherlands – Schipol to Duivendrecht becomes quadruple track
The 8 km of railway between Schipol Airport and Duivendrecht has been a bottleneck for some time, so
eventually it was decided to make the section four track – a significant engineering feat as the line is
located between the two halves of the A10 motorway. After two years of work the final stage was a total
ten day closure and the line reopened on 10 August. The four tracks are fully reversible, platforms at
Amsterdam Zuid have been rebuilt, extra platforms built at Amsterdam Rai and some of the platforms at
Duivendrecht station have been moved to allow longer trains.
 Norway – Bergen light rail extended
An extension of Bergen’s Bybanen light rail route was inaugurated on 15 August. The southern extension
from Lagunen to Birkelandsskiftet adds 6 km and five stops. Work on the extension began on 16 August
2013. A further extension from Birkelandsskiftet to the airport with an intermediate stop at Kokstadflaten
is due to open later this year or early next year. A new depot is being built near the airport.
The two platform Byparken station is the city centre terminus of the Bybanen light rail line, seen here on a rainy morning in July 2016.
The first stop is by the railway station, though the stop is called Nonneseteren rather than anything indicating the presence of the
 Poland - New service to Medyka starts
The area to the east of Przemyśl is of considerable railway interest, with three broadly parallel lines of two
different gauges, a gauge changer and extensive yards leading up to the Ukrainian border. The three lines
are, from north to south:-
Line 92, the 1520 mm gauge line into Ukraine.
Line 989, a 1435 mm gauge line terminating at Medyka.
Line 91, the 1435 mm gauge line into Ukraine, which terminates at the modern SUW2000 gauge changer at
Mostys’ka 2 in Ukraine.
Line 989 from Przemyśl Główny has stations at Hurko, Medyka Towarowa, Medyka Rozrządu and Medyka,
but there has been no passenger service on this line for some years. However, PKP Regionalne introduced
a service from 1 September, which runs, Mondays to Fridays, until 15 October.
Trains leave Przemyśl Główny at 06:25, 13:50 and 15:50. Journey time is 15-17 minutes, and the trains
return at 07:00, 14:25 and 16:25.
 Spain - València exploration
Our member had originally thought of junking the Sevilla flight purchased to get to the Extremadua
Explorer as he hadn’t bought a return flight. However he decided to keep the flight and return home from
València, taking the opportunity of filling in some fairly substantial gaps on the classic Iberian gauge route
between the two cities. This was prompted by his discovery that the Sevilla to Barcelona Talgos are now
the only services over the "Espeluy north curve", i.e. the former Madrid - Sevilla main line. Looking ahead
it is suspected that classic trains paralleling AVE routes may not last many more years. The train was less
than 10% full on leaving Sevilla although the previous evening's arrival was more healthily loaded.
Passengers were picked up at Córdoba, achieving perhaps 15% occupancy in his carriage. Espeluy
contributed hardly anybody but to his surprise the train virtually filled up at Linares-Baeza; presumably it
acts as a railhead for a significant area.
Nothing has changed on the route between La Encina and València from the situation described last
November. He took the opportunity to do the short Cercanias branch to Platja i Grau de Gandía (an EGTRE
Sparse Service), or Platja de Gandía as it appears on the nameboard. Track continued beyond the station,
cutting across a roundabout. However, it was rusty and was protected from traversal by locked gates
across the track and a scotch. Google maps shows it continuing about 500 metres to the dock but satellite
photos show no sign of any wagons there. He was surprised to find that the Gandía branch leaves the main
line south of Silla via a substantial burrowing junction - rare on Iberian gauge lines in Spain in his
experience. This had not be noticed on his previous journey along the line with ADL in 1998 as they arrived
in Gandía by bus from Dénia. It was his first gricing visit and they only ran northbound.
In spite of its name, València Nord is on the south side of the city and faces south! It has 10 platforms,
numbered 1 - 9, with a bay (no. 21) on the east side of platform 1. There is a side platform east of platform
21 but it was unclear whether this sees any use. Platforms 1 - 5 (+21) lie within the ticket gates, so 6 - 9 are
used only by Regionales/Cercanias trains. Platforms 3 and 4 are out of use at the moment, with
excavations taking place between the rails, so capacity is limited and some trains are double stacked.
He took one of the 3 trains per day from València Nord to San Isidre. Although they function as Cercanias
services to Utiel, they are actually Media Distancia trains to Cuenca (- Aranjuez). They are the only diesel
trains (DMU) using València Nord. It is possible they are not allowed under the roof as his train left from
well down the platform, beyond an 8 car EMU.
There are two curves from València Nord to Fuente San Luis, as a single line curve diverges at the point
where the Barcelona and Madrid line separate and flies over the San Isidre line to run on the south side
towards Fuente San Luis. His hopes that his train might do this connection were dashed, as they took the
main line and reversed on the south side of the island platform at Fuente San Luis. There were only a
handful of passengers on the 16:41 departure from Nord on Friday, whereas a substantial number joined
at San Isidre, where there is a direct walkway from the metro station.
The situation with the track between Fuente San Luis and San Isidre is unchanged from the situation
described last November. The direct curve from San Isidre to València Nord still ends at a blank concrete
wall. At the other end, on the west side of the lines into València Nord, the site is bare apart from the
encampment of some 'unofficial scrap merchants'. Some quarter-hearted work has been done adjacent to
the main line but it is clear our members fears were unfounded and it will be a long time before this curve
is (re)built and the line between Fuente San Luis and San Isidre loses its service. However, in view of the
poor loadings mentioned above, it is possible advertised services could cease, as the main point of the
connection is that it ends the physical isolation of San Isidre and the consequent need for a temporary
depot and maintenance facilities there.
There is only one train each way between Castellon and Madrid at present (early morning to Madrid,
evening back), requiring use of the gauge changer at València Joaquin Sorolla. He was therefore most
surprised when crossing over the approaches by a footbridge at ca 19:15 to see a train from the Barcelona
line crossing right over and running into the Iberian gauge platforms at València Joaquin Sorolla, followed
almost immediately by an arrival from Madrid going via the gauge changer. Neither of these was the
Castellon service: the former was a Barcelona - Alacant service, booked to reverse at Joaquin Sorolla and
the latter a terminating AVE. He can only presume that the latter needed to change gauge in order to run
empty to the depot, but this suggests other opportunities for those who wish to do the gauge changer
here. He hadn't realised trains other than Madrid/Sevilla AVEs use València Joaquin Sorolla. Looking at
Alacant - València services, it seems that Euromed high speed trains reverse at València Joaquin Sorolla,
and other Talgo services at Nord. Our member does not know if this is the new norm or whether it is a
temporary situation caused by the 2 platforms being OOU at Nord.
REST OF THE WORLD
 Argentina/Chile - Trans-Andean railway gets freight traffic
Lime from General Güemes in Argentina is being transported over the Andes via San Antonio de los Cobres
to a copper mine east of Antofagasta. The metre gauge line has recently been refurbished and this has
allowed traffic to start again after a break of five years.
 Canada - Tourist trains end on Gaspé branch
It looks as though the L'Amiral tourist trains on the Gaspé branch have definitely ceased - as warned by a
report in March (in French) at http://radiogaspesie.ca/portfolio/depart-du-train-touristique/. Certainly, the
website has been taken down.
 Democratic Republic of Congo - Passenger trains run again
Unsafe infrastructure led to the closure of a 422 km section of the former Benguela Railway in north west
Congo two years ago, but after remedial work over a 110km section, twice daily passenger and mail trains
were planned to resume on 11 August between Dilolo and Lubumbashi. A more comprehensive upgrading
is planned with the intention of running trains westwards into Angola to reach the port of Lobito. The
Angolan section between the border at Luau and the port has been extensively rebuilt but few trains have
used it since the work was completed in August 2013 because almost all its potential traffic would
originate in DR Congo.
 India - Broad gauge link line opens
South Central Railway’s 123 km broad-gauge line between Nandyal and Yerraguntla in Andhra Pradesh has
opened for revenue operation, following a formal inauguration on 23 August. The first train was ‘flagged
off’ by video link from the Railway Institute in Vijayawada. Running south from Nandyal on the Vijayawada
– Guntakal line to meet the Guntakal – Chennai route at Yerraguntla, the new line has eight stations at
Madduru, Banaganapalli, Koilakuntla, Sanjanamala, Nossam, S Uppalapadu, Jammalamadugu and
Prodduturu. These are served by two DEMUs in each direction per day calling at all stations between
Nandyal and Kadapa. Originally proposed in the 1970s, the line was seen as a way of stimulating economic
development in the Rayalaseema region. Construction finally began in 1996, but the work progressed
slowly. The 47.2 km section between Yerraguntla and Nossam was opened for freight traffic in October
2012, with the 45.3 km between Nossam and Banaganapalli following in January this year. Chief Minister
Naidu said that as well as providing passengers with a link to the state capital Amaravati, the line would
facilitate exports of limestone, cement and granite from local factories. He hoped to sign an MoU with
Prabhu shortly to fund further railway developments in the state, including three new lines valued at
Rs187bn and double-tracking schemes.
 Japan - Sankou line to close
According to several newspaper reports, JR West has decided to abandon the Sankou Line. This line links
Miyoshi in northern Hiroshima-ken and Goutsu in western Shimane-ken. Total length is 108.1 km with 33
stations excluding terminals. End-to-end travel time is about 3.5 hours. The articles say that a formal
announcement is to be made on 1 September and the line may be gone by early 2018. If closed, it would
be the first line closure in JR West history and the longest in Honshu after the JNR breakup. The Sankou
Line was completed in 1975. It never had regular extra-fare services. With few cities in western Shimane,
the route is meaningless for intercity services. There are no trains linking Hiroshima and Matsue, Yonago
today, but in the days they operated they took the Geibi Line and Kisuki Line. Traffic has declined steadily
during JR West years, to a mere 10% of what it was when inherited from JNR.
 Russia (Asiatic) - Sakhalin gauge conversion to be accelerated
Russian Railways and the government of Sakhalin have agreed to accelerate the programme to convert the
island’s rail network from 1 067 mm to 1 520 mm gauge. The decision to speed up the programme has
been spurred by need to replace the life-expired D2 diesel multiple-units built by Fuji Heavy Industries in
1985. The use of 1 067 mm gauge dates from Japanese rule before World War II. Conversion to Russian
broad gauge began in 2003, using sleepers able to accommodate three rails and providing clearance for
larger rolling stock. Before work stalled, 592 km of the 834 km network had been converted. The three-
month summer building season in 2017 will now see major blockades to enable the 630 km Kholmsk –
Arsentevka – Nogliki route to be made suitable for broad gauge trains, to be followed in 2018 by the 157
km from Arsentevka to Korsakov.
 Uruguay - Line to be modernised
Uruguay’s Ministry of Transport and public works has awarded Comsa, Spain, with a €94m contract to
modernise the 180km between Piedra Sola -Salto Grande line. The works include the replacement of
562km of rail, 136,000 wooden sleepers, and more than 100,000m3 of ballast. The modernisation also
includes alignment works, levelling, and bridge reinforcement. The Piedra Sola – Salto Grande line is mainly
used for freight traffic. The project is due to be completed within two years.
 Vietnam - Main north –south railway reopens
BLNI1254.164 reported that a sand barge had hit the Ghenh railway bridge on 21 March, severing the
country’s main line between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. A new bridge has now been built and the line
reopened on 25 June. The railway has experienced a major loss of revenue and traffic in this period.
 Zambia - Lifting the Kafue Railway Bridge in 1927
An engineering feat surpassing in magnitude anything of the kind previously attempted in the Southern
Hemisphere, and one of considerable interest to railwaymen, was recently satisfactorily carried out at
Kafue, in Northern Rhodesia, some 2,000 miles from Cape Town.
In order to protect the Kafue Railway Bridge from the floods which threatened its safety every year it was
decided to raise the entire structure - 1,398 feet in length and weighing 910 tons – five feet above the
foundations on which it had rested for twenty years. The bridge consists of thirteen spans and is one of the
longest in Africa. Twenty-eight hydraulic jacks (placed in position under saddling girders which joined the
spans together) were employed to lift the bridge. Each jack was manned by two natives under the
guidance of a European. At a given signal the huge bridge was raised to the required height in individual
lifts of ten inches. Great wooden wedges were employed to take the weight off the jacks after each lift,
these being removed after a concrete block had been cemented in position on each pier. The lifting
operations were so arranged that traffic was able to pass over the bridge after each lift of ten inches had
been completed-the permanent way being raised the required distance for this purpose.
The work was carried out under the direction of Mr. Rigley, the bridge engineer of the Beire Mashonaland
and Rhodesian Railway and its successful accomplishment is a remarkable testimony to the efficiency of
modern engineering methods. From the New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 8 (December 1, 1927)
RAILTOURS AND DIVERSIONS OVER NON-PASSENGER LINES
This is provided as a service to members and details must be checked with the organisers.
Germany - Lindau avoiding line available for one day
On 29 October two trains take the normally freight only Lindau avoiding line. These are IC118 and 119,
which run between Münster (Westphalia) and Innsbruck and vice versa.
Poland - Rzepin avoiding line in daily use for a period
There is a total block on the line between Rzepin to Kostrzyn in the period 5 September to 15 October, and
as a consequence table 355 shows all trains between Kostrzyn and Zielona Góra avoiding Rzepin and
therefore using the 3km-long freight only Rzepin avoiding line. An evening pair of trains from Kostrzyn to
Rzepin and back continues but with extended running time indicating that they are booked via the
avoiding line and, after reversal, reaching Rzepin from the south.
Poland – Three days of diversions south of Żary
From 27-30 September all trains between Żary and Węgliniec are diverted by the 11km freight line
between Żagań and Jankowa Żagańska.
South Africa - LCGB Tour in 2017
The LCGB invites BLS members to join our major tour to South Africa in late March /April 2017. The tour is
in two parts -(i) 29 March - 8 April to the Sandstone Festival with 24 locos and over 30 km of track and (ii) 8
- 24 April mainly standard gauge (3ft.6in.) charters with numerous preserved locos. Either or both parts
can be booked. Annual or temporary LCGB membership is necessary. Full details can be obtained from
Adrian Palmer , 46 Heathside, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 9YL Tel:07774 859871 email:[email protected]
or at www.lcgb - click onto News and Main Index page then Overseas Tours.
Switzerland - Basel trams diversion
From 7 August 2016 until 28 October 2016 line 8 will run via line 11 from Schfflände to Voltaplatz, use the
non passenger curve there from line 11 to line 1 then run to Dreirosenbrücke before using the non
passenger curve there from 1 to 8 to resume its regular route. (Applies in both directions).