Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways
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NEWS 2014
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 ensure a broad cross section of railways and countries are featured. Click on the thumbnail pictures to see a larger picture.

The most recent reports will be at the top

Elsdorf 2012

AUSTRIA  September 2014
Zillertalbahn, Jenbach (760mm gauge) The fluctuating fortunes of the Zillertalbahn seem to have taken a step for the better according to the 2013 results. The railway lost a part of it's state subsidy in 2011 resulting in significant operating losses for 2012. Early in 2013 there were also concerns regarding the collapse of the freight services. However, financially the railway broke even for 2013, and there are now major development plans. As the line's railcars are now up to 30 years old and shortly requiring replacement, there is a feasibility study looking into the option of electrifying the whole line. Initial estimates including the cost of new vehicles, could put the outlay at over 80 million euros.
(Posted 05/10/2014. Source: Today's Railways)
AUSTRIA:  September 2014
Pinzgauer Lokalbahn. (760mm gauge) At the end of July there was severe flooding caused by the river Salzach breaching its banks at a number of points in the valley. Initially a major part of the line after Piesendorf was closed, but has now been reopened as far as Mittersill. The flood protection dams which had been built after the major flooding on 2005 have been damaged. A futher section of the line is due to reopen by the start of October, but there are reported to be no dates for the final re-opening through to the terminus at Krimml.
(Posted 05/10/2014. Source: Today's Railways)
SARDINIA:  September 2014
Narrow Gauge Railways (950mm gauge) Sardinia is reported still to have 614km of 950mm gauge railways in place. However, a large part of this network has no commercial traffic. Only 219km has timetabled passenger trains. The rest of the railways do see tourist services over the summer months on certain days. Due to rising costs of keeping all this infrastructure in good order the local authority is now considering closure of all the lines which have no timetabled traffic. The maintenance costs are in excess of 6 million euros a year but revenues only cover approx 8% of this.
(Posted 05/10/2014. Source: Today's Railways)

GERMANY  June 2014
Rogerley Mine, Stanhope (2ft gauge) On a visit to Rogerley mine on the 26th June, the battery loco was found working out of the adit assisting with the removal of spoil following the detonation of charges to open out the working passage in the mine. Rogerley mine is located in an abandoned limestone quarry near Frosterley. It is the only mine in the UK to be operated on a commercial basis solely for mineral specimens and produces a limited, but steady stream of high quality green fluorite specimens.

Cal examines the rails in front of the battery loco to understand why it was derailing so often when running over the pointwork.
(Posted 09/07/2014. Source: Steve Thomason)
ENGLAND:  June 2014
William Sinclair Horticulture, Bolton Fell. (2ft gauge) A visit to Bolton fell following the cessation of railway operations confirmed that track lifting was well underway. Although the lifting of rail and sleepers was being undertaken by excavators with a hydraulic grab, locos were in use to move a wagon with the oxyacetalyne torches being used to burn off the bolts from the fishplates in preparation for the lifting of the track panels. This operation was causing the surrounding peat to smoulder in the dry conditions and so a water bowser was following this operation to damp down any possible risk of fire. 2 track gangs were working at either end of the last loop of track back to the yard.

In the photo above track panels are lifted out from the main running line at Bolton Fell to be taken back to the yard by tractor. The sleepers were also being extracted and dumped on the other side of the trackbed for eventual transport back. The works have until the end of July to complete this work, which appears to be currently on target.
(Posted 09.07.2014 Steve Thomason)

GERMANY  June 2014
Emmerich Brickworks, Vrasselt (600mm gauge) A visit recently reported from February this year confirms that this small feldbahn is still in operation. Originally the line ran for about 200 metres round the back of the works to an adjacent claypit. The route is now even shorter, with just 40 metres of tracks in use. The skips are loaded at the back of the brickworks and pulled into the building for tipping. Although the original Diema DS14 is still on site it's unclear if this is still being used or just stored out of use.
(Posted 22/06/2014. Source:
ENGLAND:  June 2014
William Sinclair Horticulture, Bolton Fell. (2ft gauge) The railway operated at Bolton Fell near Hethersgill in Cumbria represented the last traditional surface narrow gauge industrial railway still operating in England. By the 14th of June the railway was due to to have pulled the final wagons of peat to the tippler. The tracks to the south east have already been removed over the last couple of months, and the final stockpiles to be cleared were being transported right up to the end of the final week.
In 2010 the moorland had been declared a site of Special Scientific Interest(SSSI), and in co-operation with Natural England a compensation package had been agreed to to allow William Sinclair Horticulture to cease peat production and plan a wind down of operations. The date of the 14th June 2014 had been agreed for the cessation of railway transport.
The end of an era: A picture from the 9th June in the final week of operations. 5 of the 7 operational locos were still in use with 5 or 6 wagons being pulled by the modified Motor Rail locos.

The final stretch of the railway is required to be removed from the moors by the end of July, and ultimately William Sinclair will be vacating the site. Natural England are already working on part of the site filling in the drainage ditches and allowing the moorland to revert back to its natural wetland environment.
Bolton Fell on the 9th June with a line up of disused locos on the left and one of the operational Motor Rails on the right.
(Posted 22.06.2014 Steve Thomason)

AUSTRIA:  February 2014
Ybbstalbahn (760mm gauge) The main section of the Ybbstalbahn closed in 2010. The only operational stetch is now from Waidhofen to Gstadt. It is reported that the tracklifting started on the Gstadt to Ybbsitz branch back in July last year. There were plans to incorporate the track from Lunz am See to Göstling into that managed by the Heritage railway based at Kienberg Gaming. These plans were due for completion in 2012, however negotiations had not been successful. The latest news is that the regional goverment have terminated these plans and also not considered requests from various organisations to save this railway. Track lifting started at the beginning of 2014 from Gstadt to Göstling and the current arrangments are for a cycleway to be created on the trackbed.

A Picture from 2004 at Göstling station when weekly timber trains were still in operation.
(Posted 02.04.2014 Sourailway websites)
FRANCE  February 2014
Chemin de fer de Provence (1000mm gauge) On the 8th February a rock of approx 10tonnes in weight hit the front coach of an APM DMU which had been travelling to Digne. Two people were killed and 9 people were injured. The front coach was forced partway down an embankment and was prevented from going any further by the second car that remained mostly on the tracks. Services were restarted 2 days later ascross part of the line. However because of the ongoing risk of further rockfalls part of the line was kept closed.
(Posted 02/04/2014. Source: Various railway websites)

FRANCE:  February 2014
Briqueterie DeWulf, Sommereux (600mm gauge) A retrospective update from a visit made in September last year. The small brickworks in Sommereux (Briqueterie DeWulf) was found to be working on the 12th September 2013. The 600mm gauge railway was still in service although cut back from the original length. Clay is now brought in by road transport and is stockpiled at the back of the works to be loaded into skips when required, to feed one of 3 brickmaking machines. The 2 Gmeinder locos are are still on site without any plates. No.2 was seen in use with 2 skips, with No.1 found in the loco shed. A Jung loco seen out of use at the works on a visit 13 years ago has now been preserved at a site near Pommereval.

A photo of Gmeinder No.2 in use at the back of Briqueterie DeWulf loading a couple of skips with clay.
(Posted 17.02.2014 Source: Alan Sewell)
Gulbene to Aluksne (750mm gauge) This railway celebrated it's 110th anniversary last year, and the Latvian Parliament have now passed legislation that defines the railway as a heritage line. Due to this change in status it now receives funding each year to assist with the maintance and operations of the railway, a move that will help to secure it's future.
(Posted 17.02.2014 Source: Today's Railways)

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© Steve Thomason 2014

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