Les Chemins de Fer de Provence – an update on maintenance work!

News from the South of France. This post is almost entirely a translation of a recent article in French in TPBM (Travaux Publics & Batiments du Midi) Press. [1]

Back in January 2019, major work on the Chemins de fer de Provence line was started only to be marred one month later by the death of a worker following the collapse of part of the railway tunnel at Moriez. [2]  Work on the tunnel was inevitably delayed as a result of the accident and the overall work programme on the line has had to be adjusted.

The authorities are investing significant sums in necessary maintenance work which is now programmed to run until 2022. Expenditure will exceed €59.5 million.

Closure of the tunnel at Moriez has meant that all traffic between Alpes-Maritimes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence along the line has been halted. This has meant that Le Train des Pignes has also been prevented from providing a tourist service on the route.

There has been a significant worry for many in the valleys served by the railway and among those with a commitment to the Train des Pignes that the necessary repairs to the tunnel after its collapse would prove prohibitive. The good news is that the authorities have not found further major structural problems with the tunnel, nor along the length of the line. They have recently confirmed that work priorities remain as originally intended.

A spokesperson said that ” Inspections did not reveal any unfavourable evolution of pathologies requiring a change in priorities. Structures are monitored regularly: monthly visits, annual inspections, detailed inspections every five to seven years.”

Work  on the line has continued since inspections were undertaken. ….. Progress has be good!

A little over a year after the tragedy at Moriez, the renovation of the track in 14 stations and on different sections over 12 km has been carried out, the platforms of 16 stopping points have been renovated and made accessible. The old depot at Saint-André-les-Alpes has been restored and the tunnels at La Mescla, La Colle-Saint-Michel and Chabrières have been reinforced. Four level crossings have also been automated.

Going forward, the four areas affected by the bad weather in November will be repaired during this Spring. The first of these will start at the end of February. The dikes and other engineering structures will be consolidated. 

Repairs to the Moriez tunnel are on-going and are scheduled for completion in the summer.

The stations at Puget-Théniers, Entrevaux, Annot, Thorame and Saint-André-les-Alpes will be renovated and their forecourts redeveloped. Four new stops will also be made accessible.

Although the Chemin de fer de Provence line has been heavily impacted by the weather in recent months, the Region “is committed to carrying out the work that will enable the line to be reopened” without announcing a specific date.

On average, Le Train des Pignes used to carry 400,000 passengers a year between Nice and Digne-les-Bains. For the time being, shuttle buses run between Digne-les-Bains and Plan de Var until the railway line is fully restored.


1. https://www.tpbm-presse.com/595-millions-d-euros-pour-faire-circuler-a-nouveau-le-train-des-pignes-3451.html?fbclid=IwAR0pdkw-iYw9Sw8tjeeczD5LuYrXw3V5CPfFYVfikUS-hQ-BdRgjY0fiNeA

2. http://www.hauteprovenceinfo.com/article-24385-effondrement-d-un-tunnel-ferroviaire-a-moriez-retour-sur-cet-accident-qui-a-coute-la-vie-a-un-ouvrier.html

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