rogerfarnworth

Tramways in Provence

7 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

In our many trips to Nice and Les Alpes Maritimes, my wife and I have seen a significant amount of engineering works, bridges, viaducts and tunnels all on lines which were neither part of the PLM network of standard gauge railways, nor part of the general metre-gauge network. It turns out that there were a significant numbe of lines operated by two main tramway companies in Provence, Tramways de les Alpes Maritime (TAM) and tramways de Nice et du Littoral (TNL).

These tramways ran on metre-gauge tracks but had a loading gauge not much wider than the track-gauge. In many places they ran alongside roads or withing the highway itself, but often they deviated away from the highway or their own formation.

The one which first drew our attention was the Sospel to Menton Tramway which was operated by the TNL. This is the story:

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/the-sospel-to-menton-tramway-revisited-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-51

There were two different tram networks in the Nice area. The TAM network (Tramways of the Alpes-Maritimes) is part of the Chemin de Fee due Sud de la France. The other network was the Tramway Company of Nice and Littoral (TNL). This post covers the history of the entire TNL network. The other posts will cover specific lines on the TAM and TNL networks. 

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/the-network-of-the-tramways-of-nice-and-the-littoral-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-53.

As part of my birthday present this year (2018) my wife has given me two books written in French about the Trams of Nice. I am enjoying working out what the books say! This post relates to the relatively unusual practice of regular transport of goods on a tram network, which was common practice in Nice.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/goods-services-on-the-network-of-the-tramways-of-nice-and-the-littoral-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-60

The tram from Vence to Cagnes-sur-Mer was part of the TAM network. I have already posted on this tram elsewhere, but I have included it on this thread for completeness. 

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/tramway-between-vence-and-cagne-sur-mer-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-17

Grasse was at one stage full of different rail transport. Two tramways, one from Cagnes-sur-Mer and one from Cannes approached the town from the south. A PLM branchline also linked Grasse to Cannes. There was a funicular railway linking the PLM (SNCF) railway station to the town centre, and there was the Chemins de Fer du Sud de la France Central Var line crossing the town on its way between Nice and Meyrargues.

This next post covers the first part of the story of the TAM tramway between Cagnes-sur-Mer and Grasse:

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/the-tramway-between-grasse-and-cagnes-sur-mer-part-1-chemin-de-fer-de-provence-20

The second half of my blog on the TAM tramway between Grasse and Cagnes-sur-Mer:

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/the-tramway-between-grasse-and-cagnes-sur-mer-part-2-chemin-de-fer-de-provence-21

Edited by rogerfarnworth

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Posted (edited)

There was another tramway which ran from Grasse, this one went to Cannes. It was not run by either the TAM or the TNL. Here is its story:

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/tramway-between-grasse-and-cannes-chemin-de-fer-de-provence-22

The TNL built a line from Nice to Levens, it extended the urban line that went from Nice to Saint-André-de-la-Roche.

This is the first of two posts that focus on the line and covers the length from Nice to Tourrette-Levens.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/the-nice-to-levens-tramway-part-1-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-54

This next post focusses on the remaining length of the tramway route to Levens.The first half of this post follows the tramway that might have been built via Aspremont and Saint-Blaise to Levens. It was certainly planned.

The second half of the blog focuses on the actual route along the M19 to Levens

I hope you like it!

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/03/27/the-nice-to-levens-tramway-part-2-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-56/

Edited by rogerfarnworth

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Reading a book in French by Jose Banuado, I have discovered more about the Sospel to Menton tramway.
 
The Menton-Sospel line is the only one in the TNL network to have seen steam locomotives.
 
 
This post builds on previous ones, particularly ...
 

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It is a while since I posted about the tramways in Nice. I have been concentrating on a series of posts about the metre-gauge lines in Kenya and Uganda. That series of posts is now complete and I can focus once again on the South of France metre-gauge tramways and railways.
 
The TNL grew in size in the years before the first world war but had great difficulty in getting new lines authorised and built
 
 
This post focusses on the years immediately before the First World War. It was at this time that the network reached its fullest extent and it was the time when it was both in its best condition and carrying the greatest number of passengers. After the First World War things began to change and competition from other forms of transport increased.

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This post covers a short-lived tramway which left the Nice to Digne line of the Chemin de Fer de Provence at Plan du Var. It travelled up the Valley of the River Vesubie as far as St. Martin Vesubie. The line lasted no more than 20 years but was effective in opening up the valley of the Vesubie to tourism and vastly aided the agrarian economy. The post below has also been included in the story of the Nice to Digne metre-gauge main line.
 
 
Tramway services left Plan du Var Station travelling North and diverged from the Nice to Digne line before reaching the Vesubie River. The images below are old postcards of the location of the junction and show the development of the site over a number of years. Initially a stone arch bridge took the road over the Vesubie, but when this failed it was replaced by the concrete arch bridge visible in some of the pictures.

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This post covers another short-lived tramway which provided a service up the valley of l'Esteron from Pont Charles Albert over the River Var to Roquesteron, a distance of more than 20 kilometres.
 
 
06pont-charles-albert03.jpg
Before the tramway was constructed the Charles Albert Bridge was a suspension bridge (built by Marc Seguin in the mid-19th Century) [2] but this bridge was not designed to accommodate tramway loading. In 1913 it was rebuilt to accommodate the trams, just as was necessary with the Pont de la Mescla on the Tinée tramway. The replacement structure had six spans of over 30 metres in concrete built by the company Thorrand. In the foreground of the image immediately below, there is the Pont-Charles Albert stop and the lime kilns at La Lauziere overseen by the perched village of La Roquette sur Var, © Yann Duvivier. [6] This 'new' bridge was replaced in the mid-20th Century by the one which is in use today.img_20180712_201653_126.jpg?w=625

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Another of the branch tramways left the Nice to Digne line close to La Mescla Station and travelled up the valley of La Tinee.
 
 
 
I first looked at this tramway in 2013. It was only a short blog recognising the existence of the line in the valley.
 
 
This line was 26.5 Km long and connected villages in the Tinée valley to Nice to Digne line. Like other lines of the Tramways Alpes Maritimes (TAM), the electric current was single phase. The civil engineering works (bridges, tunnels) were executed by the Department.
 
The line was built in 1911 and operation started on 1st April 1912. Landslides affected the operation of the line in the early months. The original opening was delayed from January to April because of landslides and on 2nd April a further landslide affected several hundred metres of track and destroyed power lines.
 
The line ceased operations in 1931.
 
 
The available imagery from the time of the tramway is limited in extent and is supplemented by images from later dates.

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