Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways
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NEWS 2015
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

Bolton Fell

POLAND:  December 2015
KWK Kazimierz-Juliusz, Sosnowiec (Gauge 750mm) The coal mine and narrow gauge railway here have closed. A tender notice has been issued for the sale of the estate in October 2015. There had been both a 750mm gauge railway which had been used for the dumping of spoil and also for the transport of miners, as well as an internal 600mm gauge railway for the movement of materials and equipment underground. There is a suggestion that some kind of preservation of the railway may take place.

The terminus of the coliery railway with one of the WLS150 locos photographed in 2002.

Other industrial railways in Poland Peat railways at Podczerwone, Krakulice, Nowy Chwalim, Rucianki, and Józefowo have all been reported still to be operating normally. Also a railway serving a clay pit at the brickworks of Cegielnia Górna Wroncza has also been confirmed as still working.
(Posted 13.12.2015 Source: Leszek)

FRANCE:  September 2015
Briqueterie Chimot, Marley (Gauge 500mm and 600mm) These railways were both confirmed as still operating. Significant changes have taken place in the last couple of years with a number of the drying sheds demolished. Also the 600mm gauge line now comes right into the works and travels alongside the 500mm gauge for a hundred metres or so, with the two railways even crossing each other on the level near the drying sheds. There is a new tipping point under a new storage shed for the 600mm gauge. Two of the small brickmaking machines running on a separate 600mm track are still in use at the drying sheds, but one has been brought down to the yard and loads up brick wagons next to the offices. The bucket and chain excavator is extracting clay slightly closer to the works than a few years ago and the clay pit will be closing for the season as usual by the end of September. The 500mm gauge was being worked by the small 4wDM Heim loco and the Plymouth loco was on the 600mm gauge.

The small Heim loco on the 500mm gauge shunting the dried bricks that have just come down from the drying sheds, and in the background can just be seen the blue Plymouth loco on the 600mm tracks in the newly built storage/tipping shed with a load waiting for tipping.

Briqueterie Lagrive, Lisieux (Gauge: 500mm) Not visited, but confirmed by telephone that this short 500mm gauge railway is still in use. It is not used during poor weather but the bucket and chain excavator and the Jung loco appear to still be in operation.

Dewulf brickworks, Sommereux (Gauge: 600mm) This railway is still in use although not daily. It is not used in bad weather. Both the Gmeinder diesel locos are still on site, but at present only one is in working order (No.1). 3 sidings serve tipping points between the drying sheds and approx 10 skips are in use loaded from an elevator at the back of the works.

(Posted 21.09.2015 Steve Thomason)

AUSTRIA:  September 2015
Achenseebahn, Jenbach (Gauge: 1000mm) All trains were working normally as per the summer high season timetable, except that on the 13th September all three steam locos were in use due to an additional private hire.

Pinzgaubahn, Zell Am See (Gauge: 760mm) When this line was rebuilt following severe flooding a number of years ago, freight services were reinstated and local businesses were encouraged to use the railway once again. 3 or 4 firms along the line started reusing the railway for freight via transporter wagons. Now however the transporter exchange siding is in use for the preparation of the steam excursions and the standard gauge tracks appear not to have been used for some time. The sidings along the route are still in place, but show no evidence of recent use.
The newly restored Jugoslav loco 73-019 was in charge of the last couple of weekly steam excursions for the season, and on Sunday the 13th September an unannounced special run was made with 73-019 and MH3 double heading from Zell am See to Krimml.

Montanwerk Brixlegg, Schwaz (Gauge 700mm) This mine had been reported as abandoned several years ago following an internal rockfall preventing any further operations. When visited on the 14th September, the mine doors were open and the condition of the rails confirmed that there was regular use being made of the mine. Nearby workers were unable to say what was happening other than the owner was in the mine, but he did not surface during the visit. One or two of the mine tubs appeared to have seen recent use and it is likely that work is ongoing to clear the previous problems causing the closure. Whether this is for future industrial use or tourist use is unclear.

Two Jenbach locos were on the surface, a JW20 built in 1956 and JW15 247-1490 built in 1970 which had been previously used in the mine. It was very likely that at least one other loco was in use underground but was not seen.
(Posted 21.09.2015 Steve Thomason)

AUSTRIA:  September 2015
Murtalbahn, Unzmarkt (Gauge: 760mm) The 2 BBC Diesels VL22 and VL23 from Weiz had been recently unloaded at Unzmarkt following the closure of the lower end of the line at Weiz. Also further wagons from the Wiez system arrived by standard gauge and were offloaded at Unzmarkt. The red VL13 BoBo diesel stationed at Murau was the loco in use for freight when needed. However over a period of 4 days only one freight train was run (tanker wagons between Unzmarkt and Murau). There was a line-up of approx. 35 freight wagons in the long siding at Murau. The tracks to the Lagerhaus at Tamsweg (previously receiving tanker wagons by rail) appeared unused. There was no evidence of timber transport on the line and little evidence of any other regular freight traffic.

Mixnitz Localbahn (Gauge: 760mm) Trains appear to run on an as required basis, so may not run every day. On the 9th September just one run was made (with Bobo electric No.E3) and the loco was back and all locked up in the shed by 10:00 in the morning. The run was made with a mixture of the 4w and 6w covered open wagons containing loose magnasite. The wagons were all unloaded using the special hydraulic tipper at Mixnitx. The 3 other electric locos were in the shed.

E3 just returned to Mixnitz with the last but one wagon upended on the tippler.

Zillertalbahn, Jenbach (Gauge 760mm) Over 40 transporter wagons are now piled up in the sidings at the back of Jenbach yard and no freight is carried now. The timber yard near Schlitters has closed and a lot of the site cleared. The larger timber yard at Fügen-Hart still operates but the sidings in the yard are not in use and all transport is via the congested local road network. All the passenger services were running as per timetable.

(Posted 21.09.2015 Steve Thomason)

AUSTRIA:  September 2015
Innwerk AG Ering (Gauge: 1370mm) On the River Inn on the Austrian/German border there are still a number of small railways (about 12) of various gauges servicing the various hydroelectric barrages that have been built over the river in a number of locations. Most of these railways are about 300 to 400 metres in length whose function is to transport the water borne debris raked out of the water into the skips and deposit the rubbish in a tipping area nearby. Typically they have a single loco and 3-8 hydraulic skips.

One of these sites at Ering was visited on a Saturday and although there was no answer from the main entrance, the loco (assumed Budich No.2565 built in 1939) could just be seen from the river bank (see photo above).

Attersee Localbahn (Gauge: 1000mm) Visited on a Sunday the trams were running approx every hour from the Attersee Terminus to Vöcklamarkt. At Attersee the station area has been rebuilt recently creating an undercover shed/platform for some of the trams next to the storage shed.

Ziegelwerk Danreiter (Gauge 600mm) This railway does not now run every day, but depends on demand and on the weather. The orange Diema (N0.4934 built 1986) was working trains of 3 skips from the clay stockpile less than 0.5km from the works, the round trip taking about 20 to 25mins. The right hand branch had not been used for some time and has just about disappeared under the undergrowth.
Loading is currently being done from stockpile (see above) just before the tunnel under the ring road but the track is still in place through the tunnel and on to the end of the line on the other side of the road. There is still an excavator in place at this end of the line, so is possible that clay continues to be taken from here from time to time. This appears to be the last regularly worked ‘feldbahn’ type railway in Austria.
(Posted 21.09.2015 Steve Thomason)

GERMANY:  September 2015
BHS Torfwerk Raubling (Gauge: 880mm) This peatworks and its railway closed down in 2006. A number of the splay sided peat wagons have been plinthed round the area of the old works. There is now a large transport warehouse on the site of the peatworks. The trackbed of the railway through the woods at this point has become a nature walk. At the site of the workshops further up the road, track was found to be in place and leading out to the moors. One of the Diema locos was outside the workshops with a rake of peat wagons. However, the wagons have been converted to open coaches and this part of the railway is now operated as a moorbahn for visitors.

Diema 2049 built in 1957 outside the original workshops for the railway.

Torfwerk Eulenau, Bad Feilnbad (Gauge: 600mm) This peatworks and railway closed down in 2000 and visiting the site of the unloading shed and yard on the edge of the moors, there is now nothing to suggest that a railway ever existed here. The area has completely reverted back to nature.

Bad Feilnbach Torfwerk Bad Feilnbach Torfwerk (Gauge 750mm) Peatworks operating normally. This site does not seem to have changed at all in the past 15 years. All three rakes of hydraulic tipping wagons were full of peat waiting emptying, but the owner was on a 2 week break so no trains were running.

(Posted 21.09.2015 Steve Thomason)

SPAIN:  April 2015
Ponferrada to Villablino (1000mm gauge) The remaining length of this railway operating from Villablino to the power station near Cubillos del Sil closed in 2010. In spring 2010 the power station changed coal supplier and started to receive imported coal arriving by rail to Ponferrada. By late 2011 the railway had reopened, operating 4-6 pairs of coal trains daily, but it closed again after approximately 12 months of use because the coal washery at Villablino closed down due to a decline in local coal production. After a least 2 years laying idle, all the infrasructure is still in place and the operating concession has now been put up for sale. There are two obvious possibilities, that the railway is revived for coal traffic once again or that a tourist operation is considered. One of the original steam locos (PV31) is available for use, and the railway museum at Ponferrada would have further locos for potential restoration.

Loco 1001 at Villablino in 2004 when several million tonnes of coal were still being transported every year to the Compostilla II power station. This one of the 4 Macosa/General Motors locos built in 1981.

ITALY  April 2015
Ferrovia Circumetna (950mm) The 110km railway around Mount Etna is receiving significant new investment. Initially an order for four DMUs from Newag have started construction and are due for delivery over the summer. The units will be named 'Vulcano' and will be capable of 100km/h and include air conditioning and CCTV, a level of transport not usually associated with the narrow gauge! There is a potential for a further 6 units, but the cost of the first 4 alone is reported to be 14 million Euros.
(Posted 02.05.2015 Today's Railways)

AUSTRIA:  March 2015
Weiz to Oberfeistritz (760mm gauge) As well as seasonal tourist steam trains, this part of the line also continued to see feight in the form of talc from the factory at Oberfeistritz several days per week. It is now reported that one of the bridges on this section has been declared unsafe due to cracks in the structure, and there are safety concerns over a tunnel as well. This section of the railway was closed at the end of 2014. There are no clear plans in place to fund any work and so there is currently a big question around if this section of the line will reopen again. The longer this situation goes on for, then the factory will have made alternative transport arrangements and be less likely to recommence rail operations if the line does reopen.

Unzmarkt to Tamsweg (Murtalbahn) (760mm gauge) As well as the line at Weiz, the Steiermärkische Landesbahnen (StLB) still operate the Murtalbahn. Significant plans are now in discussion which could mean that Murau (seen in the picture below) becomes the terminus for the railway.

Part of the issue here is that the rolling stock is requring replacement at a considerable investment, and the midpoint on the line, Murau, the capital of the district, is in growing need of improvements to the transport infrastructure. Plans are being considered to extend the standard gauge from Unzmarkt to Murau and eletrify this stretch. It is not yet clear if any regular commercial operations would still be considered for the remaining part of the narrow gauge line.
(Posted 22.03.2015 Today's Railways)

GERMANY  January 2015
Döllnitzbahn, Mügeln (750mm gauge) The fluctuating fortunes of the Döllnitzbahn have taken an upward turn from the end of last year. The regional transport authority signed a contract with the railway in December. This contract has started from January 2015 and provides regular services to carry schoolchildren using diesel hauled trains. The second part of the contract requires the railway to operate steam locos for 3000 route kilometres per year. The contract safeguards these services for 5 years.
(Posted 28/01/2015. Source: Today's Railways)
AUSTRIA:  January 2015
Gmunden to Vorchdorf. (Metre gauge) The plans originally outlined for this line in these News pages back in 2012 are finally being implemented. The project connects up the rural tram line from Gmunden to Vorchdorf with the urban tram in Gmunden itself. The first section of this to Klosterplatz was opened in December 2014 and work to complete this will continue right through to June 2017.
(Posted 28/01/2015. Source: Today's Railways)
FRANCE:  January 2015
Chemins de Fer de Provence (Metre gauge) Part of the the narrow gauge line from Nice to Digne is being considered for electrification. This work is targeted in approx 10 years time and will take in the surburban section of the line. A number of the railcars still in use were built approx 40 years ago and the required major overhaul of these has been dismissed as too expensive. In the interim period before electrification 6 DMUs are being purchased from Mallorca, made surplus from a similar electrification scheme.
(Posted 28/01/2015. Source: Today's Railways)

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© Steve Thomason 2015

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Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways