Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways
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NEWS 2009
Updates on information regarding industrial and commercial narrow gauge around Europe.
 
 

This section contains details of narrow gauge sites (industrial/commercial, not preserved) still operating or news regarding closures, confirmed from recent vists, or the railway press. Please feel free to contribute to these pages and so help a broad cross section of railways, and countries to be featured. Click on the thumbnail pictures to see the larger picture.

The most recent reports will be at the top

Poland Lxd2


AUSTRIA:  October 2009
Zell am See to Krimml (760mm gauge) It is reported that the rebuilding of the Mittershill to Krimml section of this line has finally been started. This follows the flooding that had occurred in 2005. Work on the first 11km section to Bramberg started in August and is targeted for completion by the end of 2009. The final section to Krimml should be ready by 2010. Once the new section is open the improved alignment should allow speeds of up to 80 Km/h. (Posted 04.10.09 Source: Today's Railways)

ROMANIA:  September 2009
Hunedoara (760mm gauge) Following the brief details below in July, about the closure of this line, more details have been recevied from Hunedoara. It appears that the untimely closure and lifting of this line hit the national news in Romania. The photo below shows the last of the diesels immediately prior to departure, and it is confirmed that all the rail, locos and rolling stock have been removed. Some of the locos and rolling stock have been purchased by an enthusiast in Criscior.

In the spring of 2000 the line was cut back 11 km, and in 2001 the line was lifted between the old terminus at Craciuneasa and Canton I Zlasa.

Finally only 2.3 km of line was working until Autumn 2007 and carried the crushed limestone from an improvised loading station near the castle to the limeworks at Zlasti. On the 6th of July 2009 the factory managment then decided to scrap the final 2.3km section of line.
A blog has been started, protesting about the manner that this line has been demoslished (Blog), and there is already talk of how it could be reinstated to provide a boost to tourism in the area.
(Posted 04.10.09 Source: Rudolf Hanzelik)

ITALY:  August 2009
Saline Di Cervia (600mm gauge) The salt pans at Cervia in Italy are again making use of the 600mm gauge railway to harvest the salt. It apparently takes 2 weeks of railway activity to collect all the salt.

On a visit in August, 4 of the 6 operational locos were working (Nos.2, 4, 5, and 6).There are 3 Greco and 3 Deutz locos, with a further 3 out of use. The previous time this railway was reported working on this site was in 2006, although it did work in 2007. Further photos from Ivan Furlanis can be found here. (Posted 30.08.09 Source: Ivan Furlanis)

AUSTRIA:  August 2009
Ybbstalbahn (760mm gauge) Central Europe again had significant flooding this summer. In June and July the heavy rain caused the sections Gstadt-Ybbsitz and Gstadt-Lunz to both be closed. ÖBB reported that repairs would be carried out by the 1st August, but this has not happened. The Ybbsitz section was repaired by an unofficial workforce of supporters of the railway, but this was not with the agreement of the ÖBB, and caused some friction between the two groups.

Mariazellerbahn (760mm gauge) Flooding also affected this railway. The loco sheds and workshops at Alpenbahnhof were affected which has caused the section up to Alpenbahnhof to be closed. A date of the 6th of Septermber has been given for the reopening.
(Posted 30.08.09 Source: Today's Railways)

FRANCE:  August 2009
Briqueterie Lagrive, Lisieux (500mm gauge) The Lagrive Brickworks was visited on the 1st August and confirmed to still use the 500mm gauge railway (although when visited on a Saturday it was not currently in operation, and will probably on the usual summer break for the next 2-3 weeks). All the rails were still well used and the bucket and chain excavator was also still in use to load the skips.

This location is one of only 2 sites in France where a loco hauled 500mm gauge railway is still operated in industry, the other being at Marly Brickworks (unless anyone can confirm the existence of any others?). (Posted 02.08.09 Source: Steve Thomason)

ROMANIA:  July 2009
Hunedoara (760mm gauge) A further narrow gauge closure has been reported, this time in Romania. The limestone railway in Hunedoara had been a regular location on tour itineries for narrow gauge enthusiasts in recent years because of the scenic nature of the line. Although scheduled passenger services had long since ceased, the limestone trains had continued, using the standard class L45H locos.


The two photos featured here were reported to have been taken last month (July)


and show the railway in various stages of track lifting. It is not clear if the whole line has been closed or if there is to be any attempt at preservation.
(Posted 02.08.09 Source: Rudolf Hanzelik via Mike Jackson)
SERBIA:  April 2009
Kostolac Coal Mine (900mm gauge) Belated news has been recorded regarding the closure of this steam worked coal mine. The final boiler certificates of the useable Davenport locos expired in April, and track was already in the process of being lifted. It is reported that half the power station has closed down.
(Posted 02.08.09 Source: James Waite via the NGN)

AUSTRIA:  June 2009
Diabas Saalfelden (600mm gauge) This railway had been reducing the volume of stone carried to the standard gauge transfer sidings over the last several years. Confirmation has been recevied that the railway finally closed at least several months ago by the look of the photographs taken in the last couple of weeks.
The rails have been pulled up entering the transhipment yard (see above), as well as the whole length of the line. The bridges have been removed and the abutments have already been landscaped over. (Posted 08.07.09 Source: Darren Hedges via Adrian Foster)

IRELAND:  March 2009
Bord na Mona (3ft gauge) From a visit in March, traffic levels across many of the systems to the peat power stations and briquette factories were found to be exceptionally high and the railways, locos, and wagons were being worked flat out. Loco failures and wagon bearing failures had increased so there was little spare rolling stock. No less than 12 peat rakes (trains) were running on double shifts at West Offaly Power Station. Good weather and a good peat harvest was critical this year if stocks are to be replenished.
The 0-4-0DH rebuilds of Hunslet Wagonmasters (see above) are spreading to all the horticultural bog systems. Examples are already working at Ballivor, Almhain, Ummeras, Kinnegad and Gilltown. (Posted 08.07.09 Source: Ted McAvoy)

IRELAND:  May 2009
Bord na Mona, West Offaly Power Station, Shannonbridge (3ft Gauge) A visit in May to the West Offaly Power Station confirmed high levels of activity with 10 locos seen in the power station on peat trains, ash trains, or light engine.
The requirement to remove the ash from the power station (see above) provides a variation from the usuaL peat trains when the ash is removed for dumping. Some of the older Wagonmaster locos were still present in a number of locations, but these were now only in use for fuel and maintenance trains.
(Posted 08.07.09 Source: Chris Phillimore)
 

WALES:  March 2009
Corus, Shotton Steelworks (2ft 6ins gauge) The cold strip mill was confirmed under demolition in March 2009. This building had retained the last narrow gauge line at Shotton since the stockyard railway had ceased working approx 8 years ago. The internal system had been worked by 2 Hunslet locos, plus a larger battery loco working on a separate short length of track. All three of the locos are reported to have left the site.
(Posted 18.05.09. Source: IRS Bulletin
PORTUGAL:  May 2009
Narrow Gauge lines, REFER (1000mm gauge) Services were suspended on both the Corgo narrow gauge and the Tamega narrow gauge lines on the 25th March. This happened without warning, although a subsequent press release confirmed that services were suspended on safety grounds.


The Tua narrow gauge line is also currently closed, and the railcars in use on this line had been involved in a number of accidents recently. The general infrastructure on these 3 lines is in poor condition with little recent investment. REFER have stated that improvement work is due to begin within four months, but there is no target date for reopening.
(Posted 18.05.09. Source: Today's Railways

 

AUSTRIA:  February 2009
Pinzgaubahn (760mm gauge) The privatised Pinzgaubahn has resumed use of Rollwagen for freight services. The first train ran on the 24th November to Piesendorf.

The new operator SLB, had purchased a number of the Rollwagen when they took over the line but they had been overhauled at the ÖBB St. Pölten works. The intention is to haul approx 30,000 to 50,000 tonnes per year.
(Posted 07.03.09 Source: Today's Railways

DENMARK:  January 2009
Pindstrup Mosebrug,Lille Vildmose (600mm gauge) Confirmation has been received that the peat railway at Lille Vildmose has ceased working from April 2008. The peat works is still processing peat received from Fuglsř Mose where a 600mm railway continues in use.
(Posted 07.03.09 Source: Thomas Kaare Hansen

 

POLAND:
ex PKP lines (750mm gauge) A belated report from an extensive visit in September 2008 documenting the further decline in the 750mm gauge ex-PKP lines.
Smigiel There were no signs of recent traffic anywhere between Wielichowo and Smigiel. The average ticket sales for the passenger service between Smigiel and Stare Bojanowo seemed to be around one per train on the railcars. Most trains seemed to be running empty. Freight services had reduced to just one or two wagons per week from Stare Bojanowo to Smigiel.
Gniezno Residents on the Witkowo road had been complaining about freight trains passing their houses, but previous reports stated freight was still being shifted at least to the depot on that road. However on the visit there was no sign of any trains. It now appears that freight operations had probably ceased in August 2008.

Sompolno Most track had already been taken up here and now part of the former workshops have been demolished, reducing further the evidence of the once extensive railway yard here.
Krosniewice There are signs of a revival of passenger traffic here, but it seems likely to be only tourist services with no regular passenger traffic or freight.
Brzesc Kujawski Sugar Factory The sugar factory has stopped operating and so all railway operations have ceased. In the loco shed all that remained was a WLs50 which is believed to have been non-operational for some time.

Pleszew The train times were not the same as those shown on the SKPL web site and the afternoon train departed about an hour earlier than timetabled. There were only 3 return services per day, and when they did run, did not wait to pick up passengers from the incoming standard gauge arrivals
Zbiersk At Zbiersk the line towards Turek was now used for storing wagons and beyond them the vegetation was taking over. There had not been any traffic in that direction for some considerable time so the line was only operational between Zbiersk to Opatowek. Traffic appeared to be daily but the single return train finished by 13:00 each day. Wagons were being left in a siding at Zelazkow, and timber was being moved from the timber yard siding at Zbiersk.
(Posted 10.01.09 Source: David Meller)


 
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© Steve Thomason 2009
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