Monthly Archives: Jan 2018

Ligne du Littoral (Toulon to St. Raphael) – Part 14 – Locomotives and Rolling Stock (Chemins de Fer de Provence 49)

PAUL LÉVERÉ (Oil on canvas)[11]
Paul Levéré (1875 -1949), landscape painter of Toulon was also official painter for the Navy. He painted this large painting in 1909 – (it measures several metres long: at the sight of about 4.50m to 5.00m x 1.50m). It decorated the main hall of the Chemins de Fer du Sud Station in Toulon.
After the war, when the demolition of the station (which had been badly damaged by the bombing of 1944) was due to proceed, this painting was saved by the Society of Friends of Old Toulon. The painting figures prominently in the Musee du Vieux Toulon located in Cours Lafayette.

Locomotives and Rolling Stock

At the height of its powers, between 1888 and 1908, Le Chemins de Fer du Sud de la France network had:

• 23 steam locomotives.
• 42 passenger coaches: 3 in 1st class A series; 21 mixed 1st and 2nd class series AB; 6 in 2nd class B series; 2 mixed 2nd class + van series BD and 10 open coaches called ‘jardiniers’ series AC and C. These were sourced from various manufacturers: the Foundries and Forges of Horme Company, Chantiers de la Buire in Lyon; the Desouche and David workshops in Pantin; the Hanquet-Aufort and Company in Vierzon; the establishments De Dietrich in Lunéville; and the ‘jardiniers’ came from a network of steam trams – the Raincy-Montfermeil in the northern suburbs of Paris.
• 12 luggage and post office vans: 10 luggage vans with DD series postal compartment and 2 DS series emergency vans. Their manufacturers were as follows: 6 Buire vans, 4 De Dietrich vans, 2 Hanquet-Aufort vans.
• 219 goods wagons: built by Horme and Buire, Hanquet-Aufort, De Dietrich, and Magnard and Decauville.

Later, there was a concerted effort to modernize the network between 1934 and 1938. This resulted in the purchase of:

• 16 diesel-electric multiple units: Brissonneau and Lotz railcars.

• Two locotractors (shunters) from the same manufacturer were added to the inventory.

A. Steam Locomotives

Between 1889 and 1894, 19 steam locomotives were put into circulation on the network of South France; divided between 3 manufacturers: 8 SACM, 8 Pinguely and 3 Corpet-Louvet.[11]

Later, between 1902 and 1904, four locomotives were purchased for the Toulon-Hyères line (Corpet, Krauss and JF Cail). Three locos were also lent by the Alpine network in 1905, 1925 and 1931.[11]

Pinguely Locomotives

The Pinguely company was formed by Benoit Alexandre Pinguely in Lyon, France in 1881. He was born on 20th April 1849.[1] In 1881 he took over a company run by the Gabert brothers which had specialised in bucket dredgers.[2]

At first they made steam locomotives, but diversified into making other equipment. In 1892, they supplied a locomotive to the Chemins de Fer de St Victor à Thizy.[3] In 1895, Pinguely supplied seven locomotives to the Voiron – Saint-Béron railway.[4] Pinguely was not a major locomotive manufacturer in terms of numbers produced.[5]

In 1930, Pinguely supplied a steam tram locomotive to the Chemins de Fer du Haut-Rhône.[6] By 1932, Pinguely was also making steam shovels.[7]

Production of steam locomotives was stopped in the 1930s, and the company concentrated on manufacturing earthmoving equipment and mobile cranes.

The majority of the locomotives produced by the company were 0-6-0T locos although as we will see the company also produced a range of other locomotives and some steam railcars. [8]

In addition to the Chemins de Fer du Sud de La France their clientele included: The tramway of Pont-de-Beauvoisin, The railways of Dauphiné, The West Tramway du Dauphiné, The railways of the Drôme, The trams of the Dordogne, The Camargue railways, The trams of the Indre, The Regional Railways of Rhône et Loire, The Departmental Board of Railways Bouches-du-Rhone.[8]

The French railway system worked on a series of metre gauge feeder railways connecting to the standard gauge main lines. Pinguely locomotives were used on many of these feeder lines. There are a number of these locomotives in preservation today as across France, metre gauge railways are ripe for preservation. Many of these lines, like those in Provence, still have the majority of their formation/route in public ownership. The two plaques shown alongside the text are from Pinguely locomotives on Le Réseau du Vivarais.

Pinguely Locomotives on Le Chemins de Fer du Sud Littoral

1. Pinguely 2-6-0T (ex 0-6-0T) [11]

In 1902, as soon as the Toulon-Hyères line was opened, the Chemins de Fer du Sud management decided to order 4 0-6-0T locomotives designated “Type 18” by the Albert Pinguély works. Modifications were requested by the company to increase the power and speed of these machines, which were considered too slow and too little nervous: these machines were given the same stroke of pistons, the diameters of cylinders and wheels of the 4-6-0T SACM Locomotives (see below).

The diameter of the coupled wheels increased from 90 cm to 1.20 m, the wheelbase from 2.15 m to 2.70 m, the diameter of the cylinders from 35 cm to 38 cm. The net weight (empty) was increased as a result from 23.1 tonnes to 25 tonnes and the gross weight in running order from 27.8 tonnes to 31.7 tonnes.

Very quickly, it was found that these new machines had major defects. They were highly unstable when they exceeded 25 km/hr. The instability was likely to cause breakdown of the suspension, movement in track alignment and derailments.

As early as 1906, Jacques Henry, the engineer, studied the possibility of transforming these locomotives into 2-6-0T locos by adding a steering axle to the front. The modification was carried out by the Fréjus workshop from December 1906 onwards and everything was completed in 1908.

The increased tare of 6 tons and the new front axle considerably improved the road holding and the grip and they gave satisfaction until the period of the 2nd World War. Some weaknesses of the boiler were however reported as early as 1921.[11]

A 2-6-0T Pinguely series 41 to 44 arrives at the stop of Saint-Jean du Var whose small building is characteristic of the stops of the suburbs of Toulon (Collection: Renaud Semadé).

Pinguely 2-6-0T locomotive at Toulon Sud-France station awaiting clearance to head for St. Raphael. The photo dates from the years 1925-1930 (Collection: Gérard Bernaud).

A train pulled by a 2-6-0T Pinguely, stops at Warvieille-Beauvallon near Sainte-Maxime. The station house is identical to that of the gatekeeper’s but it is completed with a desk and a waiting room. Note the super-elevation of the line. (Collection: Edmond Duclos).

Type:  0-6-0T then 2-6-0T Usable track type: Metre gauge
Builder: Albert Pinguely Works in Lyon Driving Cab: Closed – with 4 rectangular portholes
Year of construction:  1904 Date of commissioning: 03-1905
Number on the South France Railway network  4 Coupled axles:  3
Rigid wheelbase: 2.70 m
Factory number: 174 to 177 Diameter of driving wheels: 1.20m
Numbered: 41 to 44 Diameter of carrying wheels: 0.82 m
Unloaded weight;  31.10 tons Cylinders: 2 with plan drawers
Weight in working order:  37.80 tons Valve Gear: Walschaerts
Total length:


 8,982 m Average speed in tests: 38 km/hr
Total width: 2.50 m Water Tank Capacity:  3500 litres
Total height: 3.59 m Coal Capacity:  0.94 ton
Usage: Nos. 41, 42 and 44 were taken out of use in around 1938; No. 43 in around 1944. The locos were scrapped only after the closure of the network.


2. Pinguely 4-6-0T [11]

The 4-6-0T Pinguely locomotives are almost twin sisters to the 4-6-0T SACMs numbered 61 and 62 -The difference is at the rear: a straight and closed cabin for the Pinguely, an overflowing charcoal hood and an open cabin for the 4-6-0T SACM. The shape of the side window was different as well.

Here at Canadel Halt, 4-6-0T Pinguely No. 65 arrives at the head of a mixed train.

Delivered between January and July 1906, the Pinguely were assigned to the heaviest trains.

These machines had a weak point: the bad behaviour of their boiler.

Pinguely 4-6-0T No. 66 at Le Chemins de Fer du Sud Station of Toulon in around 1941-1943; at that time there are only 3 steam engines left on the network. An electric headlight powered by a turbo-dynamo has been added to the right side of the original oil lantern (Collection: GECP)

This time seen from behind, 4-6-0T Pinguely No. 66 is stabled at the Fréjus depot. Note at the back of the cab, the 2 small circular openings not original, which give light and a little visibility in the cabin. Originally there were 2 more large windows that were closed with sheet metal plates. These probably were broken regularly be the charcoal shovel and furnace tools.

The 4-6-0T No. 63 is stabled on the No. 3 siding at Toulon station ready to refuel with coal briquettes (Collection: Bernard Rozé).


Type: 4-6-0T Usable track type: Metre Gauge
Builder: Albert Pinguely Works in Lyon Driving Cab: Closed
Year of Construction:  1906 Delivery date: 1906
Number on the South France Railway network:  4 Coupled axles:  3
Factory number: 203 to 206 Diameter of driving wheels: 1.20m
Numbered: 63 to 66 Valve Gear: Walschaerts
Unloaded weight:  28.4 tons Cylinders: 2 with plan drawers
Weight in working order:  36.8 tons Estimated power:
Total length:


 9.39 m Estimated maximum speed:
Total width: 2.50 m Water tank capacity:  4500 litres
Total height: 3.60 m Coal capacity:  1.2 ton
Usage: No. 63 and 66 set aside in 1948 and then scrapped in 50-51 – No. 64 and 65 set aside in 1944

Preserved Pinguely Locomotives

Locomotives working on preserved lines or preserved in a non-working condition include:[8]

a) 0-6-0T Locomotives (metre gauge)

No. 38 of 1897, Trams of the Drome No. 16 – entrusted by an individual to the Association of Friends of Petit Anjou
No. 1899, Beaujolais Railway (CFB) – Association of Friends of Petit Anjou
No. 112 of 1901, CFD 81, 1949 transformed into locotractor, CFDT, CP 52 – Railways of the Velay
No. 143 of 1903, Railway of Morbihan “14” – monument in Korofina (Mali)
No. 165 of 1905, Railways of Morbihan “No. 101” – entrusted by the FACS to the railway of the Bay of Somme . In service.
No. 167 of 1905, Railways of Morbihan “No. 103” – Train of Bas-Berry. [9]
No. 240 of 1909, Tramways of the West of Dauphiné “No. 31” – Railway of Vivarais. [10]

b) 0-4-0T Locomotive (600 mm gauge)

No. 368 of 1922, Tuilerie de la Rochefoucaud (Charente) – Maurice Dufresne Museum, Marnay. then Azay-le-Rideau (Indre & Loire).


SACM Locomotives

The Alsatian mechanical engineering company (Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques (SACM)) based in Mulhouse was a flagship of French industry. It produced a lot of locomotives.

In 1839, André Koechlin, after producing textile machines since 1826, opened a locomotive construction workshop in Mulhouse in Alsace.[15] The business grew rapidly but in 1871, the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by Germany, brought about the transfer of some production to Belfort in France. In 1872 the company merged with the Graffenstaden company of Illkirch-Graffenstaden (a suburb of Strasbourg) to form SACM.

The new company diversified into the production of boilers, steel equipment, printing equipment, compressors, firearms and other engineering products growing to 4500 employees by 1910.[16]

A new foundry was built in 1922 for textile machinery. In 1928 the Thomson-Houston Electric Company merged with the Electrical Engineering division of SACM to form a new company named Alsthom, (Alsace-Thomson), later changed to Alstom.

Production of steam locomotives was originally carried out at Mulhouse and Graffenstaden (for German production), and Belfort for the French production. The plants also exported models. However, after the First World War, Mulhouse and Graffenstaden built French steam locomotives, and Belfort specialized in the construction of electric locomotives.

During the 1890s the company was particularly noted for its fast and efficient compound locomotives designed by Alfred de Glehn.

A whole series of different locomotive types were constructed by SACM, two were present on Le Chemins de Fer du Sud.

SACM Locomotives on Le Chemins de Fer du Sud Littoral

1. SACM 2-4-2T Series No. 51-56

2-4-2T Locomotive No. 56 series 51 to 56 built by SACM in Belfort for Le Chemins de Fer du Sud network (Collection: Bernard Rozé).

2-4-2T SACM No. 53, one of six locomotives of the series numbered 51 to 56 delivered between April 1889 and March 1890, they allowed the opening of the section St-Raphaël – La Foux in September 1899. They were attached to the depot of Fréjus. These machines had 1 carrying axle at the rear, one at the front (small wheels) and 2 coupled axles (driving wheels) – One of these machines was presented at the World Fair of 1889 before leaving for the Var (Collection: Bernard Rozé).

A mixed train St-Raphaël-Hyères pulled by the 2-4-2T No. 51 enters Cavalaire station. It was this locomotive that represented Le Chemins de Fer du Sud de la France at the World Fair in Paris in 1889 (Collection: Edmond Duclos).

A 2-4-2T SACM locomotive at the head of a Hyères-Toulon passenger train running along the Eygoutier wharf, a small river to which the Toulonnais give the poetic name of “River of Lovers.” The photo is taken towards the slaughterhouse bridge at the entrance of the Rode (this bridge still exists today, crossing the river). A level crossing allowed to cut at right angles Rue de Cap Brown (nowadays Avenue Resistance) and to cross the tracks of the tram (Line 7 – to Magaud). In the background, are the laboratories and warehouses of Castel-Chabre and the Palmary house selling litter manure for gardens (Collection: R Renaud Sémadéni Corfund).

Type 85 for the manufacturer: 2-4-2T Loco Usable track type: Metre-gauge
Builder: SACM (Alsatian Society of Mechanical Engineering in Belfort Driving Cab: closed with charcoal bunker at the back
Years of construction: 1889-1890 Delivery date: between 1889 and 1890
Number on the South France Railway network: 6 Coupled axles: 2
Wheelbase: 1.30 m
Factory number: Diameter of the coupled wheels: 1.20m
Numbered: 51 to 56 Valve Gear: Allan sliding system
Unloaded weight: between 25.5 and 25.86 tonnes Cylinders: planar drawers
Weight in working order:  33.55 tonnes Estimated power:
Total length:


 8.64 m Estimated maximum speed:
Total width: 2.50 m Water Tank Capacity: 4000 litres
Total height:  3.54 m


Coal Capacity: 1 ton
Usage: June 1926: numbers 51 and 56 were scrapped. In 1935 the remaining locos were withdrawn following the putting into service of the railcars. Nos. 52 and 55 were sold for scrap in October 1937, Nos. 53 and 54 in 1939 – They still had a career of some 50 years.

2. SACM 4-6-0T Series No. 61-62

SACM locomotives numbered 61 and 62 were almost twin sisters of the 4-6-0T Pinguely, the differences are at the rear: the coal hood and open cabin for the 4-6-0T SACM, with the cabin straight and closed for the Pinguely. The shape of the side window is different as well. In this image a SACM 4-6-0T in charge of a train from St. Raphael to Toulon enters La Londe Station.

Locomotive 4-6-0T No. 61 of the Littoral network is seen on display just after out-shopping at the SACM factory in Belfort in June 1900, it is the first of a long line of 124 units delivered to France, Spain and the colonies of French West Africa (Collection: Bernard Rozé).

Type: 4-6-0T Loco with open cab. Usable track type: Metre-gauge
Builder: SACM (Alsatian Society of Mechanical Engineering in Belfort (90) Driving Cab: Open at the back
Year of construction: 1900 Delivery date: 20th June 1900
Number on the South France Railway network: 2 Coupled axles; 3
Factory number: 4963 – 4964 Diameter of the coupled wheels: 1.20m
Numbered:  61 and 62 Valve Gear: Walschaerts
Unloaded weight: 28,400 tons Cylinders: 2
Weight in working order: 36,800 tons Estimated power: 375 hp
Total length: 9.39 m


Estimated maximum speed: 60 km/hr
Total width: 2.50 m Water tank capacity; 4500 litres
Total height: 3.60 m Coal capacity; 1,200 tons
Usage: No. 61 decommissioned around 1944 – No. 62 in 1948


Corpet-Louvet Locomotives on Le Chemins de Fer du Sud Littoral[11]

Corpet-Louvet is the name of a company known particularly for its production of steam locomotives. It was a family business with a focus on motive power for the secondary railway network in France and elsewhere. It had a history of nearly 100 years in railway infrastructure and motive power, although during this period it went through a number of different legal entities. It was active from the second half of the nineteenth century throughout the first half of the twentieth century, with the end of railway production in 1952.
Founded in 1855 as Anjubault, based in the Avenue Phillippe-Auguste in Paris, the firm was taken over by Lucien Corpet in 1868. Corpet’s daughter Marguerite married Lucien Louvet, the engineer of the Compagnie Meusienne des Cheminss de Fer, which used Corpet locomotives. Corpet died in 1889, and the management of the firm was taken over by Louvet. In 1912, the firm moved to new premises at La Corneuve, and a limited liability company, Corpet, Louvet et Compagnie was formed. The last steam locomotive was built in 1953, but the company is still in business, manufacturing ‘Caterpillar’ earth moving equipment under licence.

Corpet-Louvet, could not be ranked with the large locomotive building companies: Schneider et Cie; the Batignolles Construction Company; JF Cail et Cie, the Compagnie de Fives-Lille; André Koechlin & Co. and the Graffenstaden Society. It was a family-size railway manufacturer, which nevertheless satisfied its customers with simple, well-built and robust machines.

Corpet-Louvet locomotives are regularly cited as emblematic of the secondary railways in France. From 1855 until 1952, the plant produced 1962 locomotives. The majority of them were metre-gauge tank locos.

1. Small 0-6-0T Locomotives

Three 0-6-0T Corpet-Louvet series 70 to 72 locomotives were ordered by the company for the line between Cogolin and St Tropez. These 0-6-0T locomotives were of a light weight, suitable for the branch tramways either side of La Foux. The three locos provided this service with two active and one in reserve at all times.

0-6-0T Corpet-Louvet No. 70 stabled at the fuel depot at Toulon Station in around 1930 (Collection GECP).

0-6-0T No. 72 taken at the time of out-shopping at the Corpet-Louvet factory in February 1894. The photo may have been used in a commercial catalogue (Collection: GECP – Pierre Virot – Bernard Rozé).

A few years later, in Toulon, in 1937 0-6-0T Corpet-Louvet N ° 70 awaits disposal for scrap. To the left, No. 71 already has its water tanks removed and is awaiting the same sad fate (Collection: Bernard Rozé).


Type:  0-6-0T Usable track type: Metre-gauge
Builder: Corpet-Louvet

Works in Paris

Driving Cab: closed, lit by 2 oval portholes and equipped with a door opening at the back
Year of construction: 1894 Delivery date: February 1894
Number on the South France Railway network: 3 Coupled axles: 3
Total wheelbase:  1.70 m
Factory number: 591 to 593 Diameter of driving wheels: 0.80 m
Numbered: 70 to 72 Valve Gear: slider and double eccentric Stephenson system
Unloaded weight: 11,540 tons Cylinders: 2 outside planar drawers
Weight in working order: 15,180 tons Estimated power:
Total length:


5,997 m Estimated maximum speed: 20 km / h in ramp of 25 with a load of 40 t
Total width: 2.50 m? Water Tank capacity: 1640 litres
Total height: 2,840 M Coal capacity: 0.445 tonnes
Usage: In October 1937, No. 70 and No. 71 were set aside and sold for scrap then it was the turn of the No. 72.


2. Mikado Locomotives and Other Temporary Residents

During the Second World War, the Littoral network received reinforcement from the largest steam locomotives that had ever been in regular service on a metre-gauge track in France. They were imposing type 2-8-2 tender locomotives (or Mikados). These machines were to be delivered to Senegal but their delivery was blocked. In the spring of 1943, 6 Mikado locomotives were allocated to the company’s network in the Alps and 3 others, numbered 21, 22 and 30 to the Littoral network.

They started service at the end of the summer of 1943. From the end of January 1944, No. 30 was transferred to another network. Only No. 21 and No. 22 ran on the coast line. Because of the worn state of the track, the relatively tight curves and the light rails, there were several derailments. The 2 Mikados left Toulon in 1945, underwent an overhaul by Corpet-Louvet then were sent to Africa, where their service did not last more than a decade before dieselization.

Their sojourn on Le Chemins de Fer du Sud was short and there are very few photographs.

Corpet-Louvet Mikado 2-8-2 locomotive “Dakar-Niger” with its 16m3 bogie tender seen on the Littoral (Collection: Bernard Rozé).

Chemins de Fer Dakar-Niger, Corpet-Louvet 1736 of 1927, was typical of a large number of metre gauge 2-8-2 tender locomotives built for service with the railways of French West Africa. Cylinders: 450mm x 550mm. Coupled Wheels: 1200mm. This is the same class of loco as those used on Le Chemins de Fer du Sud.

The Mikado Locos were not the only temporary residents on the Littoral Network. A BB Mallet locomotive was seen on the network during the occupation in the Second World War. Its sojourn was not a great success nd it was discovered languishing on depot after the German troops withdrew. The Locomotive was built by SACM and served elsewhere in France before being requisitioned for the Chemins de Fer du Sud.

It was requisitioned in July 1943 and then shipped to Toulon. It was first used on behalf of the occupation authorities before being found at the liberation in 1944 stored in the naval workshop near La Londe. Requiring major repairs and no longer serving the needs of the network, the loco was taken to Toulon to be scrapped in 1947.

Interestingly there is a picture of a Mallet Loco (see below) being moved from St. Raphael to the Alpine network on 17th January 1935 which suggests that the loco, or another similar one, served on the network before the war.

The embarkation of locomotive 020 + 020T SACM n ° 32 on wagon PLM at St.Raphaël January 17, 1935, for restitution to the network of general interest of the Alps. The chimney, the valves, the steam dome casing and the cabin were dismantled so as not to exceed the loading gauge (Photo Marcel CAUVIN – G. E. C. P. Collection).

B. Railcars

All the railcars on the Chemins de Fer du Sud Littoral were supplied by one company – Brissonneau et Lotz.

Brissonneau et Lotz

Brissonneau et Lotz [19]was a French locomotive engineering company, engaged in the manufacture of railway locomotives and wagons.[20] The company was also a supplier of rolling stock to the Paris Metro, constructing in 1951 the first metro trains in the world to be equipped with rubber tyres.[20]

In 1837, Etienne Lotz and Paul-Henri Renaud founded an engineering company that quickly became very successful. In 1849, they were the first in France to manufacture locomotives and became the leading manufacturers of agricultural steam engines.

Meanwhile, in 1841: Mathurin (1814-1897) and Joseph (1817-1900) Brissonneau created the engineering company Brissonneau in Nantes, rue du Chapeau Rouge. At the time, they worked for the sugar industry and in shipbuilding. They patented and improved a number of industrial machines.

In 1862, Etienne Lotz left the company he had founded with Renaud and entered, with his son Alphonse (1840-1921) into the service of their main competitors: Brissoneau.
In 1866, Alphonse Lotz, married the daughter of Mathurin Brissonneau. In 1878, Brissonneau Frères became Brissonneau and Lotz and moved from Launay Street to Doulon. By 1908, the company had diversified into boilermaking, refrigerating installations, machine tools, and wagons. At this time Brissonneau and Lotz employed more than 400 skilled workers.

In 1920 they created a factory located sixty kilometres north of Paris in Montataire, the industrial suburb of the city of Creil and decided to build railcars (autorails) primarily for the metre-gauge secondary railways in France and for export.[21]

In 1972, Brissonneau & Lotz was absorbed into Alstom, becoming Alsthom Groupe Brissonneau. The company was founded in Nantes where it had many of its main facilities, but by the time it lost its independence it had acquired or established factories and workshops in many parts of France.[19]

Diesel traction made its appearance on the Chemins de Fer du Sud in Provence in 1935. The diesel service continued until the closure of the line in the late 1940s, apart from the period of the Second World War (1939-1945) during which steam was brought back onto the network.

Trains usually composed a motor unit and a trailer unit, independent bogie coaches but permanently coupled. 10 combined units went into service in 1935 and a further 6 were purchased and in service by 1938. Two of the original batch were destroyed by fire at Frejus.

Steam operation in the 1920s was beginning to prove expensive and the Company was seeking ways to reduce operating costs. Electic traction was seriously considered before the decision was taken in October 1933 to acquire the 10 diesel units. The motor units were 270 horsepower. The order was placed on February 16th, 1934.[11]

These two pictures show models of the units in use from 1935. The models were produced by Ardèche Miniatures and are shown on a garden railway.

Brissonneau & Lotz railcars on the Chemins de Fer du Sud Littoral were painted grey and blue rather than cream and blue.

Brissonneau-&-Lotz in the colours of the Railways of Provence: it is a magnificent model (probably at 1/22.5) made by Jean-Pierre Minard of Le Sarthe, and presente at an amateur meeting about garden trains organized by Ardèche Miniatures in September 2002. The railcar is powered by Aristo-Craft engines/bogies.[22]

The first 10 sets were numbered ZM-1+ZR-1 to ZM-10+ZR-10. The further six sets delivered in 1938 went into service, two to replace ones destroyed by fire and four which became ZM-11+ZR-11 to ZM-14+ZR-14. One was delivered to Draguignan on the Alpine system in 1940 by SNCF, but was returned to St Raphael without being unloaded. There were plans in 1948 to move two to four sets to replace the steam locos on the remaining sections of the Nice-Meyrargues line (which had been badly damaged in the war). Instead, the whole line was abandonned and the coastal railcars were sold for use on the metre-gauge lines of northern Spain. One set is preserved in the narrow gauge museum at Gijon, as shown in the image below the data table. Another set ZM-8+ZR-4 returned from Spain to the Chemins de Fer du Vivarais.

Type: diesel-electric railcar (or self-propelled) Usable track type: Metre-gauge
Builder: Brissonneau and Lotz in Creil Colours: Blue and pale gray.
Year(s) of construction: 1st series 1934 – 1935

2nd series: 1938

Delivery date: from March 1935 to July 1935 – 2nd delivery of 4 railcars in April 1938
Number on the South France Railway network:  14 Formation: 2 boxes permanently coupled by a rigid hitch
Number of seats: 60 including 16 in 1st class and 44 in 2nd class Bogies: Bril type 84-E
Number of standing places: 48 Engine: 2 Berliet MDK 2C diesel engines Ricardo license 2 x 135 hp = 270 hp
Unloaded weight: 35 tons (24 + 11) Engine characteristics: 4 stroke -6 cylinders in-line direct injection
Weight in working order:  41 tons

(26.7 + 14.3)

Power developed by the generators: 90 kwh or 122 hp
Total length:


2 x 12.08 m

= 24.16 m

Electric motors: 4 Brissonneau engines of 45 kw or 180 KW = 245 hp
Total width: 2.70 m Power:  135 hp at maximum speed of 1500 rpm
Total height: Diesel tank capacity:  425 litres
Pivot centre distance: 7.44 m Wheelbase of bogies: 2.00 m
Total wheelbase: 9.44 m by car Wheel diameter: 0.70 m
Maximum speed reached:  about 95 km / h Numbering: ZM 1 to 14 for motor and ZR 1 to 14 for trailers
Usage: 2 railcars were destroyed by a fire in November 1937 – In 1946, the train ZM 9 caught fire at St-Tropez station, in January 1947 it was the turn of the ZM 5 which caught fire on the run near Cavalaire then the ZM 2 was badly damaged in a collision. Sale of the remaining cars was agreed at the closure of the network but did not take place until 1951.


Brissonneau and Lotz EA MAZ 1 former property of Ferocariles Económicos de Asturias. Oviedo Sto- Domingo. Museum of Gijón (Asturias). Daniel P. Lanuza – ©

The railcar is painted in the colours it was given when in use in northern Spain.

In April 1936, 2 railways Brissonneau and Lotz railcars are shown below at Toulon Station. In the middle of the central platform, we can seen the diesel pump from which the railcars were refueled (Photo by Jacques Chapuis – Collection: FACS-UNECTO)
In August 1937, 2 Brissonneau and Lotz railcars at Toulon Station (Collection: FACS-UNECTO).

At Toulon station: the train includes a 1st Class and a 2nd Class coach with a luggage compartment.

The coaches were connected by a gangway to allow the conductor to pass between the coaches. The raised area on the roof housed the engine cooling elements.

The driver did not have a fixed seat at his disposal, a simple wooden stool was delivered with the units. This was quickly replaced in each case by a more comfortable chair. The comfort of the driver was not a priority. There was a toilet on board (1 WC + 1 sink) located in the trailer. This was a good development, the earlier coaches on the system were not equipped with these facilities and passengers had to rely on the frequent station stops to relieve pressing need.

During the war, from 1941 onwards, fuel shortages almost closed the network. Old steam locomotives had to be brought out to sustain the service. Shortly after the liberation, the service resumed with tired old railcars; some damaged by bombing (MZ 1, 5, 7 and 14). The speed limit was reduced from 75 km/hr to 60 km/hr.

At the closure of the network, railcars were sold, where possible. Some found a new life in northern Spain.

A train (ZM 12 + ZR 12) was set aside in 1943 in Creil because there was no money to pay for repairs. The network did not recover after the War. The line closed in June 1948. Some traffic continued between Toulon and Hyères to ensure the workers shuttles, until October 18, 1948. Another train continued running from La Foux towards St. Tropez to cover workers access to the Bertaud torpedo factory. It operated until 4 June 1949. 5 units were set aside immediately at the Fréjus depot awaiting sale.

After many visits from various representatives of other networks, estimates and various consultations, sale was agreed in 1951 to 3 Spanish companies operating metre-gauge lines in the north of the country.

The Ferrocaril Santander – Bilbao (SB) bought 10 units that received new equipment (buffers, hitches, recessed lights) and a green and silver livery with yellow nets. They served the Bilbao-Valmaseda and Bilbao-Santander lines.

Ferrocaril Cantabrico (FC ) commissioned a single train for the Santander – Llanes line.

Ferrocariles Economicos de Asturias (EA ) received a train that covered the Oviedo – Llanes line and an extension beyond on the line of the FC to Santander. The last units continued in operation until 1985.

I have struggled to find images of these Brissoneau and Lotz railcars in service in Spain. Very similar vehicles show up well in photographs. For instance, the first two pictures below show very similar Billiard A 150 D 7 railcars. Friends on the Passions Metrique et Etoile Forum have commented that these were much better vehicles to travel in than the Brissonneau and Lotz autorails.

These three images above show various units operating on the Ferrocaril Santander-Bilbao, only the third of these shows a Brissonneau and Lotz railcar. It is operating in the vicinity of Liérganes and Balmaseda. (Photograph: Ferrán Llauradó. Collection: EuskoTren Archive / Basque Railway Museum).[23] As we have already noted, the middle image above shows a Billiars A 150 D 7 unit on the Reus-Salou line.[24] The top image shows one of the Billiard units on depot.[25]

The image above shows a Brissonneau & Lotz diesel-electric locomotive from the Littoral network (these are covered later in this blog – it is either ZT51 or ZT52) in northern Spain, this time in Asturias. The locotractor was probably numbered EA-MAZ-1 on the Spanish system. The vehicle being towed my be a MAN trailer.

Another unit on the Ferrocariles Economicos de Asturias.

There are a few units in preservation. We have already seen images of one of the preserved units at the Museum of Gijón (Asturias). Another is shown in blue livery below in 2009 at the same museum.

There are enhanced Cine Film Videos of these units in action in Spain. These include the Video on these links:,

In February 1983, the Vivarais Railway (CFV) bought the MCD-8 and the RC-4 trailer and repatriated them to France, despite their poor condition. Currently, it has still not been restored. Here is a picture seen on a forum of (Photo Malletslm -Tournon May 2007).

In addition to these railcar units the Chemins de Fer du Sud had two diesel shunter units – locotractors. These were also supplied by Brissonneau & Lotz.

C. Shunter Units

The ZT 51 and 52 Brissonneau and Lotz Shunters

The electric diesel transmission: one of the unique features of Brissonneau and Lotz railcars and shunters was the use of diesel-electric transmission. This consisted of a diesel engine that drives a generator supplying direct current to electric motors directly driving the wheels of the vehicles.

From 1930 onwards diesel-electric railcars and shunters were built by the Company for a whole series of secondary networks including: the railways of Anjou; the network of the Var; the railways of Provence; the railways of Morbihan; the railways of the Charentes; the railway of the valley of Celles in the Vosges; the railways of Madagascar; the railways of the Port of Reunion (Reunion Island). In 1937, Brissonneau and Lotz built for 16 tramway cars for Lille, intended for. They are intended for the ELRT network (Électrique Lille – Roubaix – Tourcoing). In 1950, a further order was placed by the same network for 28 engines. The Company was also responsible for a large part of the equipment of the Metro in Paris and for networks in Lyon, Marseille, Brussels, Caracas.

Later, in 1949, Brissonneau & Lotz built a series of 10 tractors type 600 CV:

for the Railways of Provence, No. 51-54
for the Railways of Corsica, No. 401-402
for the railways of Dauphine, No. 1 to 4.

ZT-51 locomotive when it left the Brissonneau & Lotz factory in Creil in the spring of 1938 (Collection: José Banaudo). Colours were blue and light gray.

Type: Shunter Usable track type: Metre-gauge
Builder: Brissonneau and Lotz in Creil Colours: Sill: blue; pale gray topside
Year of construction: 1938 Delivery date: the 1st was delivered on the 27/06/1938 and the second on the 01/08/1938 spring 1938, the tests took place on July 22, 1938
Number on the South France Railway network: 2
Number of seats: 0 Number of standing places: 0
Unloaded weight: 25 tonnes Engine characteristics: 4 stroke -6 cylinders in-line direct injection
Weight in working order: 28 tonnes Power: 245 ch
Total length:


12,440 m and 12,320 m off buffers Total width: 2.70 m
Total height: 3.565 m Diesel tank capacity:  425 litres
Total wheelbase: 9.440 m Wheelbase of bogies: 2.00 m
Bogies: 2 Brill bogies Baggage compartment: 7.5 m2
Bogie spacing: 7.440 m Wheel diameter: 0.70 m
Generators: 2 Berliet-Ricardo MDK 2 C of 150 HP each with 6 cylinders in line Generator: Brissonneau of 90 Kwh
Traction motors: 4 electric motors Brissonneau of 40 Kwh Braking: vacuum + rehostatic type brake
Maximum speed reached:  about 60 km / h Numbering: ZT-51 and ZT-52
Usage: ZT-52 damaged by a fire in 1943 but eventually brought back into service. ZT-51 taken out of service in 1951. These units were broken up in 1983 and 1988.


In the autumn of 1936, in the face of the growing success of the railcars, the company and the department decided to order two 300-horsepower locomotives to ensure the traction of freight trains as well as additional passenger trains. In 1943 the ZT-52 caught fire following tests conducted by Brissonneau & Lotz to improve the electric circuit and after a time was brought back into service. ZT-51 remained in service until the closure of the network.
After a period in storage after the line closed, both shunter units were sold for ongoing use in Spain. In 1951 they served for a few days carrying equipment sold to Spain, from Fréjus to St-Raphaël. Once they reached Spain they were remotorized with Renault type 561-B diesel engines and modified to meet local standards.

One was commissioned on Ferrocaril Cantabrico (FC) under No. MD-1; renovated in 1980, it was scrapped in 1983.

The other was used by Ferrocariles Economicos de Asturias (EA) under No. MA-2, Renovated in 1985, it was scrapped in 1988 (50 years after its commissioning).

D. Coaches

Taken in 1937 at Hyeres, this is a two-axle 2nd Class A-2013 Decauville (José BANAUDO Collection).

Mixed car AB-2531 (ex-1031) Hanquet-Aufort seen in 1937 at St. Raphaël was repainted in blue and grey to be used as a trailer behind the railcars Brissonneau & Lotz (José BANAUDO Collection).

Very little of the rolling stock from the line entered into preservation, but a few items did the following photos from the 21st Century provide good details for those who are interested.

One of 2 authentic coaches from Le Chemins de Fer du Sud de la France preserved today. They are used with the steam train managed by the GECP on the Puget-Théniers-Annot route. They are 2nd class bogie coaches, with wooden bodywork, built by Desouches and David (factory in Pantin) in 1892. They were numbered B74 and B77 by the Chemins de Fer du Sud and were renumbered B505 and B508 at the creation of Les Chemins de Fer de Provence in 1925. They are currently in the traditional colours for coaches on the network – a brown / red colour known as Brown-Van Dyck, with the window surropunds and roof in black. The symbol CP of the Railways of Provence o-is on the panel side of the coach together with the Class shown in Roman numerals (Collection: GECP).[11].

Coach AB 506 constructed by Desouches & David, which served originally on Les Chemins de Fer du Sud before being transferred elsewhere. It is now part of the stock of the Vivarais Railway (CFV) – No coaches had a toilets! Only stops in stations allowed passengers to relieve themselves (Photograph: Pierre Virot, 2003).[11]

B-505 is 12.3 m (40.35 ft), its height 3.25 m (10.66 ft), its weight 10.5 t. The seating capacity is 52 passengers. During WWI it was requisitioned for use by the French Army. In June 1915, it was sent to Chemins de Fer de la Camargue (Camargue Railway), and used to transport workers to and from the gunpowder factory in Salin-de-Giraud (near Arles, NW of Marseille). In March the following year it left Camargue and was sent to the war zone near Verdon, to the 10ème Section des Chemins de fer de Campagne, a French military railway unit. It was used for military transport on the narrow gauge line “Le Meusien” (owned by Compagnie Meusienne de Chemins de Fer) in the French department of Meuse. [11]

After the war, it was returned to SF on April 12, 1919. However, the years of military service had left it in a poor condition. It took two years to get it back to operational condition, on 2nd April, 1921. It then served on the network for another 30 years or so. When the use of steam engines ceased after WWII, it escaped being scrapped. It was instead reordered to be used as a service vehicle for railway line maintenance. For this purpose, the interior was gutted to make space for various tools and supplies. Even a sliding door was installed on its side to allow loading of bulky items. It served in this capacity for about a decade, until it was retired during the second part of the 1960s.

With the advent of the preservation movement, B505 was rescued by the GECP and put into service behind its steam engines in Provence. B508 was added to it and restored.

Further restoration work is ongoing at the Puget-Thenier workshops. Pictures follow:Three coaches shown in different states of repair.

A number of modellers have sought to reproduce these coaches, usually in HOm scale.

Photo Aubertrain – Model of a 2nd class coach, Desouches & David du Sud France – At the beginning of the operation, the car bodies were made of teak wood simply painted with the car number, the class indication in figures Romans and the monogram of South France, SF painted in yellow.

Model of a mixed coach of 1st and 2nd class Desouches & David of South France. Photo AuberTrain

Photo Aubertrain – Model of a mixed car of 1st and 2nd class Desouches & David of South France.

Photo Aubertrain – Interior of a passenger car Desouches & David du Sud France

Photo Aubertrain – Model in Om of a mixed car of 1st and 2nd class Desouches & David with the new colors set up on the South France from 1898: for the box: brown-red Van Dyck and black for the roof.

Bogie coaches from the series AB-501 to 508 made by Desouches and David. in HOm (Photo: Metrique43).

Paint schemes are shown below. These are provided by a kit building firm, AuberTrain. [27]


E. Wagons

This image is taken in around 1910 and the station is busy. On the left is a short passenger train from La Foux – St.Raphaël. To its right, we see bags piled up on the platform, a cart loaded with furniture, barrels of wine on an open wagon (Buire X-147) which is equipped with a seat for the brakeman. We also can see, on the left of the picture, workers unloading a De Dietrich wagon No. T-1571 under the canopy of the goods shed (Pierre VIROT Collection).

This image is taken at St. Raphael Station It shows the trans-shipment yard with wagons from Les Chemins de Fer du Sud on the right. Those of the PLM are on the left (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).

Two open wagons stand in the foreground of this picture, parked at Cogolin-Grimaud station around 1910: on the left a T-1522 with interchangeable sideboards (construction Hanquet Aufort in 1899), on the right a T-1563 (construction Magnard in 1901). Both are equipped with the hand turned screw brakes, whose steering wheel is visible at the end of the chassis (Edmond DUCLOS Collection).

Cogolin-Grimaud station around 1910 with an 0-6-0T Corpet-Louve series 70 to 72 ready for departure to La Foux and St. Tropez; on the left, a Hanquet – Aufort series TM-15O1 to 1516 open wagon with removable sides (René CLAVAUD collection).

This picture shows a mixed train from St. Raphael to Toulon, pulled by 2-4-2T SACM No. 56 stopping at La Croix. A line of wagons is stabled in the goods siding. Note the buffer, couplers and coupling for the vacuum brake of the Buire T-1386 open wagon (Philippe LEPINE Collection).

Locomotive Pinguely 4-6-0T No. 62 failed to brake effectively and passed the stopping position in Cavaliere station and struck the Brissonneau & Lotz ZM-10 railcar, train 103, Toulon to St. Raphael. They would usually have passed at this station.
Among the derailed vehicles of the freight train 182, depicted covered wagon J-2141 De Dietrich and a flat V series wagon loaded with sand.

2-axle wagon as used by Les Chemins de Fer du Sud de la France (Photo: Clive Lamming). It compares well with the photos above.

A series of photographs culled from the forum showing older wagons from the network which are still in use, renovated or in sidings waiting for work to be undertaken.[28]




The remaining images show some models made of the goods wagons on Les Chemins de Fer de Provence.

This last image shows the paint schemes used on these wagons.


1. Les Racines de Leurs Vies; Retrieved 20th January 2018.
2. Philippe Mioche & Jacques Roux; Henri Malcor: Un héritier des maîtres de forges; Editions du CNRS, 1999.
3. Corpet-Louvert, Chapter 2, The Classic Six-Coupled Tank; Industrial Railway Society; Retrieved 20th January 2018
4. P. E. Clegg; The Railroad Runs Through the Middle of the House; (.pdf), retrieved 20th March 2008.
5. History of Pinguely-Haulotte SA;; Retrieved 20th January 2018. Which says:“Pinguely had been a manufacturer of steam locomotives, producing more than 25 steam locomotives in the years around the turn of the 20th century.” Other references suggest that the number made was over 360 locomotives between 1881 and 1932. See reference [8].
6. The Train Tram Concept, Part 1 – Historical Context; The Locomotive & Carriage Institution; Retrieved 20th January 2018.
7. When our past legitimises our future; (.pdf), Haulotte Group Magazine 13th October 2007;; p5. Retrieved 20th January 2018.
8. Pinguely; Wikipedia; Retrieved 20th January 2018.
9. Arrivée de la PINGUELY 030 No. 103; Le Train du Bas-Berry Retrieved 21st January 2018.
10. Notice No. PM07000324 , Protection des droits des auteurs de la base Palissy , French Ministry of Culture; Retrieved 21st January 2018.
11. Roland Le Corff; Retrieved 13th December 2017.
12. Marc Andre Dubout; Retrieved 4th January 2018.
13. Jean-Pierre Moreau; Retrieved 24th December 2017.
14. José Banaudo; Histoire des Chemins de Fer de Provence – 2: Le Train du Littoral (A History of the Railways of Provence Volume 2: The Costal Railway); Les Éditions du Cabri, 1999.
15. Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques; Retrieved 21st January 2018.
16. Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques; Retrieved 21st January 2018.
17. Corpet-Louvet; Wikipedia; Retrieved on 22nd January 2018.
18. C. W. Clingan; Corpet-Louvet: Locomotive Builders; The Industrial Railway Record. The Industrial Railway Society. 3 (27). December 1968,, p129-153. Retrieved 22nd January 2018.
19. Brissoneau & Lotz; Wikipedia; Retrieved 20th January 2018.
20. René Bellu; Automobilia. Toutes les voitures françaises 1959 (salon Paris Oct 1959). Paris: Histoire & collections. 21: 14, 2002.
21. L’Usine de Creil; (Brissoneau & Lotz); Retrieved 23rd January 2018.
22. Ardèche Miniatures;, retrieved 18th March 2018; and, retrieved 23rd January 2018.
23. Historias del Tren; Retrieved 23rd January 2018.
24. Quaranta Anys Sense el Carrilet; Retrieved 23rd January 2018.
25. Carrilet Tortosa – Amposta -La Cava; Retrieved 23rd January 2018.
26. Pasando Pagina;, 29th July 2013. Retrieved 23rd January 2018.
27. AuberTrain; Retrieved 25th January 2018.
28. Les Chemins de Fer de Provence; Les Forums de Passions Métrique et Etroite; Retrieved 25th January 2018.


1. Henri Domengie, Les petits trains de jadis – Sud-est de la France, ed. du Cabri, 1985.
2. Claude Wagner , “Les locomotives Pinguely 030T type 107 : et types proches,” Chemins de fer régionaux et urbains, vol. 1997/1, no 259,‎ 1997, p. 5-20 (ISSN 1141-7447).
3. Frédéric Toublanc, Tacot et galoche en Roannais et Forez : Histoire des Chemins de fer départementaux de la Loire, editions de l’Ormet, 1993 (ISBN 2-906575-17-8, notice BnF No. FRBNF35671053).

Ligne du Littoral (Toulon to St. Raphael) – Part 13 – Sainte Maxime via Aygulf and Fréjus to Saint Raphael (Chemins de Fer de Provence 48)

The small town of Sainte-Maxime [5] is south facing, at the northern shore of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez. In the north, the Massif des Maures mountain range protects it from cold winds of the Mistral. Sainte Maxime was founded around 1000 AD by Monks from the Lérins Islands outside Cannes. They built a monastery and named the village after one of the Saints of their order – Maxime.

Fishing was the mainstay for the inhabitants, but during the early 19th century increasing amounts of lumber, cork, olive oil and wine was shipped to Marseilles and to Italy. The village grew and in the 20th century it started to attract artists, poets and writers who enjoyed the climate, the beautiful surroundings and the azure blue water.

In front of the old town you find the characteristic tower – La Tour Carrée – built by the monks in the early 16th century to protect the village from invaders. With an addition of a battery of cannons and with the Tour du Portalet in Saint Tropez the whole bay was protected. As late as in the beginning of the 19th century, Napoleon ordered a restoration of the battery while also adding cannons on the Lérins Islands. The tower is now a museum.

On 15th August 1944, the beach of Sainte Maxime was at the centre of Operation Dragoon, the invasion and liberation of the Southern France during World War II. “Attack Force Delta”, based around the 45th Division, landed at Sainte Maxime. There was fierce “house to house” fighting before the Germans were decimated and eventually surrendered. By the foot of the Harbour pier and by La Garonette Beach there are memorials at the respective landing places honouring the US troops.The beach at Sainte-Maxime in 1938. The new road bridge is visible in the top right of the picture. This scene would change dramatically over the next few years and ultimately this would be one on the invasion beaches in 1944.

A very early view of Sainte-Maxime showing the main road into the village from the West.
The image below shows a temporary railway installed by a contractor in the centre of the village to facilitate the construction work on the harbour walls. The church and the defensive tower are in evidence as well.

We will focus now on the station. The image below shows a train arriving from St. Raphael. The picture shows the Station building after it had had been enlarged by two single story wings.

This aerial view of Sainte-Maxime was taken after the Second World War. It seems to show a breach in the harbour wall. The defensive tower and the church can be seen in the bottom right of the image close to the landward end of the harbour wall. The railway line is highlighted in orange with the station location flagged. At this time the station location was on the very edge of the village with open fields beyond.

In this early shot of the station from the South-east, we see the original building without the extensions. Horse-drawn carriages make the connection between the village centre and the station. The picture was taken shortly after 1900 (Paul CARENCO Collection).

Also taken before the extensions were built and not showing the goods shed, although this may be just off the picture to the right, this image shows another train arriving from St. Raphael on its way to Toulon. The setting of the station is rural. The picture was taken around 1905 (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).

This photograph shows the Station and the Station Café early in the 1900s. The extensions on the station building are not yet built. Horse-drawn carriages are once again in evidence (Paul CARENCO Collection).

The village was sometimes known as Sainte-Maxime-Plan-de-la-Tour or Sainte-Maxime-sur-Mer. This image is taken in around 1910 and the station is busy. On the left is a short passenger train from La Foux – St.Raphaël. To its right, we see bags piled up on the platform, a cart loaded with furniture, barrels of wine on an open wagon (Buire X-147) which is equipped with a seat for the brakeman. We also can see, on the left of the picture, workers unloading a De Dietrich t-1571 wagon under the canopy of the goods shed (Pierre VIROT Collection).

In this photo, the conductor guides passengers into a carriage at Sainte-Maxime. The picture was taken in 1925 (François MORENAS collection).

The extended passenger station building taken in winter from the station square.

This picture was taken in 1965 and shows the station site from the North.

Two interesting cameos now follow.

The first is of the station after the tidal wave of 28th September 1932. It shows a train of good wagons half overturned by the waves (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).

The second is taken immediately after an accident at the railway crossing over Le Petite Pointe on 13th June 1937. A Brissonneau & Lotz railcar towing a bogie car hit a motor car crossing the track at the entrance to the station (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).

And finally, the Station site in Sainte-Maxime remains as an open space, it is the market place. Moreau [3] has shown the route of the line as an overlay on the satellite images from Google.
Back at the station, we wait for the train to St. Raphael.

The train sets off around the back of Sainte-Maxime and out in a big loop into what was countryside, following what is now the Route Jean Corona, now a one-way street heading approximately North-East to South-West, but then a single-track line carrying trains in both directions. After a roundabout the road name changes to Avenue du Debarquement and runs roughly West to East. The formation is overlain by tarmac but can be seen on the left in the first colour image.


As the road and the line get closer once again to the coast, the line swings away north of the Avenue du Debarquement and eventually finds itself following what is now called Place du 2eme Regiment de Cuirassier into Nartelle. The next image is taken looking back down the line towards Sainte-Maxime. Despite redevelopment of the area, the layout of the buildings in this immediate location remains roughly the same as it was when the line was in use. The monochrome photograph was taken in the 1930s and shows the station building for the halt of La Nartelle (Collection Pierre LECROULANT). The station building is now a private dwelling.


Despite a general deterioration in the maintenance of fixed installations along the line, some of the halts frequented by tourists were improved in the years 1925-30: this is the case here at the La Nartelle halt, which received new benches and a pergola (Photo Marcel CAUVIN – Pierre VIROT collection).

The halt was very close to the sea wall, as this image makes clear. The gates to the right of the picture have long-gone but gave access onto an estate which was owned by a German family – the Kronprinz estate. The railway continued off to the right of the picture above the sea wall.

I remain to be convinced, but Jean-Pierre Moreau says that the photo above is taken at the same location where the coast-road and the railway meet at La Nartelle after the railway has looped round the back of Sainte-Maxime. If this is the case, then this is a much earlier image and is taken before there has been any significant development at La Nartelle (Edmond DUCLOS Collection).

The railway continues from La Nartelle along the sea wall and beside the road (now the D559) through Le Saut-du-Loup, a halt that was opened in 1938 and on towards La Garonnette-Plage Val-d’Esquières (originally La Garonnette-Plage) which was opened in 1913.

This picture shows the railway between the two halts close to La Garonnette-Plage. The formation has been ballasted with earth and gravel from La Garonette beach (Pierre LECROULANT Collection).

The Brissonneau & Lotz railcar is stopped at La Garonnette-Plage Val-d’Esquières. It has a concrete shelter. The picture was taken in around 1938 (Collection Pierre LECROULANT).

Immediately after the stop of La Garonette-Plage-Val d’Esquières, the line crossed the Pont de la Garonette. The picture below is taken looking back toward Sainte-Maxime. The bridge was a metal structure which was given a new 23 metre deck after the original had been washed away in 1901 (Pierre VIROT collection).

The structure is shown below in a 1978 photograph when the parallel road structure was still a single-lane metal bridge as well.

Around 1985, the latter was rebuilt in concrete and, during construction a crane on a temporary track of metre gauge was installed on the old railway bridge to facilitate the handling of materials (Photo José BANAUDO).

In the early 21st Century, the old railway bridge still sits alongside the much newer road bridge.
Beyond the bridge the railway continues to run between road and sea-shore, until perhaps 300 metres, before reaching the halt of La Garonnette San-Peire (originally La Garonnette). Here the railway slipped away inland a little from the road. The formation can be seen under tarmac on the left of the picture below.

Within 300 metres of this point the line ran into the halt of La Garonnette San-Piere. It was an important goods loading point. Wood from Les Maures forests was a major source of traffic, and in the image below we can see a lot of pit props ready to be loaded onto a goods train at La Garonnette station. The locomotive in this view is a 4-6-0T SACM locomotive series 61 – 62 (Jean BAZOT Collection).

From this point the railway followed the curvature of the hill rising slightly above the road and running a little inland from the D559, first along what is now Allee de l’Ombrine, then along what is now called Allee Ancien Train des Pignes. The first Google Streetview image looks back along the line towards La Garonnette Halt. The next halt was Les Issambres, which opened in 1937. The line had now risen to about 18 metres above sea-level. The second Google Streetview image looks forward along the line from close to Les Issambres.

The line is in cutting and by this time it is travelling Northwards. It crosses a stream valley, although it is impossible to see the culvert which must carry water under the route of the line. Within about 500 meters the line is back close to the D559.

The vehicles parked on the left-hand verge of the D559 in the next picture are on the formation of the old railway.

The line continues beside the road through the halt called La Gaillarde and across the Pont de la Gaillarde, a 10 metre span metal girder bridge.

This was the site of an accident on 22nd January 1938. The Railcar which was providing service 108 between St. Raphael and Toulon derailed as a result of a broken axle in its trailer (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).

The second image of this accident is taken after the trailer car has been removed and the immediately damaged track lifted (GECP Collection).There is a cycleway on the line of the railway now and that cycleway has been provided with a new bridge in the same location as the old railway bridge.

The railway line continues alongside the D559 and its formation continues to be under a cycleway. For some distance this runs above the height of the road by a metre or two. The line then, once again, leaves the D559, this time along what is now Boulevard Alexis Carrel. It does not return to run alongside the D559 until another kilometre has passed. The Boulevard Alexis Carrel is another single-lane road and is restricted to one-way traffic, this time in a North-Easterly direction.

Just before returning to run alongside the D559 the line passed through the halt of Les Rives-d’Or. This halt had a concrete shelter and opened in 1938. The photo was probably taken that year (Robert ALEXANDRE Collection).

We are now approaching the next significant stop on the line – St. Aygulf. Although this was only classed as a halt it grew to have a reasonable importance in the years prior to the Second World War. The St. Aygulf station was sheltered amidst the cork oaks as can be seen on the photograph below the plan (incidentally the plan is oriented along the line which was actually travelling roughly North-South, not East-West). The town was known as “Rocquebrunre/Saint-Aygulf” until 1894.The station opened with the line in 1889 with a single line and a small station building. This was augmented in 1890 by a single siding facing St. Raphaël and a goods platform. The siding was then turned into a loop in 1894. The station was demolished in 1944 by German troops organising defences against possible invasion (Pierre NICOLINI Collection).

As soon as the Littoral line was opened, additional work was carried out in some stations to adapt them for the traffic which they were experiencing. This picture from the last years of the 19th Century shows the two tracks through the station. The main track is laid on crushed stone ballast, while the goods track created in 1890 is based on a sand ballast (Pierre NICOLINI Collection).

In these next pictures the station is seen first from the courtyard (Raymond BERNARDI Collection) and then from the platform side. Significant activity is taking place in the second image. A mixed train from St. Raphael to Toulon has stopped at the station in around 1925. On the siding a shallow open wagon and a box wagon can be seen alongside the mixed train (Pierre NICOLINI Collection).

Train 103 from Toulon to St. Raphael was involved in an accident on 11th January 1924 at St. Aygulf (Paul CARENCO Collection).

A Brissonneau & Lotz railcar burned in full close to St.Aygulf: this is probably one of two trains accidentally destroyed in this way in autumn 1937, which necessitated replacement by two new units the next year (Paul CARENCO Collection). The fire started in the motor unit and spread to the trailer, as can be seen below (Paul CARENCO Collection).

After leaving the Station at St. Aygulf the line entered a deep cutting before reaching the next halt, Saint-Aygulf Plage.

The stop of St. Aygulf Plage was called “Villepey-les-Bains” until 1924. It opened in 1903 but was only open from April to October each year (both pictures from the Pierre NICOLINI Collection).
There are two bridges at the main outfall from the Villepey ponds. The first bridges at the site were built by the Eiffel Company. Sadly, these bridges lasted only a short while. There was a flood on 28th November 1900. The 55 metre bridge was washed away and back-filled by 1903. A replacement bridge was built by 1906 by Gosset of Toulon.

Eiffel built the 55 metre bridge as eleven 5 metre spans. As the pictures show this appeared to be a very fragile structure which might have been adequate for the vertical loading from the trains of the time but probably did not make enough allowance for the dynamic sideways forces it would experience at time of high-flood in the river estuary it crossed, nor even possibly for braking forces from a heavily loaded train. One of the pictures below shows a constructor’s train on the bridge and it seems to dwarf the construction. It is difficult to imagine what this bridge looked like in regular use. The two pictures are from the GECP Collection. The new bridge was completed in 1906 and proved to be an altogether much more substantial structure. It spanned 57 meters approximately and stood on abutments which have survived into the 21st Century alongside the new road bridge.

A number of images of the main span and side spans follow:

A view of the beach from the railway bridge.

A distant view of the two bridges – Villepey No.1 and Villepey No. 2.In 1925, a train from St. Raphael arrives at the bridge.

In around 1932, a mixed train from St. Raphael to Toulon crosses the bridge. The bearings and the abutment can easily be seen.

The 57.30 m single-span steel truss bridge of 1906 can be seen at the centre of this picture. In the foreground the short spans approaching the bridge can be seen. These short spans were known as Villepey Bridge No. 1 and the larger span was know as Villepey Bridge No. 2. (Edmond DUCLOS Collection).

This picture was taken in the years between the two World Wars. The concrete arched road bridge has been completed. It was built in 1931. The photographer is standing on Bridge No. 1 (Photo Charles DAVID).

The abutment between Bridge No. 1 and Bridge No. 2. The photo is probably taken in 1932 (Photo Charles DAVID).

Taken at about the same time. A group of hunters stand on the railway formation (Photo Charles DAVID).

The beach of St. Aygulf attracted crowds of bathers every summer to the Villepey-les-Bains temporary halt. Villepey Bridge No. 2 can be seen in the background (Pierre NICOLINI Collection).

In this view from the modern road bridge, the more northerly abutment of the old railway bridge can still easily be seen. Soon after crossing these two bridge a third was encountered. The 3ème Pont de Villepey was a 12 metre span over a flood relief channel.

A rail accident close to St. Aygulf. I don’t have the date, any details of the accident or the circumstances that caused it.

The beach at St. Aygulf in 1950.

The beach in the 21st Century.

A compilation of images from the German fortifications, taken immediately after the Second World War are shown in the image below. Top middle is a view of the beach at St. Aygulf, top right is a view of the bridge over the Grand Argens.

A short distance further along the line towards St. Raphael the railway had to cross the Grand Argens River. Gustave Eiffel constructed the bridge in 1888. In the first image temporary formwork has been erected prior to placing the permanent structure (Photo FERRARI – Edmond DUCLOS collection – GECP).

In this second image, further progress has been made. It shows the site after the flood of 6th September 1888. On the left, the two large frames of wood will be used as formwork for the construction of the abutments. In the centre, piles are being driven into the river bed. In the foreground we can see the metal elements which will be fabricated to make the bridge. There were three spans of 25 metres each (Photo FERRARI – Edmond DUCLOS collection – GECP).

The completed bridge. The picture was taken in 1889 (GECP Collection).

This final image of the Grand Argens Bridge shows it in a dilapidated state just before closure.

This road bridge is on the alignment of the old railway bridge.

Within very short shrift the line crossed the Pont du Petit Argens. I have not been able to find many images of this bridge. The one below is displayed on Jean-Pierre Moreau’s webpage. In the autumn of 1888, a team of workers from the Gustave Eiffel company set out to set up the twelve (5 metre) metal spans that would form the bridge deck of the 60 m Pont du Petit Argens (Photo FERRARI – Edmond DUCLOS collection – GECP).

The old railway bridge was on the line of the present highway (D559) bridge.

After crossing the canal the line travelled on the level to Frejus Station which was a small distance to the south-side of the small town of Frejus. We won’t stop here for any significant time as we are only 15 minutes or so from our final destination of St. Raphael just a little further along the coast. The first overhead image below is an aerial photograph of Frejus Station around the time of the closure of the line. Frejus is to the north of the station and was reached after crossing the coastal PLM line which is just out of shot at the top of the image.

The dominant line of trees marks the route of the present D98B. The well-defined white areas at the bottom right of the image are the aprons and taxiways of Frejus Airport.

An aerial photo of the airport can be seen below. The picture shows the airport in 1939 just before the start of the war.

This image is to approximately the same scale as the aerial photograph of the railway station and shows the same area in the 21st Century. The D559 follows the line of the old railway. Boulevard de la Mer follows the tree-lined road in the previous image of the station site. The Old PLM station just off the image to the North is now the SNCF station for Frejus.

We will have a quick look around the village/town of Frejus before returning to the station and then continuing our journey into St. Raphael. It is a place with a long history stretching back beyond Roman times and with evident archaeological sites from the Roman era.

The origins of Frejus probably lie with the Celto-Ligurian people who settled around the natural harbour of Aegytna. The remains of a defensive wall are still visible on Mont Auriasque and Cap Capelin. The Phoenicians of Marseille later established an outpost on the site.

Frejus was strategically situated at an important crossroads formed by the Via Julia Augusta (which ran between Italy and the Rhône) and the Via Domitiana. Although there are only few traces of a settlement at that time, it is known that the famous poet Cornelius Gallus was born there in 67 BC.[7, 9].

Julius Caesar wanted to supplant Massalia (ancient Marselles) and he founded the city as ‘Forum Julii’ meaning ‘market of Julius’; he also named its port ‘Claustra’. The exact date of the founding of Forum Julii is uncertain, but it was certainly before 43 BC since it appears in the correspondence between Plancus and Cicero. 49 BC is most likely.

Octavius repatriated the galleys taken from Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium here in 31 BCE.[10] and between 29 and 27 BCE, Forum Julii became a colony for his veterans of the eighth legion, adding the suffix Octavanorum Colonia.[11]

Augustus made the city the capital of the new province of Narbonensis in 22 BCE, spurring rapid development. It became one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean; its port was the only naval base for the Roman fleet of Gaul and only the second port after Ostia until at least the time of Nero.[12]

Subsequently, under Tiberius, the major monuments and amenities still visible today were constructed: the amphitheatre, the aqueduct, the lighthouse, the baths and the theatre. Forum Julii had impressive walls of 3.7 km length that protected an area of 35 hectares. There were about six thousand inhabitants. The territory of the city, extended from Cabasse in the west to Fayence and Mons in the north.

Frejus became an important market town for craft and agricultural production. Agriculture developed with villa rusticas such as at Villepey[13] and St. Raphael. Mining of green sandstone and blue porphyry and fish farming contributed to the thriving economy. In 40 CE Gnaeus Julius Agricola, who later completed the Roman conquest of Britain, was born in Forum Julii. He was father-in-law of the historian Tacitus, whose biography of Agricola mentions that Forum Julii was an “ancient and illustrious colony.”[14] The city was also mentioned several times in the writings of Strabo and Pliny the Elder.

In early 69 the Battle of Forum Julii was fought between the armies of the rival emperors Otho and Vitellius.[15] The exact location of this battle is not known, but afterwards Vitellius retreated to Antipolis.

The 4th century saw the creation of the diocese of Fréjus, France’s second largest after that of Lyon; the building of the first church is attested in 374 AD with the election of a bishop. Saint-Léonce became Bishop of Fréjus in 433 AD and wrote: “From 374 AD, at the Council of Valencia, a bishop was appointed in Frejus, but he never came. I was the first of the bishops of that city. I was able to build the first Cathedral with its Baptistry.”

An archaeological dig in July 2005[16] revealed a portion of ancient rocky coast which showed it was almost one kilometre further inland than current estimates. In the middle of the 1st century A.D. at the time of the creation of Forum Julii, this coastline was a narrow band of approximately 100m wide at the south of the Butte Saint-Antoine. This means that the ancient coast-line would have approximated to the line of the Chemin de Fer du Sud de la France. Further recent archaeology has revealed much information on the ancient port.[17]

A Triton monument was discovered at the entrance to the harbour. This statue and the remains of a Roman building at the end of the eastern quay nearby, shows this site to be a lighthouse. Two lighthouses were constructed on the quays and a third assisted mariners in locating the harbour’s sea entrance. The third, situated on the Île du Lion de Mer, would have been the primary beacon that ships would have navigated toward. As ships approached the harbour, the Triton lighthouse on the northern side of the channel into the harbour and the other lighthouse on the southern side would have marked the entrance and thus provided safe passage into the harbour.

The ruins of one of these lighthouses can be seen just to the North of the site of the old station.

Wandering north from the Butte Saint-Antione, we very quickly reach the old Town of Frejus.

The PLM/SNCF railway runs across the bottom half of the satellite image. The rebuilt Roman amphitheatre is easily seen on the top left and the tight-knit streets of the old town fill the right half of the image. The Chemin de Fer du Sud Line was just off the southern edge of this photograph.

The amphitheatre has been significantly ‘improved’. A new facility sits within the old walls.

The old amphitheatre has been cloaked in a modern concrete shell to make a local venue. You could argue that it has been vandalised! The work was undertaken in 2012.

In addition to the amphitheatre, the town also has the remains of several pillars of a 20 mile long aqueduct; portions of a theatre; two gates – La Porte d’Oree and Porte des Gauls; a tower signifying the entrance to the harbor, Augustus’ Lantern; and Roman ramparts. The aqueduct was to the east of Frejus and brought water from the nearby hills.

Various Roman antiquities, including the gates and aqueducts and parts of the old forum.

Frejus declined significantly in the Middle Ages, from a city of upwards of 10,000 to a population of perhaps no more than 1500. Nevertheless the cathedral is a significant building.

The town today has a population of around 50,000 people. In the middle of the 20th Century it experienced a catastrophic event, the failure of a dam further up the valley of the River Reyran. The Malpasset Dam was built between 1952 and 1954. On 2nd December 1959, it failed.

The Dam was 7km north of Fréjus. It was a doubly curved, equal angle arch type with variable radius.

Shortly after 9 pm on 2nd December 1959, the dam failed and pieces of the dam can still be seen today scattered throughout the area. The breach created a massive wave, 40 m high, moving at 70 kilometres per hour. It destroyed two small villages, Malpasset and Bozon, a highway construction site nearby and 20 minutes later reached Fréjus. The wave was still 3 metres high. Various small roads and railroad tracks were destroyed on the way, water flooded the western half of Fréjus town before finally reaching the sea.

Malpasset Dam was meant to supply a steady stream of water for irrigation in a region where summers are dry and rains capricious. Under the stress of a vicious downpour of seasonal rains and probably due to fissures in the rock that supported its foundation, the dam collapsed.
The inquiry noted that in the weeks before the breach, some cracking noises had been heard, though not properly checked. In November 1959 minor leaks started to appear in the dam.
Between 19th November and 2nd December 1959, the area had 50 cm of rainfall, in the last 24 hours before the breach alone, 13 cm were recorded. The water level in the dam was only 28 cm away from the top. As rains continued, the site manager wanted to open the discharge valves, but the authorities refused, claiming the highway construction site wuld be a risk of flooding. Just 3 hours before the breach, at around 6 pm, the water release valves were opened, but a discharge rate of 40 m³/s was unfortunately not enough to empty the reservoir in time.
The damage to the valley, to the villages and to the town of Fréjus was significant. The tragedy cost the lives of 423 people. Contemporary and more recent photos follow.

The Dam as built in 1954.

Malpasset Dam in the 21st Century.

The dam bust of 1959 was devastating for the town of Fréjus and as can easily be seen in the later pictures it had a significant effect on the town’s railways. By 1959, the Chemin de Fer du Sud was closed and the pictures all show the standard Gauge SNCF line.


There is a presentation about the dam failure available on-line at

Films about the dam failure can be found at:, and

A full detailed report on the failure can be found at

It is with some sense of sadness that we turn away from the tragedy of 1959 and finish wandering around the town before heading south to the station.A final look at some Roman ruins before crossing the SNCF/PLM Railway Line.

The SNCF Station in Frejus in 21st Century and inn earlier years ….

And then back to the Chemin de Fer du Sud Station just a little further south. When we arrive we have a few moments to notice a minor accident at the turntable in the station which took place on 28th April 1907.

An 0-6-0T Pinguely Series 41-44 was erroneously directed into the depot area while the turntable was aligned to allow cleaning. There was a fatality. A postal employee perished in his van which was caught between the loco and the first passenger coach of the train. Incidentally, these locomotives were altered not long after this picture was taken to add a front bogie and become 2-6-0T locos (Raymond BERNARDI Collection)

The body of the mixed bogie car AB-1016 (future 2506) Buire, has run through into the postal van. The coach was at this time covered with teak slats, simply varnished (Michel FRANCHITTI Collection).

The people of Frejus came out in large numbers to see the accident. Inaddition to seeing the crowd we can also pick out key buildings at the station in this image – the engine shed and water tower are at the rea of the image (Pierre NICOLINI Collection).

The station layout shows the location of the turntable which features in the accident in the pictures above. We have some time before the next train arrives and so can have a good look around the station and its vicinity. The station opened in 1889. It included 2nd Class Station facilities with a goods shed, an engine shed capable of stabling two locos, repair shops, two main tracks and a goods track and a water tower. In 1900, the engine shed was enlarged to accommodate four locomotives. Little remains of the station. Many of its buildings were demolished in 1966 and between Fréjus and St.Raphaël, the line is now used by cars, under the names of Avenue de Provence and Avenue Victor Hugo (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).

In this view, we see a mixed train heading to Hyères and Toulon (Jean-Paul PIGNEDE Collection).

The passenger station building was not demolished until 1996 when it was removed to make way for a fast food restaurant (Photo Guy MEYNEUF).

One bay of the loco shed has been converted into a garage by the Departmental Directorate of Equipment (Photo Equipment José BANAUDO).

A major fire destroyed the workshop building on 19th May 1948. Five railcars were destroyed, including the four new Renault 215-Ds, but also all the parts needed to maintain railcars across the system (GECP Collection).

The former locomotive workshop was converted into a depot for road services serving the Var coast. Here we see two Renault 215-D and R-4190 coaches from CP in 1955. (Photo Paul CARENCO).

We are left with a reasonably rich portfolio of photographs of locomotives and railcars at Frejus. These images follow.

2-4-2T locomotive No. 56 when it left the SACM factory in Belfort in April 1889 had represented the Sud-France company at the World Fair in Paris, before entering service on the Littoral line. Here its sister 2-4-2T No. 53 is seen on the tracks of the depot at Fréjus (Edmond DUCLOS Collection).

2-6-0T Pinguely No. 44 locomotive in August 1947 stabled out of service at the Fréjus depot (José BANAUDO Collection).

During the summer of 1948, 4-6-0T Pinguely No. 66 locomotive was parked in front of a Brissonneau & Lotz railcar at the Fréjus depot; in the background it is [possible to pick out the fire-damaged diesel workshop, now without its roof (Photo Jean MONTERNIER – François COLLARDEAU collection).

Two locomotives stabled out of service at the Fréjus depot after the Second World War: 2-6-0T Pinguely No. 43 in front of the 4-6-0T Pinguely No. 65 in August 1949 (Jean-Pierre VERGEZ-LARROUY Collection).

Moreau says that this is a Brissonneau & Lotz Autorail train under test prior to export, pictured in front of the goods shed at Frejus in December 1939 (Photo Pierre BARRY).

The Littoral network was closed for a variety of reasons, but not because of a lack of travellers! This excursion train, seen in Fréjus, consists of a Brissonneau & Lotz railcar, a “jardinière” loaded with passengers and bicycles, and a wooden car; the building of the diesel workshop can be seen in the background. As this caught fire in May 1948, this image is taken before that date (Gérard COMELAS collection).

At Easter 1951, nearly three years after the closure of the network, Brissonneau & Lotz await their fate at the depot at Fréjus. They are fortunate in that they will not be broken up as they have been sold for use in Spain. On the left is a wagon chassis of the Tramways Alpes-Maritimes (TAM) used as flat car, and on the right motors ZM-5 and 9 burned out (Paul CARENCO Collection).

Also taken in 1951 (Photo Paul CARENCO).

After the closure of the network, the railcars Brissonneau & Lotz remained parked for three years at the Frejus depot while waiting to find a new job. An unidentified train is shown next to a 2-6-0T Pinguely locomotive series 41 to 44 (Hidalgo ARNERA Collection).

In August 1949 the trailers ZR-6 and 14 form a large double trailer (Jean-Pierre VERGEZ-LARROUY Collection).

Another Brissonneau & Lotz railcar parked in front of the old diesel workshop of Fréjus, in ruins after his fire (Hidalgo ARNERA Collection).

We have seen everything we can at Frejus and so get on the next train to Saint-Raphael. Typical of the railcars on this line is the model in the picture below. It is more likely that the railcars  on the line were coloured grey and blue, rather than cream and blue.

The railway line left Frejus station travel in an easterly direction. The route is now covered by the D559, Avenue de Provence. There was a halt on the line – Frejus-Plage only a short distance from St. Raphael.

Just before reaching the PLM railway line the Chemin de Ferdu Sud crossed a river bridge – Pont du Pédégal. The bridge has been replaced by this road bridge.

The line then passed under the PLM/SNCF main-line before rising on a relatively steep grade up to the level of the PLM/SNCF track in Saint-Raphael Station, crossing another river bridge on the way – Pont de la Garonne.

These two aerial images are taken in 1945 and show the last few hundred metres of the railway line that we have been following. The second focusses on the joint station at St. Raphael.

As we leave our train we have a good look around St. Raphael Station.
Both PLM (right) and SF (left) stations faced each other at St. Raphael (Jean BAZOT Collection).

Around 1905, a PLM Marseille to Nice train enters the station of St. Raphael, where connecting travellers have only two tracks to cross from SF station, on the right (Hidalgo ARNERA Collection).

At the eastern end of the St. Raphael station, the transit wharf and a 6-ton crane allowed for the transhipment of goods (sleepers, props and wine barrels) between the Chemin de Fer du Sud wagons (on the right ) and those of the PLM, or vice versa (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).

We have on record a few images of locomotives, railcars and rolling stock from the Chemin de Fer du Sud when at St. Raphael. A number of these follow.

The loading of locomotive 0-4-0 + 0-4-0T SACM No. 32 onto a PLM Wagon at St. Raphaël on 17th January 1935. It is being returned to a metre gauge system in the Alps. The chimney, the valves, the steam dome casing and the cabin were dismantled so as not to exceed the loading gauge or foul other rail furniture along the way (Photo Marcel CAUVIN – GECP collection).

Mixed car AB-2531 (ex-1031) Hanquet-Aufort seen in 1937 at St. Raphaël was repainted in blue and grey to be used as a trailer behind the railcars Brissonneau & Lotz (José BANAUDO Collection).

Brissonneau & Lotz ZM + ZR-1 and 2 of the Railroad and Port of Reunion (CPR), stabled at St. Raphael during testing in December 1939 (Collection Bernard Roze).

During the tests of the first Brissonneau & Lotz railcars in the spring of 1935, a group of railway workers gathered at the St. Raphael station. The operational staff are in caps and in the jackets with double row of buttons, while the drivers and workshop staff (from Fréjus) wear working outfits or more informal civilian clothes (René CLAVAUD Collection).

New Brissonneau & Lotz railcar at the Chemin de Fer du Sud platform at St.Raphaël (GECP Collection).

On 29th August 1941, a Brissonneau & Lotz railcar sits at the Western end of the platform in St. Raphael Station. It is waiting for the connection with a train on the PLM railway between Marseille and Ventimiglia; in the foreground, we can see the SNCF standard gauge track and on the left a “butterfly,” a small reflectorized signal indicating the position of the point at the station (Photo Michel DUPONT-CAZON).

Milk churns and other packages are being unloaded from the Brissonneau & Lotz ZM-3 + ZR-8 railcar at St.Raphaël station around 1947 (FACS-UNECTO collection).

The next two images are of the Chemin de Fer du Sud station building after closure of the line. The first shows St. Raphaël station with a Renault R-4190 coach after the station has been commandeered to be used for road transport (Photo Marcel CAUVIN).

The second shows the station building being demolished in 1958. Nowadays, this location is occupied by the bus station (Pierre NICOLINI collection).

The satellite image shows the station site in the 21st Century.

We also have plan views which show the station at its fullest extent and later in 1945.

And finally, we head out of the station onto the concourse and into St. Raphael.

The immediate vicinity of St. Raphael saw human activity at least as far back as Neolithic times. The shipwrecks that cover the seabed in the region provide evidence that the region was a prominent Roman commercial hub. When Fréjus was called Forum Julii and when Caesar ruled the Mediterranean, Saint-Raphaël was a renowned seaside resort. Epulias, as it was once called, welcomed some of the wealthiest Roman families during the summer!

In the Middle Ages, after a period of chaos and plundering, the region was at peace again in the 4th Century. It was during this time that Saint Honorat lived as a hermit in what is now known as the Saint Honorat cave before his exile to the “Iles de Lérins” in the bay of Cannes where he founded his monastery. His presence made the town an important pilgrimage destination.
St. Raphael’s coat of arms dates back to a period from 16th to 18th Centuries. It shows Raphael the Archangel accompanied by a young man named Tobie or Tobit. It is believed that Raphael saved Tobie’s father from blindness, and this legend explains the origin of the name of the city!
In 1794, just after the revolution, Saint-Raphael briefly changed its name to Barraston, after Barras, one of the members of the first government. After his Egyptian campaign, Saint-Raphaël welcomed the Emperor Bonaparte. Ironically, he would return one more time for his departure on his way to exile on Elbe Island.

The end of the 19th century is when Saint-Raphaël began to look as it does today. The city prospered thanks to commercial activity which included the exportation of ceramics, rocks and cork. Felix Martin, a famous engineer and former student of the “Ecole Polytechnique”, raised the city to the standards of a modern seaside resort. The Casino was built along with numerous Palladian style villas. The basilica, Notre Dame de la Victoire, with its unique Byzantine style, was built in the same period by the architect Pierre Aublé.

The construction of the PLM railway line gave Saint-Raphaël another opportunity to accelerate its development as a tourist destination. It also attracted many artists who come to enjoy the climate and the scenery. People like Gounot, Georges Sand and Maupassant spent time in Saint-Raphael.

In the 20th Century St. Raphael and its immediate area played a significant part in the Allied invasion of Europe when American troops landed at various beaches along the coast including Dramont on 15th August 1944. Today, Saint-Raphaël is one of the most popular seaside resorts, and it accommodates the highest number of visitors in the Var region.

Postcript: In November 2018, my wife and I had 10 days staying in Saint-Raphael. On 13th November, we wandered through the town for the first time. The modern station building is, in my view, ugly. It would have been far better for the town to have renovated the old buildings of the station and modified then for modern usage. We were able to wander along the area below the arches which supported the metre-gauge line. This arches have been renovated and modernised and provide space for interesting small retail businesses.

The pictures below show first, the station; then the arches and road-under bridge which used to support the old line, as they are today, and the abutments of the river bridge!We also enjoyed following the old line on 14th November through Frejus to Ste Maxime, but I have not supplemented the above pictures here.


[1] Roland Le Corff;, accessed 13th December 2017.

[2] Marc Andre Dubout;, accessed 4th January 2018.

[3] Jean-Pierre Moreau;, accessed 24th December 2017.

[4] José Banaudo; Histoire des Chemins de Fer de Provence – 2: Le Train du Littoral (A History of the Railways of Provence Volume 2: The Costal Railway); Les Éditions du Cabri, 1999.

[5], accessed 5th January 2018.

[6] Roger Farnworth;

[7]éjus, accessed 12th January 2018.

[8] Pala Sen;, accessed 12th January 2018.

[9] Ronald Syme; The Origin of Cornelius Gallus; The Classical Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Vol. 32, No. 1 January 1938 , p. 39-44.

[10] Tacitus Annals IV, 5

[11] Pliny the Elder, Histories, III, 35

[12] Tacitus Histories 2, 14; 3, 43

[13] A. Donnadieu; Les fouilles des ruines gallo-romaines de Villepey (Villa Podii). Près Fréjus (Forum Julii); Institut des fouilles de Provence et des préalpes. Bulletin et Mémoires, 1926-1928,

[14] Tacitus Histories 3, 43

[15] Tacitus: Histories 2.14-15.

[16] Pierre Excoffon, Benoît Devillers, Stéphane Bonnet et Laurent Bouby; New data on the position of the ancient shoreline of Fréjus. The archaeological diagnosis of the “théâtre d’agglomération” (Fréjus, Var);

[17] Chérine Gébara & Christophe Morhange; Fréjus (Forum Julii): Le Port Antique/The Ancient Harbour; Journal of Roman Archaeology, Portsmouth, R.I. 2010.

[18] G. Mann; Locating Colonial Histories: Between France and West Africa; The American History Journal. 110 (5): April 2005, p409–434.

[19] Pavlo Besedin on 25 November 2013, accessed 13th January 2018.

[20],, on, accessed 13th January 2018.

[21] French Ministry for Sustainable Development – DGPR / SRT / BARPI;

Ligne du Littoral (Toulon to St. Raphael) – Part 12 – La Foux les Pins to Sainte Maxime (Chemins de Fer de Provence 47)

In the featured image above La Foux des Pins is in the bottom left and Sainte Maxime in the top right.

Having enjoyed two diversions from the mainline[5],[6], we return to La Foux ready to travel on towards St. Raphael. Before setting off, there is time to look round the station and its immediate environment. The village and station are sat on the south side of the Golfe de St. Tropez close to the River Giscle estuary and what were once wide-open sand flats. The satellite image with the route of the railway and a series of aerial photos which comes from Jean-Pierre Moreau[3] allow us to orient ourselves once again.
North of La Foux is the modern village of Port Grimaud. It is built on an area that was once used to extract sand. We have already seen some images of that extraction process in an earlier post[6]. The area immediately North of La Foux was an extensive sand quarry and extracted sand was delivered to La Foux station by a private railway. The layout of that railway can be seen on the image below. A picture which includes the locomotive and wagons involved can be seen in a previous post[6]. The area shown in the aerial photograph below includes what is today a large marina, a park and an exclusive residential area. The area immediately north of the station was the Racecourse. The photo below the aerial image is taken from this area looking back at the station.

The station is surrounded by pine trees as the following images show.

La Foux station knew enormous crowds of travellers in summer, when horse races and bullfights took place on the nearby racecourse. This view is of the avenue leading to the Station (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).
This view shows the courtyard of La Foux station, from left to right, the pumping station which lifts water to the 120 cubic metre water tank, the water tank, the workshop and engine shed (Raymond BERNARDI Collection)
Shortly after its commissioning in 1894, the St.Tropez tramway is seen here. The train is off the Littoral line from Toulon to La Foux station (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).
A 0-6-0T Corpet – Louvet 70-72 locomotive pulls two bogie cars usually used on the main line, on the shuttle on the branch/tramway. The increased passenger traffic necessitated this sharing of resources (Edmond DUCLOS Collection).
The Station building at La Foux can just be picked out behind the trees in this picture.
La Foux station at the beginning of the 20th century. From left to right: the pines of the racecourse, the track for St. Tropez, a train for Cogolin with an 0-6-0T Corpet-Louvet series 70 to 72, a train for Hyères and a long mixed train for St.Raphaël behind a 2-6-0T Pinguely series 41 to 44 (Raymond BERNARDI Collection). In this view of La Foux station before 1910, the locomotive refueling on the central lane seems to be the 0-6-0T Krauss Weidknecht No. 78 “La Madeleine”, perhaps used to pull trains of sand to and from the area we now know as Port Grimaud. On the right is a 0-6-0T Corpet-Louvet series 70 to 72 at the head of a Cogolin to St. Tropez train (André JACQUOT Collection)

The driver of a Brissonneau & Lotz railcar waiting for passengers to re-embark at La Foux station (Photo Jacques CHAPUIS – FACS-UNECTO collection).

Two railcars cross at La Foux Station on 25th May 1948, shortly before the closure of the line.

Leaving La Foux Station the line to St. Raphael parted from the line to Cogolin and tuned to the North-west, running alongside the main road. The land to the North of the line was open fields. It is now an area known as Port Cogolin. The area is outlined in blue on the satellite image below.

Immediately beyond what is now Port Cogolin the railway crossed the River Giscle on what appears to have been a metal truss girder bridge. The pictures below show the present-day bridges. There is a cycleway on the line of the old railway and the old road bridges have been replaced by a more up-to-date concrete structure. I have provided a picture from elsewhere of what the bridge probably looked like immediately after closure of the line in the late 1940s as well as an aerial photograph at the highest possible resolution of the road and rail bridges at that time.

Once across the river, the road and rail routes remained close to each other, sheltered by a single row of trees in the margin of the road.

The River Giscle continues to be prone to flooding. Significant flooding meant that the causeway of the road and railway needed to be broken at regular intervals by bridges that would release the peak flood flows. A series of bridges followed the main river bridge. Pont de décharge n°1 de la Gisle was the first of these and was at a position very close to the entrance road to the modern Port Grimaud.

At approximately this location a second track[c.f., 6] of about 850 metres in length headed towards the sea to basins where steam dredgers excavated estuarial sand.

The area is now vastly different. Port Grimaud, as it is now, was the vision of one man. Francois Spoerry had a vision of what the seemingly unusable land at the end of the Golfe de St. Tropez could be used for.

In 1962, Spoerry bought the land at a very cheap price because it was of no interest to developers. It was a swampy area infested with mosquitoes and invaded by reed beds, tall grasses and bushes, among which were a few stoney paths[7].

The village and canals were developed over a period of around 10 years. Images from that period follow below. The first is one of the drawings of the site produced by Spoerry, there is then a sequence of images from different years, showing the development of the site.

The image immediately above was taken in 1970. The images below show a little of the construction of the church built on site.
The church design was adjusted before building and no longer reflected directly the design of the church in Grimaud Village.

Port Grimaud has become one of the places to live on the Cote d’Azur, in the middle of the 20th Century it was a sand quarry! Spoerry explained his vision to a journalist from ‘Alsace’: “Port Grimaud was born from my desire to have a small house at the water’s edge with a boat in front of my door. … But I also planned to create a village and not just a collection of houses, a real village with a heart, … a church, hotels and restaurants. … A village as it would have been if architects had not existed. …” [8].

We move on along th e line towards St. Raphael and we encounter two more flood relief bridges, Pont de décharge n°2 de la Gisle, and predictably, Pont de décharge n°3 de la Gisle, before reaching the next station, Saint Pons-les-Mûres (Grimaud until 1904). The Station was a 3rd Class establishment. The picture below is from the Collection of Raymond BERNARDI.
The photo above is of a mixed train from St. Raphael to Toulon pulled by a 4-6-0T Pinguely series 41 to 44, in St.Pons-les-Mûres around 1920 (Collection Raymond BERNARDI).
The station has disappeared and has been replaced by a carpark and restaurant.
The station was on a curve in the direction of the line. After leaving the station the line travelled straight once more, separated from the road by a line of trees. It soon crossed Pont du Vallat des Mûres and continued in an East-Northeast direction. Its formation is covered by a cycleway. The tress which separate the road from the old railway are now Plane trees, historically they may well have been pines as nearer La Foux. The cycleway can be seen behind the bus-stop in the next image which is taken just beyond the access to the station (now restaurant and car-park).
The line crossed another bridge, Pont du ruisseau des Mûres and followed the coastline to the next small halt – Guerrevieille-Beauvallon (Guerrevieille until 1913). The photograph shows a 2-6-0T PInguely Series 41-44 locomotive stopped at the halt.The line continued to follow the D559 and to hug the coast-line to the next stop at La Croisette.
The picture above is taken on the line between Guerrevieille-Beauvallon and La Croisette and is typical of the line along this length. The train is in the care of a 2-6-0T Pinguely series 41 to 44 and travelling towards La Foux. In this area, the railway was frequently subject to the onslaught of the sea during windstorms from the east. Although intended for the length of the line betweem Toulon and Hyères, the 2-6-0T Pinguely series 41 to 44 locomotives were often seen on the Eastern end of the line close to St. Raphael (Jean-Paul PIGNEDE Collection).
These two images show the proximity of the line to the water’s edge and give an idea too of the boulder protection installed by the railway company to protect their line for the ravages of the sea.

A railcar from St. Maxime close to La Croisette.
The next major structure on the line was the bridge over the River Préconil. When first constructed the Pont du Préconil was a steel truss girder bridge.The metal bridge built by Gustave Eiffel over the Preconil west of Ste. Maxime (Jean-Paul PIGNEDE Collection)

Damage caused by the tidal wave of September 28th and 29th, 1932 at Ste. Maxim. The railway bridge (in the foreground) and the road bridge (beyond) were washed away by the River Préconil (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).
The image above is an aerial view of the western approaches to Sainte-Maxime shortly after the last world war. The Preconil River is in the foreground with the steel railway bridge and the concrete road bridge of the D98. These two structures were rebuilt and widened in 1933, after having been carried away by the flood of 28th September 1932 (Raymond BERNARDI Collection). Google Streetview shows the same location in the picture below.
After crossing the river, the railway left the coast behind and travelled into the middle of Sainte-Maxime. We alight from our train at the Station and temporarily end our journey here.

The train in the picture is pulled by a 2-6-0T Pinguely series 41 to 44. The photo is taken on the eve of the First World War and the station is very busy (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).



[1] Roland Le Corff;, accessed 13th December 2017.

[2] Marc Andre Dubout;, accessed 14th December 2017

[3] Jean-Pierre Moreau;, accessed 24th December 2017.

[4] José Banaudo; Histoire des Chemins de Fer de Provence – 2: Le Train du Littoral (A History of the Railways of Provence Volume 2: The Costal Railway); Les Éditions du Cabri, 1999.

[5] Roger Farnworth; Ligne du Littoral (Toulon to St. Raphael) – Part 10 – La Foux les Pins to Saint-Tropez (Chemin de Fer de Provence 45);

[6] Roger Farnworth; Ligne du Littoral (Toulon to St. Raphael) – Part 11 – La Foux les Pins to Cogolin (Chemin de Fer de Provence 46);

[7], accessed 5th January 2018

[8], accessed 6th January 2018

Ligne du Littoral (Toulon to St. Raphael) – Part 11 – La Foux les Pins to Cogolin (Chemins de Fer de Provence 46)

We have already noted that La Foux-les-Pins was one of the more important stations on the Chemin de Fer du Sud de la France Littoral. Two tramways, which are often referred to as one, left the station in different directions. The station opened in 1889, it was then called Cogolin-St Tropez for which it was the station before the tramway(s) opened. In this picture, a 2-6-0T engine has been posed with station staff for a photograph. The site of the station today is unrecognizable and has become a commercial complex. Although the station has disappeared the railway itself has become a cycleway.
In addition to the main-line from St. Raphael to Toulon and the two branch-lines, there was another feeder railway that approached the station from the immediate north and the sea. A sand quarry was established in the estuary of the River Giscle and it was served by a line from the station which appears not to have been directly linked into the mainline. Sand from the quarry must have been trans-shipped at the station. The locomotive and wagons used at the quarry can be seen in this picture and the route of the line is visible in the aerial images below.

There was another route out into the sand quarries on the north side of the river but we will leave considering that until we travel on towards Saint-Raphael. For now, we will head off towards the town of Cogolin.

The route is shown above, both Cogolin and La Foux Stations are marked as are two intermediate halts and a series of bridges.

Trains from La Foux for Cologin left in a Westerly direction and separated from the line to St. Raphael within the station limits. After bridging a diverted stream or drainage channel the line turned South and then turned South-west along the D98 Chemin de Grimaud. The first halt was given this name in 1894. The line opened in 1894 and the halt was called Grand-Pont for the first couple of years. The railway continued alongside the D98 through the next halt, Les Garcinières. This halt was 1.3km from Cogolin when the line opened but was moved 400 metres towards La Foux in 1902. Immediately after the halt the line crossed a bridge. The bridges were numbered, this was bridge No. 5, Pont routier de Cogolin No. 5, 1.44 km from Cogolin. The next bridges were: No. 4, 1.35km from Cogolin; No. 3, 1.28km; No. 2, 1.20km; and No. 1, 1.06km from Cogolin. All along this length the railway clung to the side of the D98.

About 0.7km from Cogolin, the railway route diverts away from the modern D98 and crosses the River La Molle on Pont de la Molle (0.63 km from Cogolin). The bridge is shown in the image below. Back when the railway was in operation the road also crossed the river on a relatively short arch span adjacent to the railway bridge, which can just be picked out in the picture. Along much of the length of the route the road and railway were shaded by the large pine umbrellas typical of the area and which gave La Foux-les-Pins its name.

In very short shrift the line arrived at Cogolin station. The plan is superimposed on the modern satellite image from Google by Moreau [3]. A series of images of Cogolin Station follow:

The station site was, as this aerial photo and the picture below show, just outside the eastern outskirts of Cogolin.View of Cogolin-Grimaud from the station yard, the side of the facilities away from the running lines. The mixed passenger-goods building at the terminus is seen after its extension (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).

A large load of timber waits at Cogolin Station. The picture was taken before the extension to the goods facilities was built (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).

The original station buildings before enlargement.

At Cogolin, there was a small engine shed capable of stabling one small engine. This picture was taken in around 1900, with a locomotive 0-6-0T Corpet-Louvet series 70 to 72 There is a stock of briquettes beside the building (Maurice MAILLET Collection)

The station of Cogolin-Grimaud before the works of enlargement of 1910. (Collection Raymond BERNARDI).

Two open wagons stand in the foreground of this picture, parked at Cogolin-Grimaud station around 1910: on the left a T-1522 with interchangeable sideboards (construction HanquetAufort in 1899), on the right a T-1563 (construction Magnard in 1901). Both are equipped with the hand turned screw brakes, whose steering wheel is visible at the end of the chassis (Edmond DUCLOS Collection). On the main passenger lane, there appears to be a train of 2 or 3 coaches waiting for a locomotive to pull them.

Taken at much the same time as the previous picture. Jean Pierre Moreau’s[3] notes say: “Cogolin-Grimaud station, terminus of St.Tropez tramway and starting point of the unfinished antenna that should have joined La Garde-Freinet (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).” La Garde-Freinet is the next Commune north of Coglin-Grimaud and it seems as though the railway company had hopes of making a connection from Cogolin to La Garde-Freinet.

Cogolin-Grimaud station around 1910 with an 0-6-0T Corpet-Louve series 70 to 72 ready for departure to La Foux and St. Tropez; on the left, a Hanquet – Aufort series TM-15O1 to 1516 open wagon with removable sides (René CLAVAUD collection).

The station of Cogolin-Grimaud in 1910 beofre any building extensions were built. In 1914 work was started on an extension of the line to La Garde-Freinet. The extension remained incomplete because of the Great War (GECP Collection). No evidence of any earthworks is apparent on the aerial photograph of the site taken after the Second World War.

Another view of the Station taken before the Great War and before the extensions were built.

The Station in the 1920s, after the lengthening of the tracks and buildings. The line towards Grimaud and La Garde-Freinet was to lead off to the right in the direction of the valley of the River Giscle (Photo Jean BAZOT).

In the image above, we see the railway/tramway alongside the main road just after leaving Cogolin.

The platform side of the building in 1978 is shown above, still appearing to be surprisingly complete. The image below is taken from the other side of the building at much the same time. Everything feels derelict. A Saviem S45 coach and Renault Galion courier truck 1400 kg sit on the courtyard side in front of the old Cogolin-Grimaud station (both pictures by Photo José BANAUDO).


[1] Roland Le Corff;, accessed 13th December 2017.
[2] Marc Andre Dubout;, accessed 14th December 2017
[3] Jean-Pierre Moreau;, accessed 24th December 2017.
[4] José Banaudo; Histoire des Chemins de Fer de Provence – 2: Le Train du Littoral (A History of the Railways of Provence Volume 2: The Costal Railway); Les Éditions du Cabri, 1999.

Ligne du Littoral (Toulon to St. Raphael) – Part 10 – La Foux les Pins to Saint-Tropez (Chemins de Fer de Provence 45)

One branch of the Chemin de Fer du Sud Littoral extended from La Foux Les Pins to Saint-Tropez. The featured satellite image above shows the full route of the tramway from the station at La Foux to St. Tropez. At each end of the line an aerial photo allows us to see what the landscape immediately around each town was like.

The station at La Foux was built with the line from Saint-Raphael and opened in 1889. La Foux Station was known as Cogolin-Saint Tropez until 1894 It was 53 kilometres along the line from Hyères and just 4 metres above sea-level. As a 2nd class station, La Foux had a goods shed, an engine shed capable of stabling two locomotives, two Mason tracks and one goods line. In 1893 two extra tracks were provided for the Cogolin and Saint-Tropez tramways.

The station was one of the most significant on the line between Saint-Raphael and Toulon and one of the busiest. The line to Saint-Tropez left from the South-east end of the station and ran parallel to the single line to Toulon for a few hundred metres. The two lines separated with the Toulon line turning South and the Saint-Tropez line turning East.
Both the main-line and the two branches were metre-gauge lines. The Saint-Tropez line left the Toulon line and followed what is now the D98A. The first halt on the line was Bertaud.
The most famous site on the line to St. Tropez was in the district of Bertaud, where the D98A and the railway passed on either side of a gigantic pine tree. A mixed train from La Foux to St. Tropez stopped at the halt; there is a ballast wagon at the tail which is loaded with wine barrels that will be shipped by boat from the port of Saint-Tropez (Paul CARENCO Collection).

The La Foux – St.Tropez arrives at Bertaud. The train is pulled by 2-4-2T SACM Series 51-56 locomotive and is composed of bogie coaches (Edmond DUCLOS Collection).

A shuttle St.Tropez – La Foux passes under the Bertaud pine. The trunk of this extraordinary tree reached 2.45 metres in diameter and nearly 7.70 metres in circumference; it was unfortunately cut down in 1928 because its roots deformed the railway and road formations (Edmond DUCLOS Collection).

The next stop on the line was that for the torpedo factory. It is marked on the satellite image of the factory by the ‘A’ marker.

There was a torpedo factory run by the French Navy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries at St. Tropez. Schneider chose to locate one of its key design facilities in this area and conducted trials here at a centre of research and testing for the Navy. Schneider had their factory along the coast at Les Bormettes.

Norman Friedman [5] tells us that in 1866 British engineer Robert Whitehead invented the first effective self-propelled torpedo, the eponymous Whitehead torpedo. French and German inventions followed closely, and the term torpedo came to describe self-propelled projectiles that travelled under or on water. By 1900, the term no longer included mines and booby-traps as the navies of the world added submarines, torpedo boats and torpedo boat destroyers to their fleets.

Initially, Whitehead’s designs were hampered by their clockwork motor, attached ropes, and surface attack mode, all of which contributed to a slow and cumbersome weapon. However, he kept considering the problem and eventually developed a tubular device, designed to run underwater on its own, and powered by compressed air. The result was a submarine weapon, the Minenschiff (mine ship), the first modern self-propelled torpedo. He presented it officially to the Austrian Imperial Naval commission on 21st December 1866.

The first trials were not successful as the weapon was unable to maintain a course on a steady depth. After much work, Whitehead introduced his “secret” in 1868 which overcame this. It was a mechanism consisting of a hydrostatic valve and pendulum that caused the torpedo’s hydroplanes to be adjusted so as to maintain a pre-set depth.

After the Austrian government decided to invest in the invention, Whitehead started the first torpedo factory in Fiume. In 1870, he improved the devices to travel up to approximately 1,000 yd (910 m) at a speed of up to 6 kn (11 km/h), and by 1881 the factory was exporting torpedoes to ten other countries. The torpedo was powered by compressed air and had an explosive charge of gun-cotton. Whitehead went on to develop more efficient devices, demonstrating torpedoes capable of 18 kn (33 km/h) in 1876, 24 kn (44 km/h) in 1886, and, finally, 30 kn (56 km/h) in 1890.

Royal Navy representatives visited Fiume for a demonstration in late 1869, and in 1870 a batch of torpedoes was ordered. In 1871, the British Admiralty paid Whitehead £15,000 for certain of his developments and production started at the Royal Laboratories in Woolwich the following year. In 1893, RN torpedo production was transferred to the Royal Gun Factory. The British later established a Torpedo Experimental Establishment at HMS Vernon and a production facility at the Royal Naval Torpedo Factory, Greenock in 1910. These are now closed.

The Nordenfelt-class Ottoman submarine Abdülhamid (1886) was the first submarine in history to fire a torpedo while submerged.

Whitehead opened a new factory near Portland Harbour, England in 1890, which continued making torpedoes until the end of the Second World War. Because orders from the RN were not as large as expected, torpedoes were mostly exported. A series of devices was produced at Fiume, with diameters from 14 in (36 cm) upward. The largest Whitehead torpedo was 18 in (46 cm) in diameter and 19 ft (5.8 m) long, made of polished steel or phosphor bronze, with a 200-pound (91 kg) gun-cotton warhead. It was propelled by a three-cylinder Brotherhood engine, using compressed air at around 1,300 psi (9.0 MPa) and driving two contra-rotating propellers, and was designed to self-regulate its course and depth as far as possible. By 1881, nearly 1500 torpedoes had been produced. Whitehead also opened a factory at St Tropez in 1890 that exported torpedoes to Brazil, Holland, Turkey and Greece.

Whitehead purchased rights to the gyroscope of Ludwig Obry in 1888 but it was not sufficiently accurate, so in 1890 he purchased a better design to improve control of his designs, which came to be called the “Devil’s Device”. The firm of L. Schwartzkopff in Germany also produced torpedoes and exported them to Russia, Japan and Spain. In 1885, Britain ordered a batch of 50 as torpedo production at home and at Fiume could not meet demand.

By World War I, Whitehead’s torpedo remained a worldwide success, and his company was able to maintain a monopoly on torpedo production. By that point, his torpedo had grown to a diameter of 18 inches with a maximum speed of 30.5 knots (56.5 km/h; 35.1 mph) with a warhead weighing 170 pounds (77 kg).

The French naval torpedo factory at Toulon made Whitehead torpedoes under license. Given its limited output, the French also bought torpedoes directly from Whitehead (Fiume) by 1898 they had ordered 206 after sixty-four had been delivered. About 1905, the French turned to Schneider their main arms company, to produce torpedoes. Schneiders torpedo plant was at Les Bormettes near Hyères. When a US officer visited Schneider in 1913, he commented that the company was clearly finding it difficult to meet Whitehead’s competition. Schneider managed to secure small orders from France and Italy, and in 1913 these torpedoes were running their range trials.

Schneider claimed that they were exceeding requirements. At the same time the prevailing opinion at the French government plant at Toulon was that Schneider had failed to prove superiority over Whitehead, and it was unlikely that they could compete. As for Whitehead, because the property at Fiume physically limited the company’s expansion, in 1913 it built a large new plant at St. Tropez. near Toulon. Whitehead saw the new plant as an extension of its Fiume operation, and definitely not as a plant to fill French government orders. Customers eventually included Brazil, Greece, the Netherlands and Turkey.

Michel Goujon [6] says that in 1912, the English firm Whitehead built a torpedo factory at the bottom of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, on the site of the castle Bertaud which was not destroyed but integrated into the industrial buildings. The site was accessible to ships of significant tonnage. Prototype production began in 1917 during the First World War. In 1936, the Popular Front decided to nationalize the factory because its production was highly strategic for the country. From 1937 it became a Navy establishment and its torpedo’s became critical to, from 1937. establishment of the Navy. Its torpedoes armed many submarines under the French flag. Amazing activity, only a stone’s throw from one of the most glamorous harbours on the planet.

The factory was built on the immediate site of the castle Bertaud.

In the image below, workers from the torpedo factory wait for the train at the end of their shift.

The factory has recently been sold by the privatised company which took it on when the Navy gave it up.

The next stop after the Torpedo Factory was Oustalet-dei-Pescadous a good few hundred metres along the coast. Then Château-Martin, Sinopolis, Maleribes and then La Bouillabaisse, all of which have disappeared in the time since the line closed. A railcar is stopped at La Bouillabaisse in the photograph below.

Another short distance and the train stopped once again, this time at Le Pilon, its last stop be fore Saint-Tropez. The stagecoach from St. Tropez to Ramatuelle passes through Pilon. The railway can be seen alongside (GECP Collection).

The same location. The image shows that sand has been used for ballast at Le Pilon (Raymond BERNARDI Collection).

From Le Pilon, the line entered Saint-Tropez and approached the terminus on the quayside. The layout of the terminus is shown in the plan superimposed on the satellite image by Jean-Pierre Moreau [3].
As can be seen in the above image, the original harbour at St. Tropez is much changed and there has been significant land reclamation to enlarge facilities at the port. The aerial photographs below show the port in the time around the closure of the line. Those images are followed by a sequence of photographs culled from the research of Jean-Pierre Moreau [3].

St.Tropez terminus buildings with an open wagon stabled under the loading gauge of the goods shed (Raymond BERNARDI Collection)

This image is taken from roughly the same position in the 21st Century. The station building has been replaced by the town Post Office!

In this view of St.Tropez station around 1910, you can see on the left the access track to the port (René SENNEDOT Collection).

Here, a team of CP railway workers pose in front of the 4-6-0T Pinguely No. 66 locomotive shunting a mixed train in St.Tropez station. The two windows on the rear of the cab, probably all too frequently broken by the heating tools, were closed by sheet metal plates pierced with a circular hole to allow some visibility in the cabin forward (Photo Marcel CAUVIN – Pierre LECROULANT collection).

In the 1930s, station-master Marcel Cauvin (second from the left) poses in St.Tropez station with the driver, fireman and guard of locomotive 4-6-0T Pinguely No. 66 (Pierre VIROT Collection).
The station-master, the driver, the mechanic, the postmaster, and the conductor pose close to the point lever on one of the passenger tracks and beside a 2-4-2T Series 51-56 locomotive at the St. Tropez station (Pierre LECROULANT Collection).
A coach from the lot built by SF workshops, Frejus in 1908: C-2504 is seen in the years 1925-30 at St. Tropez. (Pierre VIROT Collection).

In December 1923, a 2-4-2T SACM 51-56 locomotive, started by mistake by an inexperienced night watchman, ended up in the water of St. Tropez harbour! We see it here the day after this incident, with a 4-6-0T Pinguely series 41-44 trying to get it back on track (Jean-Pierre VIGUIE Collection).

The mixed passenger-goods building at St. Tropez terminus seen after its expansion (GECP Collection).

An 0-6-0T Corpet-Louvet series 70 to 72 manoeuvres along the goods platform at St. Tropez Station. Due to the lack of a turntable, these locos were always oriented cabin Cogolin side and chimney St. Tropez (Pierre VIROT Collection).

The small locomotive shed at the Station is seen in 1925, with the loading gauge and a view of the back of a departing mixed train to La Foux (Collection François MORENAS).
The first railcar to return to St. Tropez station after the war, during the summer of 1945: a normal train (motor + trailer) tows a second train, consisting of two trailers recovered from trains whose motorcar was out of service. This train ensured that workers could get from the surrounding area to the Torpedo factory (Photo Marcel CAUVIN – Pierre LECROULANT collection)

Women constituted up to 30% of the staff of the Littoral network, they were often the wife of an agent of the Railway, like the mail carrier Emilie Cauvin that we see here in front of a railcar in station of St.Tropez, on 10th January 1946. Very unusually it has snowed! (Photo Marcel CAUVIN – Hidalgo ARNERA collection).
The closure of the line from La Foux to St. Tropez was suspended for one year to continue to pick up workers from the Bertaud torpedo factory. The service continued until 4th June 1949. This is one of the last trains visiting St. Tropez accompanied by the conductor Marcel Vinciguerra, towing an old bogie car (Photo Marcel CAUVIN – GECP collection).
A quick look round the port of St. Tropez!

The modern post of St. Tropez has a capacity of 734 moorings divided between two basins on an area of nine hectares in the heart of the village, Saint-Tropez harbour is a main port of call in the Mediterranean. It is one of the most famous marinas in the world. In a very small area racing boats sit alongside large pleasure yachts, the fishing boats which used to be so prominent have sadly disappeared along with the railway that served the village until 1949.

In this final picture, all the buildings of the former St. Tropez Station are still in place at the edge of the harbour and the town; the tracks have been dismantled but the route to the harbour can still clearly be distinguished heading left (Photo Marcel CAUVIN – GECP collection).

[1] Roland Le Corff;, accessed 13th December 2017.
[2] Marc Andre Dubout;, accessed 14th December 2017
[3] Jean-Pierre Moreau;, accessed 24th December 2017.
[4] José Banaudo; Histoire des Chemins de Fer de Provence – 2: Le Train du Littoral (A History of the Railways of Provence Volume 2: The Costal Railway); Les Éditions du Cabri, 1999.
[5] Norman Friedman; Naval Weapons of World War One; Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley, December 2011.
[6] Michel Goujon; L’autre Saint-Tropez; Michel Lafon, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, 2017.

Ligne du Littoral (Toulon to St. Raphael) – Part 9 – Cavalaire to La Foux les Pins (Chemins de Fer de Provence 44)

Before the railway the most convenient way of travelling along the coast was on the water. Roads were either in very poor condition or non-existent. The first photo taken at Cavalaire is of Les Tartanes au Mouillage. These boats ferried goods up and down the Var coastline.

24th August 1930, a train pulled by locomotive 2-6-0T Pinguely No. 44 waits in Cavalaire station. The two vehicles on the right are open wagons TM-1501 series 1516 Hanquet-Aufort with removable side panels. (Edmond DUCLOS collection).
4-6-0T SACM Locomotive No. 62 (Edmund DUCLOS collection).
This photograph and the following one give an idea of how facilities at stations and particularly at Cavalaire had to expand to accommodate growth in traffic. 2-4-2T SACM No. 52 arrives at Cavalaire Station in around 1905. The left track is reserved for goods. Passengers cross that track to reach their platform. There is just an open platform and a single gantry (Michel FRANCHITTI Collection). In the next photograph, taken in around 1920, a good shed is visible which was constructed in 1912. The train entering the station is pulled by a 4-6-0T No. 61 to 66 Series Loco. (Raymond BARNARDI Collection).

At the head of the mixed train from Saint-Raphael to Hyeres, the locomotive 2-4-2T No. 51 from the first series delivered in 1889-90 by the Alsatian Society of Mechanical Engineering enters Cavalaire station. This engine represented Southern-France at the World Fair in Paris in 1889. The boxcar, equipped with a brakeman’s booth, belongs to the series JG-201 to 216 delivered at the same time by the Forges de L Horme and Chantiers de La Buire (Edmond DUCLOS collection).

On two occasions, 4-6-0T Pinguely locomotives from the wider network of the Chemin de Fer du Sud, came to lend a hand to their sisters on the coast. No.93 marks stops at Cavalaire station shortly after 1925 (Collection Jean BAZOT).

In 1942 locomotive 4-6-0T Pinguely No. 64 precedes C-2508 and another car of the same type, deprived of its roof (Photo Jean-P SCHOEN).

Cavalaire Station sometime between 1925 and 1930. On the platform there is a ladder used to load and unload barrels from van (Jean-Pierre VIGUIE Collection).

Autorail Brissonneau & Lotz around 1939 in Cavalaire (René SENNEDOT Collection).

The mobilization train in September 1939, at Cavalaire station: the train is composed of two self-propelled railcars towing a wooden vehicle (Patrick GUIMELLI collection).

By 1978, Cavalaire Station was being used as the offices of a coach company (Photo José BANAUDO).

Cavalaire-sur-Mere Station as it is today. The station clock has been refurbished. It is typical of station clocks along the line.

This aerial photograph shows the station at or around closure. The station building is marked with the orange marker. The bridge in the pictures below is marked on this photograph as well.

Leaving Cavalaire, the railway crossed La Castillane on a metal bridge parallel to the road bridge. The bridge over La Castillanne had to be lengthened to 15 m after being destroyed by a flood in 1898 (Collection Raymond BERNARDI).

This is the same location. The picture gives a much clearer impression of the road, railway and beach layout. The railway continued along the beach to Pardigon (René CLAVAUD Collection).

Just along the beach from Cavalaire was the halt of Pardigon. The first image of this small station shows 2-6-0T Pinguely Series 41 to 44 entering the halt before hauling its train up the grade towards La Croix (Edmund DUCLOS Collection).

A view of the halt taken from the coast road.

In this picture, 2-4-2T SACM Series 51 to 56 has just surmounted the grade and is entering the station.

After Pardigon, the line climbed away North from the coast. It then turned East through La Carrade. Beyond the village there was another small halt named after the village but all evidence of the halt has disappeared.

The line continued to climb up to La Croix which sits 100 metres or so above sea level. The station at La Croix opened in 1890 with the line, goods facilities were completed in 1898. The track layout was revised and enlarged again by 1900. The station building is intact and in use as the municipal library.

At La Croix, the summit of the grade on the line was reached. The station was originally a simple stop serving a hamlet in the town of Gassin. The station building was built a little above the platforms as the line was in a cutting. There was a ramp and staircase down to what was at first a single platform.

However, it quickly became clear that local agricultural traffic would require the addition of goods facilities and an enlargement of passenger facilities too. These changes, as already noted, took place between 1894 and 1900. In the picture above, the stands proudly in front of his station building which had been enlarged in 1900 (Jean-Pierre RIGOUARD Collection).

This second picture shows the newly installed goods shed.

In this third picture, we see a train from Hyères to St. Raphael pulled by a 2-4-2T SACM series 51 to 56. It has just climbed the grade up from the coast at Pardigon and is coming to a stop at La Croix (Jean-Pierre VIGUIE Collection).

Our fourth picture shows a mixed train, St. Raphael – Toulon, pulled by 2-4-2T SACM No. 56 stopping at La Croix. A line of wagons is stabled in the goods siding. Note the buffer, couplers and coupling for the vacuum brake of the Buire T-1386 open wagon (Philippe LEPINE Collection).
The fifth picture shows the engine driver of 4-6-0T No. 61 wandering round his loco greasing key points while various bicycles and baskets are unloaded (Gérard BERNAUD Collection).

The picture above shows the station layout without a train present and shows the proximity of the tunnel ahead towards La Foux. That below shows a Brissonneau railcar passing through La Croix towards Saint-Raphael in around 1935 (Christiane CHATON collection).

And the next image shows another railcar – a new Brissonneau & Lotz self-propelled train heading for Hyères and seen from behind (Christiane CHATON collection).

Towards the end of operations on the line, the next image shows very limited maintenance with trees overgrowing the line and surrounding the goods shed (Bernard ROZE collection).

Today the station building serves as the municipal library.

La Croix has a significant place in the history of Europe. The Emperor Constantine the Great, on the way to wage war against his brother-in-law Maxentius in 312 AD, is said to have had a vision of a cross in the sky stating “in hoc signo vinces” (by this sign you will conquer) at the location where La Croix-Valmer is now situated.

On April 16, 1893, a stone cross was erected on the site where tradition holds this vision occurred. La Croix-Valmer became a commune on 6 April 1934, separating from the commune of Gassin.

The area has been inhabited since ancient times, as demonstrated by the discovery of remains such as prehistoric tools and the Roman farm of Pardigon (dating from the third century BC).
During the Second World War, the beaches of La Croix-Valmer were part of the Allied invasion of Provence during Operation Dragoon. The name of one of the local beaches, Plage du Débarquement (“Landing Beach”), bears witness to this.

Abel Faivre, (1853-1945), a French painter used to live in La Croix Valmer, near the Gigaro beach.

Beyond La Croix, the line entered a short 30 metre tunnel and then began to drop down towards La Foux.

The tunnel and the cutting to the north of it are marked on the plan above. We have seen the entrance to the tunnel in the photograph looking through the station. The portal at the north side is shown here, after closure of the line.

The railway then drifted down through a small stop at Le Broc and on into the station at Gassin-Ramatuelle (originally Gassin).

In this image from around 1910, a passenger train has just left Gassin station and begun the descent towards La Foux (Edmond DUCLOS collection).
4-6-0T SACM locomotive No. 62 at the head of a light train at Gassin station around 1930 (GECP collection).

Charlotte, the donkey belonging to Gassin’s postman, picks up the mail at the station in the inter-war years. In the first of these pictures the donkey patiently waits for the mail train. In the second picture, the postman walks with his donkey to the station (Raymond BERNARDI Collection). The third picture was taken by Jean-Pierre Moreau in 2016. The donkey is long-gone.

The line continued down to La Foux, rated a 2nd Class station it was an important junction on the Chemin de Far du Sud de La France with branch-lines to Cogolin and Saint-Tropez.

While we are at La Foux les Pins we will learn a lot more about the two branch-lines and about the immediate area around the station.


[1] Roland Le Corff;, accessed 13th December 2017.
[2] Marc Andre Dubout;, accessed 14th December 2017
[3] Jean-Pierre Moreau;, accessed 24th December 2017.
[4] José Banaudo; Histoire des Chemins de Fer de Provence – 2: Le Train du Littoral (A History of the Railways of Provence Volume 2: The Costal Railway); Les Éditions du Cabri, 1999.

Ligne du Littoral (Toulon to St. Raphael) – Part 8 – Bormes les Mimosas to Cavalaire (Chemins de Fer de Provence 43)

One of the most beautiful regions between the French Provence and the Riviera is the village of Bormes-les-Mimosas. The flower called Mimosa has given its name to the area since 1968. Bormes is surrounded by incredible stone coves, charming towns and cities and stunning beaches. The colours are vibrant at the right time of the year with the purple of lavender and the yellow of mimosa flowers.

Our railway journey on from Bormes will start soon, but first a quick look round the small town. We take in a number of the tourist sights ….

The Chapel of Saint François de Paule
The Church of Saint Trophyme, built in the eighteenth century and inspired by old Roman architecture.
The ruins of the castle of the Lords of Fos.
The Chapel of Notre Dame de Constance has tremendous views from its height, 324 metres above sea-level. A Romanesque building, was built in the 12th century by the Carthusians of the Verne at the request of Constance de Provence, daughter of Robert the Pious. It can be reached by the path lined with oratories which begins behind the castle. From the chapel there is a panoramic view of the village and the islands of Hyères.

The village of Bormes.

There are squares with fountains, nice shops, art galleries and workshops. We take in the Square of L’Isclou d’Amour, Lou Poulid Cantoun square, square Figuier and des Amoureux square. The old town of Bormes -les -Mimosas has small terracotta coloured houses, provincial windows, stone paths and spectacular sea views.

We cannot dwell too long, but we do want to see what the village looked like around a century ago and so we look at a number of old postcard views before getting back to the railway station.

Just a few great views of the village! Now back to our journey! Sadly, the station is no more and the site has been redeveloped for housing. But we can dream ….

Dreaming is OK, modelling is better. Why not explore This is the site of Henri Lacube who has made a relatively large scale model of Bormes station. Just a few images here.

Just for clarity for our purposes here, there were no tunnels close to Bormes-les-Mimosas station, nor was there a locomotive depot. The depot pictures are reproduced here so that a good impression can be gained of the motive power on the Chemin de Fer du Sud de la France Littoral in the days of steam. The station plan is a mirror image of what was on the ground in Bormes, nonetheless it really does help us to feel present at the station.

Bormes-les-Mimosas applied for the railway in 1882. The commune paid a grant of 40000 francs to ensure that it had its own station and did not have to share with Le Lavandou.

Station opened in 1890, building of 3 rd class, goods hall, two main tracks and a goods track.

Trains left Bormes along the line towards La Lavandou following what is now called Le Chemin du Train des Pignes, parallel to and north of the present D559, through a small halt called La Favière which opened in 1937 and closed with the line. Nothing of this stop remains.

Soon after La Favière the line drifts down to run alongside the modern D559 and then follows Avenue de Provence into the town of Le Lavandou. The satellite image below shows the location of the station. It now forms the main bus station for the town.

In the image below, around 1910, a mixed train from St.Raphaël to Toulon enters the station of Le Lavandou where a crowd of travellers are waiting. Routinely there were around 2000 passengers per day during the busiest periods of the year. In front of the station building is the boxcar J-1242 (De Dietrich 1905), on the roof there is a footway through which the allows access to the oil lamp illuminating the interior of the wagon (Jean-Pierre VIGUIE Collection).

This is an earlier image of the station, probably from the last years of the 19th Century (Pierre LECROULANT Collection). The image below is a good train carrying fruit and grapes in wooden crates as seen on the platform. The locomotive is 4-6-0T series 61 to 66 (Jean-Pierre VIGUIE Collection).

In the last years of the line, after the War and before closure in 1948, services were maintained by railcars. The image below was taken on 30th August 1947.

The good shed and station building at Le Lavandou in its final state after the closure of the line in 1948 (Photo Marcel CAUVIN). In the 1970s the building was converted into a bus station.
Leaving the main station in La Lavadou the train travelled through the town and a stop was provided on the line closer to the centre of the town. It opened in 1937 and closed with the line in 1948.
After the centre of Le Lavandou, the line parted company with the modern D559, travelling along the line of what is now called Avenue de la 1ere Div Fr Libre, as can be seen on the adjacent image. The D559 is below the line to the right.Avenue de la 1ere Div Fr Libre, as can be seen on the adjacent image. The D559 is below the line to the right.

Its formation is then obliterated by a road tunnel which cuts the line and has its exit at a much lower level than the old line at Pilon de St. Clair. The next two pictures are taken at approximately this location.

The line turns north to follow the coast-line, before reaching the Halt which served Saint-Clair. The halt was close to a level-crossing – the guardhouse is visible in the background.