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CURRENT NEWS 2019
Updates on information regarding industrial and commercial narrow gauge railways around Europe.
 
 

This section contains updates on 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

Terres Rouge


GEORGIA:  October 2019
Borjomi to Bakuriani Railway
(Gauge: 900mm) A visit to this location in October 2019 confirmed that this railway is still operating.

There are 2 round trips each day with the train well used by the local population on the 37km route. Every so often the driver stopped to pick mushrooms from the line side and allowed the reporter into the cab and in the driving seat while the train trundled along. There was no evidence of any freight and checking elsewhere, it appears that it was used to transport andesite from a mine near Bakuriani until 1991, but now it is just a passenger service. All the locos appear to be to the standard BoBo electric design as used in the brown coal industry built by the Skoda Works in the former Czechoslovakia.
(Posted 12.10.2019 Source: Paul Duncan)
IRELAND:  October 2019
Bord na Mona
(Gauge: 3ft) The Bord na Móna website has announced a 1.6 Billion Euro investment in renewable energy development, new business projects, waste recycling and resource recovery for the next ten years, which means transitioning over 200 employees from peat-related operations to enhanced peatland rehabilitation programmes.
ESB has confirmed that that the two peat powered electricity plants at west Offaly in Shannonbridge and at Lanesborough on Lough Ree, will close at the end of 2020. This will mean that the major networks of 3ft gauge railways used to provide peat for these two locations will close.
The state subsidy for burning peat comes to an end by the end of 2019. Outside of power generation, other railways are also reported to be impacted by the renewable energy transition, for example, railways at Littleton and Ummeras only continuing until peat that has been stockpiled on the bogs is cleared, which may be as early as December/January.

Wagon tipper and loco workshops at Littleton seen from the top of the factory.
(Posted 02.11.2019 Source: Bord na Mona)
ROMANIA:  October 2019
CIECH Soda Romania, Govora
(Gauge: 760mm) It has been reported in the Romanian press on the 18th September that the Bistrita to Govora railway, operated by CIECH Soda Romania (formerly known as Uzinele Sodice Govora) ceased operations. There apeared to be an impasse reached in negotiations for a new contract. Ciech confirmed its Romanian unit received a notice of termination in June 2019 regarding its deal with the insolvent local heat and electricity producer CET Govora for the supply of industrial steam. The notice period was 3 months and as no progress had been made after the notice period expired, operations have now ceased.
Latterly there was up to 3 limestone trains running each day, and this was probably the longest 100% industrial narrow gauge railway in Romania. It is currently unclear if there is a potential for this stoppage to be only temporary.
(Posted 02.11.2019 Source: Romanian Press)

BULGARIA:  October 2019
Burgas Salt Railway, Burgas
(Gauge: 600mm) A visit to this location in September confirmed that this railway is still operating.

The salt railway is located to the north of the city, close to the international airport and on the banks of Lake Atanasovsko. Although a dertailment prevented more extensive observations and photographs being taken, the visit confirmed that the railway continues in use. It appears still to be using the same rolling stock and the Unio diesels that were originally seen when the railway was initially reported over 20 years ago. Loco No.5 was seen in operation.
(Posted 12.10.2019 Source: Rod Smith)
AUSTRIA:  August 2019
Citybahn Waidhofen
(Gauge: 760mm) This short section of the Ybbstalbahn is currently closed until the 1st September due to track modernisation. The line currently operates with railcars from the original Waidhofen staion to what was the junction station at Gstadt, a journey time of just 13 mins over 5.5km. Sadly it has been announced that next year this route is to be cut back even further. It appears that the station of Gstadt will be closed, and the journey will now finish at the halt of Vogelsang, reducing the journey time by a further 5 minutes to approx 3km. The move is brought about by the pattern of passenger journey's, with 90% of passengers only travelling as far as Vogelsang.

The station of Gstadt in 1996 when still in use as a junction station to Ybbsitz and Lunz am See.
(Posted 18.08.2019 Source: citybahn.at and noen.at)
GERMANY:  July 2019
Sodawerk Stassfurt
(Gauge: 600mm) It is rare that good news is reported for industrial narrow gauge railways these days, so the arrival of the new electric locos for Sodawerk Stassfurt as mentioned below is particularly well received as Sodawerk Stassfurt operates one of the last feldbahns from the East Germany era. The two overhead electric locos were reported on site for the first time on the 23rd June, so will have been delivered a few days before. The locos have been built by a Czech company called LocoProject SRO, and are classed as type TL16 and are 16tonnes (builders numbers 2019001 and 2019002).
The locos were captured on the initial trial runs seen below from Youtube.
(Posted 09.07.2019 Source: Youtube)

GERMANY:  January 2019
Sodawerk Stassfurt
(Gauge: 600mm) Last November a visit was made to the electrified line at Stassfurt. Staff here confirmed that the elderly LEW electric locos were due to be replaced in 2019. By early spring new locos should be arriving from the Czech Republic. The original LEW locos will remain on site for at least the short term as backup locos. New rolling stock appears to also be on order, so the longevity of the this railway appears to be assured. (via Feldbahn Forum).

The above photo shows a couple of the current LEW locos outside the loco sheds.
(Posted 06.01.2019 Source: Feldbahn Forum)

Torfwerk Thomann, Lohne
(Gauge: 600mm) This site was visited in September last year and it was found that the owners had not been able to extend a permit to continue extraction and so the line was in the process of being taken up. It was anticipated that by October it will have all been removed.
(Posted 06.01.2019 Source: Narrow Gauge News)

Torfwerk Ehlers, Dellstedt
(Gauge: 600mm) In November it was reported that the railway at Delstedt continues to use the only remaining former East German NS2F locos in industrial service. One of these has now been converted to a basic radio control, to allow single man operation when loading on the moors, so the loco can be controlled by the person loading the wagons.
(Posted 06.01.2019 Source: Feldbahn Forum)


(Above) Two of the NS2F locos at Dellstedt.


 
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© Steve Thomason 2019

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