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3rd December 2016

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Published by membersonly, 2018-05-02 00:38:22


3rd December 2016



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 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


Guess the location. The answer will be in BLNI 1271.
It is not in the UK and was a one time a through line.
The line beyond the stop blocks was closed for a while but re-opened in 2001.
Trains from the country the station is located in, do not have access to this railway which serves two
other stations within the country before the frontier is reached.


[477] Austria – The end for St. Paul to Lavamünd
In 2015 the St. Paul - Lavamünd line (in Southern Austria by the Slovenian border) was sold to a
company and the tracks were removed in February and March 2016. After land restoration works the
route is to be sold to local residents and communities. From 2004 to 2007 the private
BetriebsgesmbH (LBB) carried freight traffic and in the summer ran tourist trains. From Lavamünd the
line used to run to Dravograd in Slovenia.

[478] France – Campaign to re-open freight line
In 2015 the 6 km stub of the line from the junction station of Buzançais to Argy (on the closed line to
Luçay-le-Mâle) was refurbished and reopened to serve a group of businesses, mainly grain producers.
Between November 2014 and April 2015 the Buzançais to Châteauroux line was also refurbished,
partly to allow the new traffic from the Argy area to connect to the national network, and partly to
allow the Axereal company of Saint-Maur to ship 40,000 tonnes of grain annually to La Rochelle for
export. This means most of the traffic from the line has to pass through Vierzon and Tours, which is
rather a long way round. Promoters of the reopened line point out that there is a disused railway
between Buzançais and Loches, near Tours, which would cut 100km off the rail journey, allow rail
access to further grain elevators and relieve pressure on the RD 943 road which is overloaded with
heavy vehicles. Not surprisingly they are campaigning for reopening.

[479] France – Chartres to Orléans
[BLNI 1269.458] Only the section from Chartres to Voves is re-opening on Monday 12 December,
according to the TER and Voyages-SNCF journey planners. The line on to Orélans is expected to re-
open by 2021. Your editor wishes to apologize for this error.

[480] France – Le Train Touristique Guîtres Marcenais
This heritage railway originated as a museum of local railways in 1971 at Guîtres, which is situated on
the old line between Coutras and Saintes built by the Compagnie des chemins de fer des Charentes
between 1862 and 1974. Passenger services ended in 1938 and freight in 1965. A preservation society
purchased and operated three draisines from 1973 and in 1977 the line was purchased by the Gironde
department. The 13 km of track used by TTGM trains is the central section of the line from Coutras to
east of Cavignac and is between Guîtres and Marcenais.

Guîtres station is the main operational site of Le Train Touristique Guîtres Marcenais and has some resemblance to a château.
The De Dion Bouton railcar stands outside Guîtres station building with the depot visible in the distance

The shed is beyond the station building and was a scene of some activity as a steam engine (steaming
away as it was working a train later in the day) was moved out by a man-rider, then the De Dion
Bouton railcar to be used for the Rethel/Siede special was moved out – with most of the tour group on
board! The railcar, built in 1938, is a designated historic monument. Diesel loco D-4022, looking
immaculate, has an interesting history. It was requisitioned by the US Army as soon as it was delivered
in 1945. The special departed Guîtres, was flagged across a road at the station throat and, gears
grinding, set off for Marcenais. It was immediately noticeable that the vegetation had been cut back
several metres from the tracks, giving a very neat appearance as the line runs mainly through
woodland. The former station of Maransin is at the mid-point of the line, but it was the well preserved
former station at Tizac-de-Lapouyade which attracted the photo-stop. Further on there is a new
platform adjacent to a minor road, beyond which it is 800 metres to the Gare de Marcenais. The
formation of the former line to Libourne trails in on the left as the station is approached. The train
reversed at the Gare de Marcenais and returned to the new platform where the coach was waiting for
onward travel. Trains run from 1 May to 31 October, with one return trip with steam on Sundays and
Holidays starting from Guîtres at 15:30. From 15 June to 15 September there is a diesel hauled trip,
also at 15:30, on Wednesdays. Not a very ambitious schedule.

[481] Germany – Czechs to finally get their oil back
West of München-Pasing, the 6 km privately owned freight line from München Freiham to Tanklager
Krailing has been made good for a short period of traffic. 75 million litres of diesel that was being
stored in Germany but owned by the Czech Government is to be moved to a site near Plzen. The fuel
was being stored by a now insolvent company on behalf of the Czechs and after the German firm went
bankrupt in 2014 the Czechs have been arguing in the German courts to prove they own the fuel. The
fuel will be removed in trains transporting 1.3 million litres at a time.

[482] Germany – Gotha trams
BLNI recently reported that the complete metre gauge tram system serving Gotha (the TWSB)
including the 21.7km long rural Thüringerwaldbahn to Tabarz was under threat so a Member arranged
to visit as it fitted in nicely behind a west of Poland railtour. Apparently the relevant operating permits
expire in July 2017 and the Regional Administration in Thüringen had been approached by local bus
operator Steinbrück to replace subsidised trams with non-subsidised buses. This proposal has now
been rejected, their reasoning being that if the trams were withdrawn and the bus operator then
failed there would be no service at all, a risk considered unacceptable. Additional factors may have
been that the tram infrastructure has been extensively modernised in the last ten years so is in good
condition, [albeit the services are still provided by relatively old, mainly non-low floor second hand
trams] plus Political opposition to closure across all parties with an online petition attracting over
11,000 signatories.
This news broke in late October when your correspondent was already in Germany so the visit went
ahead and an enjoyable afternoon it turned out to be. Gotha is a town of just under 50,000 inhabitants
and the system is five routes but the tracks do not run through its old centre but skirt it on its east and
north sides. Three services start right outside the Hauptbahnhof, the 4 to Tabarz, 1 going 5km towards
Tabarz before turning off onto a short branch only opened in 2002 to Kreiskrankenhaus, plus route 2
to Ostbahnhof which is single track after separating from routes 1 & 4 and finishes running by 19.30
each day. Likewise once routes 1 & 4 are beyond the tram Depot they are single with passing loops at
all stations as all trams have doors only on one side with balloon loops at Termini.

Just the five routes would suggest it is a straightforward system to completely cover but this is far from
the case. The Kreiskrankenhaus branch junction is a triangle and the west to south side is only
traversed by a maximum of 5 pairs a day, most at very unsociable hours, Route 3 has only 2 pairs a day
SSuX and one pair at weekends and is the only scheduled use of a different curve, route 6 is a 2.4km
shuttle connecting two villages with the Tabarz line from an arrival/departure point on the east curve
at Waltershausen Gleisdreieck [Triangle] whereas route 4 calls at platforms on its south side. So
complete coverage of the east curve is only possible at the start and end of services, plus and this is
the real pain, just one journey a week on a Saturday uses the west to north curve at Waltershausen
Gleisdreieck which runs before any journey from Gotha Town Centre connects into it! Despite these
complications it is currently possible to tick off two of these curves in quick succession SSuX by
catching the 18.23 from Boxberg via Kreiskrankenhaus for a 5 minute connection onto the last route 2
of the day towards Ostbahnhof at Huttenstraße, as this tram then morphs into a route 3 via its rare
curve and all worked successfully on Tuesday 1 November. Full details of all the unusual journeys are
now included in the German EGTRE Tram section. Fares are also awkward as for all Gotha termini you
need a five Thüringen Zones day ticket costing €13.30, however your traveller worked out and DB
Reisecentrum staff confirmed that upping to a seven zone ticket for €18.30 meant that all of Erfurts’
trams plus the return DB train fare between the two were also covered for a full days travel.
Route 4 journeys to Tabarz go through open countryside for many kms after the Kreiskrankenhaus
branch junction, and then runs close to or parallel with DB’s branch from Fröttstädt to Friedrichroda
for around 2.5km after Waltershausen Gleisdreieck. This journey reminded your scribe of the Lodz
rural trams to Lutomiersk and Ozorkow in Poland, [apart from this being a much smoother ride....] plus
also travelling on an identical second hand soft seated Dueweg GT8 Tram [!] and finally of note is that
the Waltershausen branch twists and turns between streets and in parts is on one side as opposed to
the middle of the road making for an entertaining journey…. All lines are thoroughly recommended.

[483] Germany – Line to reopen for freight south of Hameln
Line 9180 ran from Emmerthal (on the line Hannover – Hameln - Paderborn) to Vorwohle (on the line
between Holzminden and Kreiensen, a distance of 32.5km. The 14.2km section at the northern end
between Emmerthal and Bodenwerder is to be reopened to serve gravel pits with an estimated life of
30 years. Tree removal from the track bed has started, and reconstruction will recommence in Spring
2017. Other traffic is possible: wood in Grohnde or lime in Hehlen. The railway is also considered
suitable as a museum railway, in which context Verein Dampfeisenbahn Weserbergland at Stadthagen
previously operated on the line.

[484] Germany – Part of line 6759 up for sale
Line 6759 runs from Templin to Britz. Britz to Joachimsthal remains open with passenger services
operated by ODEG. From Joachimsthal to Templin closed to passenger services in December 2006,
despite being refurbished in 2004 but two or three freight trains per week run from Joachimsthal to
Milmersdorf supplying industrial gases. Milmersdorf to Templin is OOU. DB Netz wish to sell the
25.9km Templin to Joachimsthal section or if that fails, close it.

[485] Germany - Tram tour of Munchen 1 and 2 April 2017
Gisbert Siede is running a two day tram tour which aims to cover as much of the Munchen tram
system as possible. For more information email [email protected]

[486] Germany/Netherlands – Service partially resumes between Groningen and Leer

Services between Groningen and Leer have been interrupted since December 2015 due to damage to
the Friesenbrücke bridge across the Ems river following a collision, which is yet to be repaired by DB.
Following signal modifications cross-border train services between the Dutch city of Groningen and the
German town of Leer partially restarted on 30 October. Trains from Groningen can now reverse at
Weener station in Germany. The bus service, which operates between Groningen and Leer, will
continue as a two-hourly service, with a 55-minute journey time. The bridge should be repaired and
reopened for train operations in 2020.

[487] Germany/Poland – Cross border freight line reopens soon
The cross border line from Węgliniec to Horka has been the subject of two improvement projects. The
Poles completed Węgliniec to Bielawa Dolna over a year ago. Now the German part from Bielawa
Dolna across the border to Horka is expected to open 25 November, allowing freights to stop going via
Gorlitz. The announcement does not say the German side has electrification works completed,
probably because the rebuild and electrification of the line from Hoyerswerda to Horka is not finished.

[488] Italy - 30 trains from Agrigento to Porto Empedocle
A German tour operator has commissioned a package of historic train routes on the "Ferrovia dei
Templi". This is the marketing name for the non-passenger line from Agrigento to Porto Empedocle
from where passengers can walk to the UNESCO World Heritage Archaeological Park. Passengers will
be carried by DMU ALn 668.1600 in its original livery in the months of October and November 2016
and February, March and April 2017. There will be 30 journeys capable of transporting more than
3,000 tourists in total. For those who have travelled the line on other special trains it should be noted
that with effect from 11 March 2016, excursion trains to Porto Empedocle were extended 0.7 km to
Porto Empedocle Succarsale, which was closed in 1978. The "Ferrovia dei Templi" is one of the routes
included in the project "Binari senza tempo" with which Fondazione FS has given a new life to lines
that are no longer used for local public transport service.

[489] Italy - Andora to San Lorenzo closes to be replaced by 18.825km deviation from new timetable
This part of the Genova-Ventimiglia line closed after traffic on 1 November 2016. It will be replaced by
a deviation which reduces the distance by about 1200 metres. The following stations were closed:
Andora (replaced by station of same name on deviation), Cervo-San Bartolomeo (no replacement),
Diano Marina (replaced by station of same name on deviation), Imperia Oneglia (replaced by Imperia
on deviation) and Imperia Porto Maurizio (no replacement). The deviation will open 11 December
2016. There is 18.825 km of new track of which 16.224km is in tunnel. Three maps from the project
description are given below (e-BLNI only).

[490] Portugal – Minho line to be electrified
Infraestruturas de Portugal announced on 19 October that it had signed a contract for electrification of
the 42.7km Nine – Viana do Castelo section of the route between Porto and Valença on the Spanish
border. The contract also covers the construction of 750 m passing loops at Midões and Barroselas,
and remodelling of station track layouts at Barcelos, Barroselas, Darque and Viana do Castelo.
Electrification of the Minho line will also enable CP to introduce tilting Alfa Pendular services to

[491] Romania - București ring to reopen?
The București Ring (Centura Feroviara a București in Romanian) is 68km long and encircles the city, but
only a section in the northwest is open to passenger trains. The remainder is sparsely used by freight
trains, but is in good condition and there has been talk of reopening the Centura to passenger services
for years. Now it seems that this is going to happen with a three phase scheme, although with
elections coming up there is a possibility that some of this is electioneering. The map (e-BLNI only)
makes the description below much clearer. Gara, by the way, simply means ‘station’.
Stage 1 is to start services from București Gara Nord to Gara Progresul in February 2017. This is the
entire western section of the Centura not currently open. At the same time services will also start from
Pantelimon to Gara Progresul via the western Centura, and these will run via București Triaj using
currently freight only connections.
Stage 2 is to link the metro stations at Berceni and Preciziei via the Centura by the end of 2017.
Berceni metro is the southern terminus of metro line 2 and is several km from the Centura, but there is
an existing freight line nearby which they would presumably use to connect to the Centura and run
trains west to Gara Progresul, then round the western Centura to București Vest from where another
existing freight line can be taken eastwards to Preciziei metro station, which is the western end of line

3. The existing freight lines do not lend themselves to this arrangement and some new connections
will be needed, hence the €5M budget.
Stage 3 is the complete reopening of the eastern Centura from the new TN Berceni station to
Pantelimon, scheduled for November 2018.

Extensive infrastructure works are apparently needed, and the budget is €15M. Metro line 4 will be
extended from Gara Nord to Gara Progresul which will become a 'multimodal hub'. There has been
persistent speculation that the river bridge at Grădiștea will be rebuilt and the direct line from
București Gara Progresul to Giurgiu (and Bulgaria) reopened, but this was not mentioned in the
announcement and its status as a project is unclear.
[492] Russia (European) – Moskva metro expands
A northern extension of metro Line 10 was inaugurated on 16 September. The 5.6 km extension takes
the Lyublinsko-Dmitrovskaya line from Marina Roscha to Petrovsko-Razumovskaya, with intermediate
stations at Butyrskaya and Fonvizinskaya. Cross-platform interchange with Line 9 is provided at
Petrovsko-Razumovskaya, while Fonvizinskaya offers interchange to the monorail line’s Ulitsa
Malashenkova station. A further 8 km, three-station extension north from Petrovsko-Razumovskaya to
Seligerskaya is planned to open in 2017. This will include a new depot at Likhobory. More extensions
are planned in 2025-30. Later this year a western extension of Line 8 from Park Pobedy to Ramenki is
due to open, along with the second ring line’s first phase from Delovoy Tsentr to Petrovsky Park.

[493] Slovakia – Notes from a recent trip (part 1)
As part of the Bratislava - Zilina line upgrade, the bridge over the river Vah, just south of Trencin
station is being replaced with a new one around 200 metres further north, resulting in a significant
realignment of around one kilometre. When viewed in late September, the bridge and associated
construction works were complete but no tracks had been laid. The original route has been singled.
The afternoon service taken on the threatened line from Úľany nad Žitavou to Zlaté Moravce was
formed of a railcar and trailer, and was well filled on leaving Úľany but, by the time the train reached
the terminus, less than a dozen people remained. A late arrival meant that the booked 12 minute turn
round at Zlaté Moravce was cut to 5 minutes. Possibly as a result of this some passengers joined the
railcar before it dropped off its trailer, so your reporter took advantage of this and stayed on board.
The railcar ran up to the level crossing north of the station, on the line towards Kozárovce, before
returning to pick up the remaining customers, leaving the trailer behind. Zlaté Moravce is on the line
from Lužianky to Kozárovce, which no longer has passenger services. The line from Lužianky was
observed to be still used. The single car return service carried no more than a dozen passengers at any
There are a few weekday only services that run from the east into Bratislava Nové Mesto via the two
routes described in EGTRE. The single early morning service from Galanta (no return working) was well
filled but not overly busy, and a lot of passengers alighted at Bratislava Vajnory with some waiting,
presumably, for the next train into Bratislava hlavná stanica. A few passengers alighted at Předměstí
and the remainder, around thirty or so, stayed on to Nové Mesto.

A class 240 on a Galanta service on arrival at Bratislava Nové Mesto. The curved windows on these locomotives gives them the
nickname of ‘goldfish bowls’.

Your reporter then caught the first train into the main station, Bratislava hlavná stanica, where he had
a five minute connection onto a service to Bratislava Rača. The train was three minutes late arriving
into hlavná stanica and he had no idea which platform his train left from so things didn't look good. He
happened to be standing on the train next to some railway staff, one of whom had been the guard on
his earlier service, and they appeared to be anxious to leave the train as quickly as possible. Taking a
gamble that they were looking to catch the train that he wanted, he followed them and, fortunately,
he was proved to be correct and so made it by the skin of his teeth! As a result of all this he managed
to get to Bratislava Rača in time to catch the last of the two services from there into Nové Mesto, and
this was even quieter than the one from Galanta. Both services were hauled by class 240 electrics. To
round off what had been a productive early morning, tram 2 was taken back to Bratislava hlavná

[494] Sweden - Citybanan opening date announced
The 6 km Citybanan cross-city tunnel under Stockholm is to open at 05.00 on 10 July 2017, national
infrastructure manager Trafikverket announced on 3 November.
The north-south link, which has been under construction since 2009, is intended to carry the capital’s
suburban services, doubling rail capacity through the city. This will enable more inter-city, regional
passenger and freight trains to use the existing main line through Stockholm Central, including the
two-track ‘Wasp’s Waist’ immediately south of the station which is the busiest railway in the country.
According to Trafikverket, the Stockholm Pendeltåg commuter services currently account for around
60% of the traffic on this section of line.
Citybanan will run from Stockholms Södra to Tomteboda serving two new underground stations at
Stockholm City and Odenplan which will provide interchange to the metro. Odenplan will replace the
existing Karlberg station, which will close when the suburban services are diverted into the new
tunnel. The project also includes the building of 1.4km of new line to the south of the capital and
flyovers at Alvsjö and Tomteboda, which will help to segregate the suburban trains from long-distance
The interchange from the deep-level platforms at Stockholm City to the metro hub at T-Centralen will
be much more convenient than from the existing suburban platforms 13-16 on the west side of the
main station.

[495] Switzerland – Changes at St Gallen
There is a project taking place to link the Trogenerbahn (Table 859) and the Appenzellerbahnen (Table
855) and build a new tunnel to eliminate a rack section. The first stage of this work will see the
Appenzellerbahnen platforms at St Gallen close after traffic on 10 December and from the next day
their trains will run to the Trogenerbahn station which has had a second platform added. This station
will later be a through station but will initially be operated as two terminals. This will see the last 104
metres of the Appenzellerbahnen into St Gallen close and will reduce the distance overall by 26

[496] Switzerland – Nätschen station moved and a new deviation
[BLNI 1269.470] Further information, received on 13 November, is that the earthworks for the
deviation appeared complete but there was no track or catenary present yet. The existing line is
expected to remain in use until around October 2017. This was included in e-BLNI but was too late for
the printed edition.

[497] Switzerland – New Years Eve tram diversions in Zürich

Every New Years Eve in Zürich there is a large fireworks display with street closures resulting in some
line closures after 9 PM and the use of several otherwise non passenger pieces of track.
Line 2: curve at Paradeplatz from line 2 to lines 6/7/8/13 (one direction only, Sihlstrasse to
Stockerstrasse via Paradeplatz), curve at Stauffacher from line 8 to line 2 (one direction only; Bahnhof
Selnau to Bezirksgebäude via Stauffacher curve)
Line 8: Starts/terminates at Bahnhof Enge (line 6), this will use the non-passenger curve after
Tunnelstrasse from line 6 to line 8 in both directions
Line 9: Starts/terminates at Tiefenbrunnen (line 2) and uses the non-passenger curve after Opernhaus
to join line 15 and then the non-passenger curve at Römerhof to join line 8 before a final non
passenger curve at Kunsthaus (8 to 9) to gain its normal route
Line 11: Coming from Rehalp will be diverted to Tiefenbrunnen and uses the Opernhaus curve
mentioned above in both directions
Line 17: Coming from Werdhölzli will be diverted after Sihlquai to turn and then run to Bahnhofquai
and take up its return route. This includes a non-passenger curve to get from lines 4/13/17 to line 11
just before Bahnhofquai and the non-passenger section of track along Neumühlequai
A detailed track map: Route map at:

[498] Switzerland - Sissach-Läufelfingen
[BLNI 1269.472] Another source says that it is certainly true that this line is in danger of closing but a
date has not been set. The problem is that the Cantonal authorities of Solothurn and Basel, who share
the subsidy costs, cannot come to an agreement as to whether replacement by bus or continuing rail
service will be the future option. One suggestion is trains on weekdays stopping early evening and
buses at other times but again nothing has been agreed. Your editor advises anyone who wants to
travel on this line to do so at the first available opportunity.


[499] Argentina – Passenger trains return to Mar del Plata
A milestone was reached in the restoration of passenger services between Buenos Aires and Mar del
Plata on 22 November 2016, when the first test train arrived in Argentina’s seventh-largest city
following the completion of a project to upgrade infrastructure on part of the Roca Line.

Trains to Mar del Plata were suspended last year due to the collapse of a bridge across the Rio Salado

near Guerrero. The 100-year-old bridge has now been replaced by a new 250m-long reinforced

concrete structure. Restoring the line has also involved the renewal of 208km of track with 250,000

new concrete sleepers and 600,000 tonnes of ballast.

Passenger services will resume in December.

[500] Botswana/Mozambique/Zimbabwe – 1500km rail corridor agreed
The governments of Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have agreed to develop a 1500 km mixed-
traffic rail corridor to serve an expanded port at Techobanine, 70 km south of Maputo. Starting at
Francistown in northern Botswana, the route would cross northwards into Zimbabwe, serving
Bulawayo, before running southeast into Mozambique. It would make extensive use of existing lines,

which would be upgraded to handle higher payloads of heavy commodities. The port of Techobanine is
to be expanded significantly to reduce the pressure on Maputo, and a new line would be built to serve
it. As well as carrying coal and other heavy freight, passenger services are expected to be provided
across all three countries under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding. Each government
has agreed to contribute US$200m towards the cost of the project, but it was made clear at the signing
ceremony that the private sector would be expected to take the lead, initially funding a detailed
feasibility study. While the existing railways in the region can currently handle up to around 2 million
tonnes of freight per annum, the tri-national corridor is envisaged to carry up to 12 million tonnes.

[501] Peru – Railway map
The green ones are projected so don't rush to do them!

[502] Tajikistan - New line opens between Dushanbe and Qurghonteppa
The 40.7 km Vahdat – Yovon railway was inaugurated by President Emomali Rahmon on 24 August
completing a 119 km link between the capital Dushanbe and the southern city of Qurghonteppa. The
new route links Tajikistan’s central and southern rail lines, which were previously only connected via a
circuitous 432 km route through neighbouring Uzbekistan. The long distance and poor relations
between the two countries made rail transit impractical. Construction of the link began in 2009,
supported by Chinese loans and with work undertaken by Chinese contractors. The mountainous
terrain required the single track non-electrified line to be significantly longer than a straight-line route.
It has eight bridges with a total length of 683 metres and three tunnels totalling 3543 metres, with the
longest being 2209 metres. The Yovon – Qurghonteppa line has also been rehabilitated. The northern
section of the Tajik rail network remains isolated. A 200 km line has been proposed, but would require
significant engineering works.

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