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10th January 2015

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Published by membersonly, 2018-05-03 00:42:03

1224i

10th January 2015

INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1224 10 JANUARY 2015

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

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New viaduct over the Axios river under construction on the 21km Idoméni to Polýkastro deviation reported in item [008]

EUROPE
[001] Europe - Offline timetable software
DB discontinued the offline option for the HAFAS timetable software from the start of the new timetable.
This gave times for trains over much of Europe and for those carrying a laptop on their travels was an
invaluable tool in these days when national railway administrations increasingly do not provide paper
timetables. However, the good news is that the HAFAS offline timetable is still available from the Austrian
Railways (ÖBB) website under downloads at the following address:
http://www.oebb.at/en/Planning_your_trip/Timetable/Offline_timetable_version/index.jsp
A downside is that it updates less frequently than the DB version – typically monthly.

The InterRail website offers details of how to download a free app for mobile phones which offers similar
information, also off-line. http://www.interrail.eu/plan-your-trip/rail-planner-app.

[002] France – Line survives flood damage
The long freight line from Auch to Agen which survives on seasonal grain traffic was closed in March 2014
due to flood damage, but repairs were effected in September 2014.

[003] France – Agreement to renovate branches good for Train Touristique de la Vallée du Loir
Southwest of Paris, on the non-electrified line from Paris – Voves – Tours, is Vendôme, from where a
freight line runs west along the valley of the infant Loire, through Thoré la Rochette to Montoire-sur-le-
Loire from where the traffic is grain from the silos owned by the Axéréal company. The line is also used by
the Train Touristique de la Vallée du Loir from Thoré la Rochette through Montoire-sur-le-Loir to reach
Troo, this section of line not seeing freight traffic. However condition of track has led to grain having to be
taken out by trucks (some 2,500 truck movements apparently) and serious curtailment of the operating
season for the heritage railway. The nearby branch from Blois to Villefrancœur has also seen trucks
replacing trains due to condition of track. It seems a deal has been brokered, with the cost of renovation of
the two lines split between RFF, the cereal companies, local authorities and the region. So the future for the
Train Touristique de la Vallée du Loir seems considerably brighter.

[004] France – Calvi station on the move
Corsica: Calvi station is to be re-located on the other side of the last level crossing (PN 26a) thus
shortening the line by approximately the length of the current station.

[005] France - Heritage line to be extended
BLNI 1205.115 reported the expansion plans of the petit train touristique du Haut-Doubs le Coni’fer.
L'Echo du Rail reports that the line is to be extended 2.5km from Les Hôpitaux-Neufs to La Fontaine-
Ronde to Combe-Motta in July 2015.

[006] Germany – News from around the Länder
Bayern: A feasibility study has concluded that re-opening of the Nurnberger Ringbahn from Nürnberg
Nordost to Fürth Hbf would not be justified.
Maxhütte Haidhof – Burglengenfeld. DB has advertised this line for closure or takeover by third parties.
The only remaining customer is Heidelberg Cement at Burglengenfeld which receives occasional block
trains of coal.
Brandenburg: The Pritzwalk – Putlitz service is not guaranteed to run after mid 2016. At the moment it is
operated by a consortium including a local bus company. When bus services are put out to tender in 2016,
this could result in the company losing the contract and the consortium collapsing.
A one year contract for operation of the RB70 Pritzwalk - Putlitz service has been awarded to EGP with five
weekday train pairs and no weekend service. This line has been threatened with closure several times in the
last decade and with a contract for just one year the line must be considered to be still threatened. One to do
in 2015 if you need it.
Hamburg: The current Altona Terminus is to be replaced by a new through station “Altona Nord” some
two kilometres away in the vicinity of the current Diebsteich station. The new station will have 8 tracks –
including 2 for S Bahn services. It is anticipated that there will be turnback facilities e.g. for Westerland
services which currently terminate at Altona. Completion of the project is envisaged for 2023. Auto Zug
loading (if in fact this survives until then) is likely to be transferred to Hamburg Langenfelde sidings. The

current Altona S Bahn station will remain and be refurbished. The project will release land and up to 3500
new homes will be constructed in what will become known as Neue Mitte Altona.
Hessen: Work has started on the Frankenberg (Eder) to Korbach Sud line in connection with the long
awaited and much postponed reopening to passengers.
Wiesbaden Ost – Bad Schwalbach. The City of Wiesbaden has made grants and subsidies available totalling
1m Euro to assist with reopening of this line to tourist trains and ultimately to regular services. Studies on
the bridges and permanent way were under way. There is a garden festival in Bad Schwalbach in 2016
which is helping to provide some incentive for the reopening. Tourist trains have been suspended due to
condition of track and damage to bridges since 2009.
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: Stralsund Hafen - The company responsible for the running of the harbour at
Stralsund has advertised in the European Community journal for tenders for the construction of 2km of new
tracks to serve the Frankenhafen which is located south west of Stralsund Rugendamm station. The new
tracks will be connected to the existing harbour network.
Neubrandenburg - Current access to the Friedland (Meckl) branch is currently via a reversal at
Neubrandenburg Industriegelände. There are plans to install a direct curve of about 400m to eliminate the
reversal and then close the routes into and out of Industriegelände.
Mecklenburgische Bäderbahn, also called the "Molli". The Molli, currently operating between Bad Doberan
and Ostseebad Kühlungsborn, envisages an extension westwards to Rerik and eastwards to Warnemünde.
Rerik is said to be relatively straightforward, but Warnemünde more difficult and more long term. Both
lines have been added to the Federal and Land development plans.
Also it is confirmed that HANS (Hanseatische Eisenbahn GmbH) is operating a daily service on the section
of KBS172 which was threatened with closure (Parchim - Karow (Meckl.) - Inselstadt Malchow). The
timetable is not in the Kursbuch (as is often the case with such lines) but is on the HANS website at
http://www.egp-spnv.de/index.php/fahrplaene-netz/fahrplaene.
Also added to the Federal and Land development plans is rebuilding of Ducherow - Świnoujście (Poland)
and Barth - Zingst (and possibly to Prerow).
Niedersachsen: Lathen – Werlte. This line was opened as a narrow gauge route in 1898 and converted to
standard gauge between 1955 and 1957. Passenger services were withdrawn in 1970 and in 1993 ownership
was transferred to the Emsländische Eisenbahn (EEB). Occasional passenger trains were operated over the
whole route by the Verein Museumseisenbahn Hummelinger Kreisbahn e.V (VMHK) from 2000. These
trains were confined to the Lathen-Ostenwalde section from 2010 due to the poor condition of the track and
all passenger trains were prohibited from 2011 as the track deteriorated further. More recently the VMHK
has operated its railbuses on tourist services in the Wilhelmshaven area. Repairs to the whole line allowed
occasional passenger trains to restart in early 2014, but an accident on the EEB’s other line, Meppen – Essen
(Oldbg) resulted in a passenger train ban being imposed on both lines.
It is hoped to carry out track repairs between Lathen and Werlte in stages, but it is expected that it will be
2016 before passenger trains will operate again over the whole line.
Eystrup – Hoya. Passenger trains laid on for schoolchildren in 2012 were withdrawn in June 2014 and
replaced by buses.
Nordrhein-Westfalen: Menden (Sauerland) to Hemer - Track has finally been lifted on this line which is
likely to be converted into a cycleway. A local politician has stated that this conversion represents the best
hope of reviving the line at some stage in the future.
(Also Niedersachsen) There are plans to reopen part of the Teutoburger Wald Eisenbahn in connection with
a garden festival at Bad Iburg in 2018. A shuttle service between Osnabrück and Bad Iburg is envisaged to

help relieve crowded roads. Quite a large amount of work will be needed as the track, some bridges and
embankments are in poor condition.
Sachsen-Anhalt: Some twelve years after its closure due to condition of track, the Halle-Nietleben to Halle
Dölau line is being proposed for reopening by NASA, the local transport executive. The earliest date for the
reopening (if approved) would be 2017.
On the former Salzwedel to Oebisfelde route, vegetation was cleared on the Salzwedel to Klötze section and
a test train ran on 24 September to see if railbuses could safely run a service over this part of the line.
Schleswig-Holstein: Although there are long term plans for a more direct route from Puttgarden to Lübeck
(possibly involving abandonment of the existing line which serves a number of towns), concern is now
being expressed about the condition of the current Fehmarnsundbrucke (opened in the 1960s) between
Grossenbrode and Struckkamp which is affected by corrosion.
Thüringen The closed section of line from Bretleben to Bad Frankenhausen may be revived for use by
goods trains to serve military establishments.

[007] Germany – Observations from a visit to Southern Germany (Part1)
Gammertingen to Eyach
An overnight stop was required in the small and very quiet town of Gammertingen in order to catch the one
train of the week (or in this case two, as this day was a Friday but a public holiday) covering the connection
to the Landesbahn station at Hechingen. There was a major festival taking place in Stuttgart, which was
presumably the reason why the majority of the dozen or so passengers who joined at the start were wearing
traditional clothes. A large group who got on at Burladingen had already entered into the spirit of the day,
even at 9:30 in the morning. The train was full by the time it arrived at Hechingen, and many of the
passengers were clearly confused by the arrival at the Landesbahn station and required directions from the
driver to the main station, which was just up the hill. The train emptied here but, during the 30 minute
layover a handful of new passengers joined. Immediately upon leaving Hechingen, another connection to
the main line, which is reached by means of a reversal, climbs away to the right. The line to Eyach, when it
reopened to passengers, clearly had a minimal amount of investment, as the intermediate station platforms
are little more than small mounds of earth and stone. There are no station signs, except at Bad Imnau where
the original (showing Bad Jmnau) still survives, and the only indications that a passenger service exists are
small timetables on posts. The only source of freight traffic is at Stetten, where the sidings for a chemical
factory are still in use. An indication of how long ago passenger services ceased is that a fan of through
sidings have effectively replaced the old running line here, with the passenger service using the far north
one. At Mühringen, the station building is now a bar. At Eyach, the passenger service runs into the site of
the Landesbahn station (now, like the others, just a small mound), which is south of, not just the main line
station, but also the road serving it. The lengthy physical connection from the main line onto the branch is to
the west of the station and the old goods shed. An interesting survivor here is the old Landesbahn station
sign. The service was provided by a single HzL unit and was quiet in both directions until a party of around
a dozen joined at Stetten on the return journey.

[008] Greece – Observations in the Thessaloniki area
There are some large holes outside Thessaloniki New Station, presumed to be associated with construction
of the metro station. During track negotiations for the PTG tour it was discovered that the curve connecting
Thessaloniki New Station to the docks line and Thessaloniki Old station was out of use. The Thessaloniki
avoiding line from Ghéfyra to Axiós was also observed to be out of use. It appears the line was not
commissioned after upgrading and is awaiting increased traffic from the port of Athens northwards towards
Macedonia. South of Thessaloniki is the junction station of Platý. The avoiding line which connects the

Athens line with the Flórina line was observed to be thick with rust. It is believed this curve has never been
commissioned. In similar vein, the PTG special train always took the loops through suburban stations, never
the through lines, suggesting that these too had never been commissioned. East of Flórina is a triangle
giving access to the line to Néos Káfkasos. This station is
close to the Macedonian border and was part of a through route to Kremenica and Bitola in Macedonia until
the service was withdrawn. In 2005 the line was rebuilt, then left unused apart from the passage of three
special trains. The PTG tour took the west to north curve, but overhanging vegetation forced the train to
reverse off this curve onto the east to north curve before continuing north. It was quickly clear that several
years of shrub growth needed pruning.

At times the branches came through the windows and the side of
the train was scraped quite severely. The loco itself accumulated a
considerable amount of vegetation. Mesonisio station is still intact,
as are the concrete shelters which mark the location of the minor
stations on the way to Néos Káfkasos. Néos Káfkasos itself had
several sidings and a run down station building. The refurbished
line continues towards the Macedonian border. BLNI 1204.099
reported the issuing of tender documents for the reconstruction of
the section in Macedonia. The line from Amýnteo to Kozáni has
now been truncated south of Ptolemaida by the extension of
opencast mining for lignite. The PTG tour was going to Ptolemaida,
but unfortunately the inspection vehicle sent down ahead of the tour
found a section of track washed away, leading to a late refusal. The
line is considered out of use.
Considerable sums of EU money are being spent on the Polýkastro
to Idoméni bypass line. This is on the international route from
Thessaloniki to Gevgelija and Skopje in Macedonia. After
Polýkastro the line crosses the river and wends slowly through a
constricted gorge to emerge on a plain near Idoméni, which is the Greek border station. A 21km deviation is
being constructed from Polýkastro through the mountains east of the river, crossing the river and existing
line on a very long viaduct before sweeping round to run parallel with the existing line into Idoméni. This
section of the line appeared largely complete, though the southern end near Polýkastro was obviously much
further behind. When complete the scenic gorge section will presumably be abandoned.

[009] Hungary – Threatened lines list and a reopening
Proactive members may wish to ensure they have griced the following lines, considered to be at risk of
closure. Most have been previously mentioned as threatened. Countrywide, a 4% overall service reduction
is being considered. 4 Esztergom-Kertváros–Almásfüzitő, 5 Székesfehérvár–Komárom, 14 Pápa–Csorna,
23 Zalaegerszeg–Rédics, 45 Székesfehérvár–Sárbogárd, 47 Sásd–Komló, 78 Balassagyarmat–Ipolytarnóc,
87 Eger–Szilvásvárad, 98 Abaújszántó–Hidasnémeti, 103 Karcag–Tiszafüred, 114 Mátészalka–Csenger, 121
Mezőhegyes–Újszeged, 142 Lajosmizse–Kecskemét, 146 Kunszentmárton–Lakitelek, 147 Szentes–
Orosháza.
The start of the new timetable saw local services return to the Magyarbóly – Beli Manastir (Croatia) line

[010] Hungary - Székesfehérvár station engineering works
From 14 December 2014 the station building was closed and tickets sold outside from portakabins. While
the station is reconstructed there will be temporary platforms on the freight lines beyond the station, reached

by a long walkway with roof and side walls. The station should reopen in autumn 2015 and full
reconstruction should be complete in February 2016. The work should dramatically improve line speeds in
the station area.

[011] Italy - Variante di Modena opens
A new 8.5km deviation has opened west of Modena between Rubiera and Modena and the old route on the
Linea tradizionale has closed. The last train to use the original route was train 2067 from Voghera to
Bologna Centrale on the evening of 29 November. The Mayors of Rubiera and Modena joined the train at
Rubiera and fireworks greeted the train as it passed along the section to be closed. The new connections
were ready by 16:00 on 30 November when the first train ran over the variante. Three kilometres east of
Rubiera the variante heads off north east passing the new freight terminal of Marzaglia, passing through a
1.9km tunnel and forming a triangular junction with the Modena to Verona railway, though the south eastern
junction is not far from Modena station. The abandoned section of railway will be developed for housing.

[012] Italy – Two lines reopen after engineering work
Timetable 283 from Siena – Grosseto has now had the storm damaged section between Buonconvento and
Montepescali repaired and trains resumed from 18 October 2014, exactly one year after closure. Meanwhile
the closure of 311 Avezzano – Roccasecca due to condition of track on 9 September 2013 has ended and
trains resumed 1 October 2014 with six train pairs Monday to Saturday and two on Sundays and Holidays.

[013] Luxembourg – future developments
Apparently it is proposed to withdraw the Thionville-Belval-Longwy service from December 2015 but, as
always, opposition could change this within the next 12 months. One to do in 2015 if you need the line.
South of Luxembourg Gare, Howald station is to be rebuilt and reopened.
Luxembourg-Sandweiler-Oetrange will be closed for engineering work from 15 February to 12 December
2015, so everything must take the southern route by Syren.
Luxembourg officials have announced the implementation plan for LuxTram. "The construction of the tram
is one of the main priorities of the government. The initial project has evolved and the line that connects
Findel via Luxembourg City to the Cloche d'Or will be quickly realised" said Minister Bausch. The
technology used will allow trams to travel from the central station to the Red Bridge without overhead
power lines, respecting the urban landscape and historical heritage of the city. Outside of these stretches,
overhead power lines will be used (the greater expense can be justified within the city); the power will be
provided by on-tram batteries which are charged at each tram stop. The initial vision of the LuxTram project
was to link the Gare Centrale with LuxExpo; the current vision is to extend the concept in both directions, so
that it will link the Cloche d'Or to Findel, via Howald, Bonnevoie, Gare Centrale, Centre Hamilius, Place de
l'Etoile, Red Bridge and LuxExpo. Work should start in 2015 with implementation in stages up to 2021.
In parallel with the start of tram roadworks in Luxembourg City, the government plans to start another major
project: the construction of a railway station in Pfaffenthal under the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge (red
bridge) connected by a funicular to the Place de l'Europe behind the Kirchberg conference centre, 30 metres
above. The aim is that the funicular train and tram line open at the same time, planned for (at the earliest)
2018. The purpose of this train station will be to improve rail connection to Kirchberg. It will make life
easier especially for commuters arriving by train from the north. They will no long need to travel to
Luxembourg Gare before doubling back by bus or the future tram in order to finally reach the business
district. The station will also benefit those from the south and Arlon, in Belgium. Trains coming from these
areas routinely terminate at Luxembourg Gare. Once the new station is open they will continue as far as the
station under the red bridge.

Luxembourg Gare by night with Christmas market outside. Fewer trains will start and end here when the new station in Pfaffenthal is
opened.

The only commuters not able to take advantage of the new station, will be those travelling from Trier. This
is due to the fact that only trains passing by Syren (the southern route between Wasserbillig, Oetrange and
Luxembourg Gare, about one per hour currently) will be able to continue to the new station. As for the train
route originally planned from Kirchberg passing by Findel, the minister, without saying so explicitly, made
it clear that this project is for now at least, postponed indefinitely.

[014] Poland - A member gets his rare curves done and does some trams (Part 1)
On the basis of > markers in on line PDF’s supporting IBSE Telegram advising of a short term odd day use
of a very rare curve near Tłuszcz, [pronounced Twhoosh], a weekend was selected to coincide with Table
608 PDF showing one Sierpc – Tłuszcz train booked via the Legionowo avoider on only Monday 17
November (mentioned in BLNI 1220. Ed.).
Arriving in Warszawa late on Saturday 15 November gave time for some trams on the Sunday morning
before heading for Warszawa Wileńska for a local KM train to get to Tłuszcz in time for the 11:41 to Sierpc.
This Warszawa station had changed out of all recognition since last visited in May 2000 as it is now all
underneath a large shopping centre. Much upgrading work was in evidence on line 610, all this in addition
to the current closure with complete bus replacement beyond Tłuszcz towards Białystok, even no TLK
services at present, plus the link to/from Warszawa Rembertów is currently disconnected and de-electrified.

Once at Tłuszcz it could be seen from the station footbridge that these odd diversions were not as might be
assumed related to work on the usual passenger curve, but down to a blockage at the eastern end of the
station throat preventing access from the Depot [in the fork of the line to Ostrołęka] to the normal tracks.
This Depot is in effect the only reason why a passenger service is still running on 609 as this is only used by
Kolej Mazoweckie DMU’s to and from this, their main Depot and the Nasielsk – Sierpc – Płock services
they work on. A class SA135 single car railbus duly appeared alongside a changed platform for just the two
enthusiasts to get on, and duly took the exceedingly rare east to south curve Line 513 of 3.2km length. With
no reversing allowed at the south junction it was forced to continue 16km on the freight line towards Pilawa
to the first passing loop at Pustelnik, where after a 10 minute reversal it returned towards Tłuszcz to use the
south to west curve to regain its normal route and call at Krusze. This 6km point to point journey had been
extended to 39km and taken 56 minutes as opposed to the more usual 6-8! To your writers knowledge the
east to south curve has never had a timetabled passenger service in his 20 years of travelling to Poland, but
he does recall some time ago EGTRE listed staff train timings which at least one BLS member caught , his
service not stopping at Tłuszcz station on its return but taking him direct to the Depot!

[015] Romania – Three lines lose service
The timetable change of 14 December 2014 saw three lines lose their passenger services.
Timetable 205 Bǎbeni – Alunu. On 28 July ownership of this line was transferred from the district of
Vâlcea to SC Energetic Oltenia S. A., the power plant operator who use the coal from Alunu and Berbeşti. It
seems likely that the coal traffic was much more profitable than the passenger service, which probably got in
the way. The Bǎbeni – Alunu railway was built in three stages from 1982 to 1987, with trains running from
1984. The subsoil is apparently unstable and prone to slippage and after a freight train derailment in 2005
the line was closed for several months. An extension of the line to Seciurile was begun in 1987. Seciurile
(shown on some maps as Seciuri) is the end of a lengthy freight line from Târgu Cǎrbuneşti. This project
was abandoned in 1990.
Timetable 309 Oradea - Băile Felix. This branch reopened in 2010 and was then extended by 3km to
Cordău, though the extension only lasted until early 2013 (see BLNI 1181.126). The line used to continue
all the way to Holod, but despite rumours of reopening this line is overgrown and out of use. There may be a
possibility of summer only trains from Oradea to Băile Felix which is a major thermal spa resort. Otherwise
the last trains were the 11:25 ex Oradea and 14:25 ex Baile Felix on Saturday 13 December.
The decision by Russian Railways to suspend services to several neighbouring countries for one year has
led to withdrawal of the București – Moskva sleeper service thereby causing what is hopefully a temporary
loss of services over the (Dorneşti -) Vicşani CFR - Vadul Syret UZ (- Chernivtsi) cross border line.

[016] Serbia - Changes from new timetable
Table I: Kikinda - Jimbolia (Romania) still has no trains (closed from 01 September 2014).
No services on table 33 Subotica - Senta - Banatsko Miloševo or table 34 Horgoš – Kanjiža.
Also the service into Kosovo between Zvečan and Kosovska Mitrovica Sever does not appear in the ŽS
planner (whereas it did last year).

[017] Switzerland - Mendrisio to Stabio reopens
This former freight line has now been upgraded and opened for passenger trains on 14 December 2014. The
line will eventually continue over the border into Italy where it will take to new build tracks until joining the
former passenger line from Porto Ceresio to Varese near Arcisate. No date as yet for opening this section
as, unsurprisingly, the Italian construction work is behind schedule.

REST OF THE WORLD

[018] Canada – News from British Columbia
Vancouver, BC: in a further twist to the Arbutus line story (see BLNI1211.229), CP has placed adverts in
local papers saying that although it values the land at CAD400 million the company would be willing to sell
to the City Council for CAD100 million. The Council is understood to be offering only CAD20 million, and
has launched a legal challenge to prevent CP doing any further work to render the line usable.
Vancouver Island, BC: Promised funding for infrastructure renewal is still not forthcoming, and due to
condition of the tracks Southern Railway in early November suspended the remaining freight workings
between Duncan, Nanaimo and Parksville, leaving only local trip workings serving North Nanaimo and
Wellcox Yard. The centenary of Qualicum Beach station had been locally celebrated on 6 August; restored
in the 1990s, the building is owned by the Island Corridor Foundation, which leases it to the Town Council.

[019] Egypt - ‘Lost train’ found after eight years will return to Cairo
Whether it was a runaway train or simply a train to nowhere, no one can quite agree. But, for now at least,
one thing is clear: a “lost” locomotive stranded for years in the middle of the Egyptian desert is finally back
on track. The yarn begins in 1996, when Egypt’s railway authorities opened a line to connect remote parts of
the country’s Western Desert with a port on the eastern Red Sea coast. But the service was far from smooth,
with the desert’s shifting sands often covering its tracks, making maintenance expensive. So the railway was
forced to close. According to a private Egyptian broadsheet, one of the railway’s trains disappeared soon
thereafter. Metal thieves had seized the opportunity to steal hundreds of tons of railway tracks, leaving the
train abandoned in the desert, its whereabouts forgotten. After eight years of reconnaissance, AMAY’s story
continues, the runaway train has finally been found. According to the government, the train may have been
stranded on a railway without rails, but it was never lost. In 2006, the authorities tried to reunite the engine
with the main network, but that year there were severe mountain floods which left the tracks and the plan
adrift. About 150 kilometres of track was then stolen by thieves. But the train itself was always under the
watchful eye of the state – unable to move, but sitting safely in Kharga station on the far west of the line. An
online video of an abandoned railway engine – seemingly filmed by disgruntled residents of the Western
Desert, and uploaded as early as 2011 – appears to corroborate the story. But wherever the train ended up,
there is greater clarity on its new destination. According to the ministry, a private haulage company has won
a £2m tender to lug the engine back to Cairo by lorry.

[020] South Africa - Intercity train services cut
In an official press statement on 27 November, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa)
announced drastic curtailment in South African long-distance passenger train schedules. The entire service
north of Pretoria – via Polokwane (formerly Pietersburg) to Musina – has been discontinued, as has that
running east through Witbank, Middelburg, Belfast and Nelspruit to Komatipoort. Trains conveying
“tourist” and ‘economy” class between Johannesburg and Durban no longer run on Mondays and
Wednesdays. The Wednesday trains between Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth have been scrapped, too. The
recently introduced Premier Class service from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth has been cancelled; also that
to Durban. Apparently the cost coverage on certain lines was “less than 20%”.

[021] USA - Amtrak's Vermonter to serve 'Knowledge Corridor'
On 29 December Amtrak started the Vermonter service to the "Knowledge Corridor," operating along a rail
line that runs parallel to Interstate 91 between New Haven, Connecticut, and the Massachusetts border with
Vermont. The service includes stops in Greenfield and Northampton, Massachusetts. Once station work is

completed the Vermonter service will add a stop in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The added stops due to the
reroute will replace the service provided to the Amherst station, which ceased on 28 December. The
Vermonter operates daily between Washington and St. Albans, Vermont, serving Philadelphia, New York
City, Hartford, Springfield Massachusetts and Essex Junction, Vermont.

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RAILTOURS AND DIVERSIONS OVER NON-PASSENGER LINES

This is provided as a service to members and details must be checked with the organisers.

France – Paris area diversion
On 31 January and 01 February 2015 the line is closed at Le Stade, with Pontoise lines trains diverted from
St Lazare via Houilles and Achères. This means use of a short section of the Grande Ceinture between
Conflans-Fin-d’Oise and Eragny-Neuville not normally used for passenger services.


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