• Metre Gauge Tramways in Provence - the TAM and the TNL

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

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  by rogerfarnworth
 
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 number 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 within 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:

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Last edited by rogerfarnworth on Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by george matthews
 
There used to be many roadside tramways. I can remember seeing some in the 1950s. That was the time when they began to be phased out. There used to be many in Belgium. Most of them have long gone, though a few have been expanded into town tramway systems. Brussel used to have two different tramway systems: one was standard gauge, the other was metre gauge, derived from the SNCV systems. I am not sure whether the metre gauge routes are still there. The rural routes have definitely vanished. I remember riding one in a rural area to reach a youth hostel, perhaps in 1958. There were also several metre gauge lines in the Netherlands. But there too many have been discontinued. There were also some in Italy. I don't know whether any survive. Also in Austria.

As we abandon the burning of oil, to prevent climate change, maybe some of these systems might be revived. Even in Britain, where tramways were all abandoned in the 1960s (except Blackpool), a few systems have come back. But none of them metre gauge. In Britain narrow gauge lines were more likely to be two foot or three foot - as in the Isle of Man. And sometimes 3ft 6 in, as in many British colonies - and Bournemouth.

France has had a change of policy. In the 1950s their policy was to abandon tramways, but after the energy crisis in the 1960s, and accompanying their policy of massive nuclear power, tramways were again favoured and many new ones have been started. All standard gauge.
  by rogerfarnworth
 
Hi George. Thank you for your comments.


There were two different tram networks in the Nice area. The TAM network was an arm of the Chemin de Fer of the South of France. The other network was the Tramway Company of Nice and Littoral (TNL). I have already posted on the Sospel at Menton Tramway which was part of the TNL. This post covers the history of the entire TNL network.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/20 ... rovence-53" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by rogerfarnworth
 
Yes, NorthWest it is. The Sospel to Menton line had to climb quite a height and gradients had to be smoothed! The Caramel viaduct was built at the insistence of the military. I think the philosophy was that it formed a significant 'weak point' in the line which could be destroyed easily.
  by rogerfarnworth
 
Grasse was at one stage full of different rail transport. Two TAM 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/20 ... rovence-20
  by rogerfarnworth
 
I have already posted this elsewhere, but for the sake of completeness, this post was written when thinking about the coastal line leaving Toulon for Saint-Raphael.

It relevance here is that it focusses on the tramway system in Toulon. A further post about Toulon will be required at some stage to complete the story of the whole network.

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  by rogerfarnworth
 
Grasse also enjoyed a funicular railway linking the town centre with the PLM railway station. This post provides details of the funicular and also of plans which have been made but not yet implemented(if they ever will be) for a new funicular. .....

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  by rogerfarnworth
 
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/20 ... rovence-54" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by rogerfarnworth
 
Just two weeks ago, I finished a blog on the TNL tramway line from Tourette-Levens to Levens. As part of the blog, I have used what railway modellers sometimes call 'modeller's license' ... the freedom to use our imagination.

The first half of the blog 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 current route along the M19.

I hope you like it!

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com...de-provence-56" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by rogerfarnworth
 
As part of my birthday present this year 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/20 ... rovence-60" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by george matthews
 
rogerfarnworth wrote:As part of my birthday present this year 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/20 ... rovence-60" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
And also in Dresden where trams were used to connect factories. I don't know whether the practice survived reunification.