Category Archives: Railways and Tramways of South-Western France

Tramways de l’Aude – Tramways in Narbonne

The city of Narbonne was served by three tramway routes. The first  travelled West to Thezan and the remainder of the network of the Tramways de l’Aude. That tram route is covered in the post which can be found on the link below:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/11/02/tramways-de-laude-thezan-to-narbonne

Trams left the station building which was opposite the Gare du Midi and headed South and West through the city before leaving in the direction of Thezan. This was Line No. 1 on the sketch plan below. [16]The tramway station building was small. It can be seen above, just in front of the water tanks outside the Gare du Midi. The tramway itself is also visible above, running from the tramway  station building off to the left of the picture. [1]

The tramway ran on the right-hand side of the Gare du Midi boundary wall and can just be picked out on the adjacent aerial image from 1930s. [17]The tramway building can be seen on the right of this image. [2]The Gare du Midi [3][10]The Gare du Midi with the tramway in front. The water tanks and the tramway station are visible once again. [3]A similar view taken in the early 21st century.A great shot (above) of the tramway station with the Gare du Midi behind and the tramway track just in front – in the bottom left of the picture. [18]

The Gare du Midi building dominates the adjacent picture. The relative size of the tramway building can easily be seen. The building sits to the right of the two watertanks. The tramway can also be seen on the right-hand side of the image. [17]The station shown from the opposite direction. The photographer is standing close to the tramway building. [4]One final postcard view of the station forecourt in the early 1900s. [9]The tram (above) leaves the station and heads Southwest. There are two routes travelling in this direction. The one pictured to the East of the Statue des Combatants and one (not visible) to the West of the statue. The route to the West of the statue is the one which heads for Thezan. The tram in this picture is on the first part of the tramway to Ouveillan. [8]Approximately the same view in the early 21st century.This 1930 aerial image shows the tramway junction to the North of the Statue des Combatants. [17]Taken from the Northeast, this view shows the Statue des Combatants and the approximate alignment of the two tramway routes heading Southwest from the Gare du Midi. Line No. 1 heads for Thezan de Corbieres. Line No. 3 heads Southwest before turning through 180 degrees, passing under the railway line and heading for Ouveillan.A little further Southwest the Boulevard du Gare (now Boulevard Frederic Mistral) met the Boulevard du College (now Boulevard Marcel Sembat). The tramway track was on the left-hand side of the Boulevard du Gare which is on the left of the picture. [10]The same location in the early 21st century.Heading South towards the Canal du Midi. [10]This image shows a tram further along the route to Ouveillan (Line No. 3 on the sketch plan above). It has reached the point on its route which is furthest to the Southwest and is now passing under the standard gauge line before turning Northeast. [13]This image shows the three bridges over the Canal du Midi and I have added the two tramway routes for clarity. Both can be picked out on the image.[5]The same location and again it is just possible to pick out the tramway tracks. [6]The under-bridge in the 21st century.The Standard Gauge Line can be glimpsed in the upper right quadrant of this picture. The bridge carrying what we have called Line No. 1 in just in front of the railway bridge. Line No. 3 does not quite make it onto the right-hand side of the image. [7]A tram returning from Ouveillan. The railway bridge can just be glimpsed in the left background. This location is marked on the sketch plan of the tramways above as a single dot which is elsewhere given the name, ‘Arret Narbonne Ville.’ [15][16]A 21st Century picture of the same location but with the camera much closer to road level. The building on the right is that on he right of the monochrome image and the building on the left clearly match those in the monochrome image above.This picture shows the location of the Arret Narbonne Ville with a tram leaving to the right to head for the Gare du Midi. The same direction as the tram in the monochrome image above. [16]The two tramways are easily seen on this 1930s aerial photograph. Line No. 1 runs from top to bottom of the image, Line No. 3 runs left to right. The Canal du Midi in just off the bottom of the photo. [17]The tramway route to Ouveillan ran along what is now the Quai d’Alsace and then turned Northeast as shown below. The tramway passed under the Standard Gauge line as shown in the 1930 aerial image above and then turned North around the boundary wall of the station goods yard. [17]

It then followed that boundary wall in a northeasterly direction. Its own marshalling yard is shown on the adjacent image. [17]

This location was not the only possible point of exchange between the metre-gauge line and the standard gauge line. The relative size of the facilities is striking. The tramway’s compact facilities kept the tramway overheads low.This image is taken from a point on the bottom edge of the aerial image immediately above looking North into the area of the tramway sidings which has now been completely redeveloped.

The monochrome images above have been aligned to show the tramway running up and down the photograph. It actually ran in a more northeasterly direction. The tramway followed what is now the D913 Rue de Cuxac along the western side of the  large standard gauge facilities until it reached a further series of sidings and a transshipment wharf/shed. [17]This image from the 1930s shows the main tramway route following the banks of the Canal while a branch runs into the Gare du Midi facilities to the East of the D913, where a transshipment wharf and shed are provided. [17]This Google Streetview image shows the line of the tramway to Ouveillan in black and the approximate line of the route into the transshipment yard and wharf in red.The location of the sidings and transshipment shed/wharf in the early 21st Century.

North of the Tramway Station at the Gare du Midi the tramway had further sidings alongside the standard gauge facilities. The third line in Narbonne (Line No. 2, on our sketch plan above) set off North from the Station as well.

On the adjacent aerial image, again from 1930, the transshipment facilities near the line to Ouveillan can be seen in the top left. The tramway station building, bottom centre. The tramway sidings to the East of the Standard Gauge line can just be picked out at the top right of the picture. Careful inspection of the image will show the tramway departing to the East from a point where the sidings begin. This is shown more clearly below.[17]

The modern Avenue de Carnot follows the line of the old road and tramway. The tramway then turns East as on the aerial images from 1930. The road is now known as Rue Beaumarchais. As can be seen on the image immediately above it led to open fields.In the early 21st century the are is now part of the suburbs of Narbonne.

This completes the survey of the tramways in Narbonne. The two routes to Ouveillan and Fleury remain to be covered  as they travel North and East out of the city. Once those posts are completed our survey of the Tramways de l’Aude will also be complete.

References

  1. http://www.commune1871.org/bulletins/pdf/Bulletin_40.pdf, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  2. http://www.trains-de-jardin.net/images/?dossier=Mirliton34/CorbieresAnciens, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  3. http://transpressnz.blogspot.com/2012/10/gare-d3e-narbonne-france.html, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  4. https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/gare/frxna/narbonne, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  5. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/collections/cartes-postales/france/narbonne/narbonne-faubourgs-du-canal-train-55510337.html, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  6. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/collections/cartes-postales/france/narbonne/11-narbonne-les-quais-avec-train-sur-le-pont-525985727.html, accessed on 2nd Novembr 2018.
  7. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/collections/cartes-postales/france/narbonne/departs-div-ref-ee90-aude-narbonne-3-ponts-chariot-douillard-gruissan-canal-canaux-train-trains-363690920.html, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  8. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/collections/cartes-postales/france/narbonne/narbonne-train-locomotive-avenue-de-la-gare-et-monument-des-combattants-chemin-de-fer-belle-animation-453866037.html, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  9. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/collections/cartes-postales/france/narbonne/narbonne-la-gare-facade-tres-beau-plan-anime-612931234.html, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  10. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/collections/cartes-postales/france/narbonne/aude-11-narbonne-joli-plan-sur-les-boulevards-de-la-gare-et-du-college-avec-voiture-ancienne-animation-janson-343316390.html, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  11. https://www.cparama.com/forum/narbonne-t220-20.html, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  12. http://www.wiki-narbonne.fr/index.php?title=Gare_de_Narbonne, accessed on 3rd November 2018.
  13. https://collection-jfm.fr/t/cartes-postales-anciennes/france/11-aude/narbonne-11, accessed on 4th November 2018.
  14. https://phil1101.skyrock.com, accessed on 7th November 2018.
  15. https://www.geneanet.org/cartes-postales/view/5928211#0, accessed on 7th November 2018.
  16. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page1963.htm, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  17. https://remonterletemps.ign.fr, accessed on 8th November 2018.
  18. https://www.cparama.com/forum/narbonne-t220-40.html, 5th November 2018.

 

Tramways de l’Aude – Thezan to Narbonne

To begin this next post we return to the junction station of Thezan. The station sits to the Northwest of the village and is covered in the post which can be found on the link below:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/10/19/tramways-de-laude-les-palais-to-ripaud

For the sake of completeness some of that post is repeated at the start of this blog. …The station location is clearly marked by the red circle on the map above. Some of the infrastructure remains, do the location can be accurately fixed. [2]The four pictures above all show the main station building at Thezan. [3][4] Thezan was a junction station receiving trains from a number of different routes and was one of the busier stations on the network. The two images immediately above show that the main station buildings are still in evidence in the early 21st century, in use as a road maintenance depot. [2]

The junction was to the South east of the town. Trains to Narbonne would bear off to the left.Here a train approaches from Narbonne. The picture shows the telephone booth for the pointman. Given the heavy traffic of passengers and goods, the role of the pointman in Thézan was a position of high responsibility. With the arrival of a train from Narbonne, he had to make sure that no train was due on the common stretch Durban – Port La Nouvelle, then telephone to the train station of Thézan to obtain the authorization to switch the points. [4] There is an excellent page written in French on the site  http://www.thezandescorbieres.com which tells the story of the station. Auto translate in Chrome is a real boon! [4]

There was a small halt in the centre of Thezan at the beginning of Avenue de la Mer. The pictures below show the location early in the 20th and 21st centuries. [3] The tramway junction was to the Southeast of the town. This is the location in 2017. The large buildings on the right of the picture are the Wine Co-operative buildings. When the tramway was in use the D423 did not exist. The 1930s Michelin map show the tramway heading off across the fields towards Montseret and Saint-Andre as below. On arriving at Montseret, the tramway approached the village on Rue de l’Aussou. Its route across the open fields to Montseret is now the D423. It crossed the Ruisseau de Saint-Felix and then dropped away south of the Rue de l’Aussou taking its own route into the village. That route is now the minor road Rue du Tramway and can just be picked out on the South side of Rue de l’Aussou on the OpenStreetMap above.The old tramway bridge on what is now the D423 approaching Montseret. The bridge crosses the Ruisseau de Saint-Felix.The village sign on the Rue de l’Aussou. The ridge, on which Montseret Chateau, sits is just visible beyond the trees above the D423 sign. [5]Montseret Chateau from a distance. [5]The tramway route is the tarmacked narrow road on the right of this image. The Rue de l’Aussou continues in the centre of the picture.The tramway entered the village and then took a route to the north of the D423 through the village. That route is now the Rue de l’Eglise. The three images immediately above show its route. The Chateau can now clearly be seen above the village. The two images above show the approach to the old station site which was close to the Cooperative buildings.Montseret Tramway Station with the church behind. The view is taken looking West-southwest. [6]This view is taken in the same direction at the same location in 2016. The treeline obscures the view. The two images below are taken in opposite directions at this site. The second includes sight of the chateau. [12]The tramway found its own route out of Montseret to the East. The track bed has been tarmacked and is now the Rue des Bergeries. The chateau and its ridge can easily be seen to the North of the old tramway route. Two images taken from close to the Chateau on the ridge above Montseret. [5]The Chateau from the village of Montseret. [7]Should we be focussing on a chateau from the Cathar period in a blog about a tramway from the early 20th century? You might not think so. But this chateau played a significant but small part in the history of the tramway.

The chateau was built in the 10th century. It was an imposing castle, with keep and double ramparts. The name of Moun Séré resulted in its village becoming known as Montséret,. The name comes from ‘sereno’, a small migratory African bird (Bee-eater) which still today comes to nest on top of this rock. [8]In the foreground are the remains of the castle on the rocky outcrop of Roca Longua, and the new village in the plain. In the far left of the picture, the castle of St Martin de Toques, behind in the extension is the massif of the Fontfroide Abbey. [8]

What is surprising is that the crusade against the Albigensians (Cathars) spared the castle. It was not destroyed and indeed survived until around 1550 as a family home/redoubt. Possibly because of the plague, the chateau was abandonned at around that time.

As time passed, the stones of the chateau were used for the construction of the current village and for the low walls between the vines and in the early 20th century they were used to stabilse the embankments of the new tramway! [5]

To the East of Montseret the tramway meets the present D423 on its way towards Saint-Andre-de-Roquelongue.The tramway alignment was along the road to the right in the above image. This view looks back West towards Montseret village. The D423 is on the left.

The old Michelin map shows the tramway route following the old road between Montseret and Saint-Andre-de-Roquelongue to a point just to the West of the Ruisseau de la Caminade.It seems from the 1930s Michelon map and from evidence from aerial photography that the present D423 follows the old tramway route which ran a few metres to the South of the old road. The new alignment of the road can be seen in the 1950s aerial image below. [11]The old road and bridge were just to the North of the tramway and what became the present day D423. [11]The approach to the station site at Saint-Andre.

The tramway then headed straight for Saint-Andre along the route of the present D423. It by-passed the village to the southeast continuing along the line of what is now the D423. The line closed in the 1930s and by the mid-1940s it was a road.

The tramway route is approximately as shown by the pink line on the adjacent 1940s aerial photo. My sketching of the Iine seems to have it to the East of the present road. This is just a slip of the pen as the road follows the route of the old tramway. The station appears to have been sited close to the location of the Co-operative on the South side of the village. I believe that this view is taken looking Northwest through the station site. [13]The route from the centre of the village to the station was known as the Avenue de la Gare, it has a longer name in the early 21st century the Rue de la Cave Cooperative Saint-Andre-de-Roquelongue. The building on the right of the above image is still standing. [13]Two more views, above, of the station. [13]A derailment at Saint-Andre-de-Roquelongue, close to the station site. [13]

The tramway left Saint-Andre-de-Roquelongue along what is now the D423 en route to Bizanet. A short distance beyond Saint-Andre the road crossed the Ruisseau de l’Alvern at a ford and the tramway remained above the watercourse. The modern D423 now follows the route of the tramway.A very early 21st century image of the two routes., looking towards Bizanet. This shows the condition as much the same time as the satellite image was taken.More recently the two short routes have been brought up to the same surfaced standard. This view looks back towards Saint-Andre.The road to Bizanet crossed the GC12 at a staggered junction. The tramway is shown deviating from the road (VO1) south of the GC12 (D613) and rejoining the VO4 North of the GC12 on the 1930s Michelin map above. The staggered junction still exists in the early 21st century, as shown below on the satellite image. The old road reaches the D613 to the right-hand side of the image. The present road running through the middle of the image and reaching the D613 much closer to the road North to Bizanet is the route of the tramway.The picture above shows that the modern D423 crosses the old tramway bridge over the Ruisseau de Saint-Esteve as it approaches the D613 (GC12).

The tramway route to the north side of the main road has been obliterated by the extension of a vineyard across its route. As the adjacent satellite image shows, the route cannot be identified through the field. The red line is an approximation to the route of the tramway.This aerial image from the mid-1940s suggests that the tramway may have dog-legged along the old GC12, although there is some faded evidence in the mage of a route across the field from the portion of the road south of the GC12. Can anyone shed any light on which is the actual route?

North of the GC12 (D613) the tramway continued to follow the line of what is now the D423 across vineyards, around copses and across scrub-land. It passed isolated farms and farm buildings on a relatively straight course across level ground towards Bizanet. The small building in the first colour image below can be seen at the bottom of the adjacent aerial photograph. It is adjacent to the small bridge which appears to be the southern boundary of the grounds of the Monastere de Gaussan which can be seen in plan towards the top of the aerial image. The monastery was an interesting fortified structure as can be seen in the second colour image below.After passing the monastery the tramway continued across relatively flat ground to wards Bizanet.The modern road deviates from the line of the old road and tramway on the approach to Bizanet as the modern road has to climb over the A61 autoroute. The route of the old road and tramway are now lost under the construction of the A61.The tramway route into Bizanet.It appears that as the tramway approached Bizanet it slipped away to the west of the road.

As the aerial photograph shows the route of the tramway is a little unclear. It could have been either the red or green lines show in the photograph. In the early 21st century it is almost impossible to tel. The cemetery has been extended East to meet the road which follows the green line and also southwards over the red alignment.

It would be really helpful if someone with good local knowledge could confirm the tramway route!

The tramway flanked the old village of Bizanet on its western side, before crossing what was a minor road, now the D224 on the West side of the village and reaching the location of the tramway station. The route of the tramway can be picked out to the western edge of this aerieal image from the 1940s. At this time, two important buildings we a little outside the village limits to the West. The Co-operative building and the School(s). [16]

The school buildings are easily seen in these two old postcard pictures of the tramway station at Bizanet.Wagons wait to be loaded adjacent to the station building with the school behind. [14]The school buildings are more easily seen in this image. [15]The station buildings were off this image to the left. [17]

The station site has been lost under the building which survives on the site and which was built in 1935 – the cooperative cellar ‘La Corbière Bizanetoise’. The next three images show that building at different times over the years. [18]The tramway passed to the West of the school grounds and then curved gradually round to the East along the line of the road known in the 21st century as the Rue de la Mouline.This satellite image shows the location of the tramway station circled in green and the approximate tramway alignment in red. These have been imposed on an image from 2016 from Google Earth. Between 1944 and 2016 the village has expanded into the area encircled by the old tramway.The tramway followed the GC12 (D224) Route de Narbonne out of the village to the East.The tramway route slipped to the South of the GC12 (D224) so as to avoid a steep gradient on the road.It then followed the southern shoulder of the highway for a few hundred metres. Before diverting away onto its own route once again as the road began to climb.The line of the old tramway can just be picked out below the road in this image.The line of the old tramway through the campsite to the East of Bizanet.The thin red line shows the approximate tramway route to the East of Bizanet including the length through the campsite. The tramway stays both South of the road and at lower altitude.This 1930s map shows the line approaching the more southerly arm of the GC12 (D613) on the South side of the more northerly arm of the GC12 (D224). On reaching the southerly arm of the GC12 (D613) the tramway crossed the road and took up a position on the southern shoulder of the road. It remained there through the halt for Montredon until close to the junction with the N113 (D6113) where it cut off the corner between the two roads and then took up a place on the southern shoulder of the N113 (D6113) heading into Narbonne.The route outlined above is shown on a more up-to-date map from Google Maps.Looking back from the D613 along the SC113 which follows the line of the old tramway.A little further to the East looking across the vineyards towards Narbonne.The modern D613 curves towards the North as the route of the old tramway continues in a northeasterly direction. This is the approximate location of the halt which served Montredon-des-Corbieres.

The tramway stayed right at this location and ran on to join the N113 (D6113) to the East of Montredon and then crossed the standard gauge line which ran East into Narbonne.The original crossing of the mainline was via a level crossing which the road and tramway shared. The old alignment can just be picked out to the East of the modern D6113 bridge over the standard gauge line.Looking back along the D6113 to the railway bridge. The old route joins the newer road from the left and then follows the D6113 towards Narbonne and on onto the Avenue de Bordeaux as the city suburbs pass by.Avenue de Bordeaux on the way into Narbonne, courtesy of Google Streetview.A sketch plan of the centre of Narbonne showing the tramway network alongside the rail network. There were three tramway routes in Narbonne, our route enters from the bottom left of the sketch. The other two lines will be for a future post. [21]The centre of Narbonne, showing the route of the old tramway from Thezan, courtesy of Google Earth.The entrance of the promenade close to the Gare du Midi in Narbonne. [19]Porte Neuve. [20]The Gare du Midi, Narbonne. [22]The Gare du Midi, Narbonne. [23]A general view of Narbonne. [24]

In the next post we will look more carefully at the tramways and the railways in Narbonne. Suffice to say, today, that we have arrived in Narbonne!

References

  1. Michel Vieux; Tramways a Vapeur de l’Aude; R. Latour Editions 14 rue Sébile 09300 Lavelanet, 2011.
  2. http://www.inventaires-ferroviaires.fr/hd11/11203.a.pdf, accessed on 15th October 2018.
  3. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page4306.htm, accessed on 19th October 2018.
  4. http://www.thezandescorbieres.com/train.htm, accessed on 19th October 2018.
  5. http://audephotos.over-blog.com/article-le-chateau-de-montseret-100684707.html, accessed on 30th October 2018.
  6. https://www.cparama.com/forum/montseret-t168.html, accessed on 30th October 2018.
  7. http://www.sesa-aude.fr/16-juin-2018-Montseret, accessed on 30th October 2018.
  8. http://www.thezandescorbieres.com/monseret.htm, accessed on 30th October 2018.
  9. https://www.cparama.com/forum/saint-andre-de-roquelongue-t219.html, accessed on 30th October 2018.
  10. https://album.minervois-gen.org/index.php?/category/207, accessed on 30th October 2018.
  11. https://remonterletemps.ign.fr/telecharger?x=2.837574&y=43.108009&z=15&layer=GEOGRAPHICALGRIDSYSTEMS.MAPS.SCAN-EXPRESS.STANDARD&demat=DEMAT.PVA$GEOPORTAIL:DEMAT;PHOTOS&missionId=missions.4968045, accessed on 30th October 2018.
  12. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page3670.htm, accessed on 30th October 2018.
  13. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page3577.htm, accessed on 30th October 2018.
  14. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/cartes-postales/europe/france/11-aude/autres-communes?f=keyword:bizanet-11, accessed on 31st October 2018.
  15. https://www.cparama.com/forum/bizanet-t172.html, accessed on 31st October 2018.
  16. https://remonterletemps.ign.fr/telecharger?x=2.830640&y=43.139463&z=13&layer=GEOGRAPHICALGRIDSYSTEMS.MAPS.SCAN-EXPRESS.STANDARD&demat=DEMAT.PVA$GEOPORTAIL:DEMAT;PHOTOS&missionId=missions.4969258, accessed on 1st November 2018.
  17. http://mediatheque.bizanet.over-blog.com/album-1766335.html, accessed on 30th October 2018.
  18. http://www.cavescooperatives.fr/article-bizanet-aude-51251585.html, accessed on 1st November 2018.
  19. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/collections/cartes-postales/france/narbonne/536-narbonne-entree-de-la-promenade-neuve-wagon-de-tramway-646301284.html, accessed on 1st November 2018.
  20. https://www.geneanet.org/connexion/?from=view_limit_redirect&url=https%3A//www.geneanet.org/cartes-postales/view/5928211, accessed on 1st November 2018.
  21. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page1963.htm, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  22. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/collections/cartes-postales/france/narbonne/cpa-narbonne-la-gare-chemin-de-fer-34-herault-transport-484452183.html, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  23. https://picclick.fr/10887967-Narbonne-Narbonne-la-Gare-x-323499958215.html, accessed on 2nd November 2018.
  24. https://picclick.fr/10818350-Narbonne-Narbonne-x-323396587096.html, accessed on 2nd November 2018.

 

 

Tramways de l’Aude – Ripaud to Port La Nouvelle via Portel

The previous two posts in this series about Les Tramways de l’Aude both finished their journeys at Ripaud. These posts can be found at:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/10/19/tramways-de-laude-les-palais-to-ripaud, and

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/10/25/tramways-de-laude-tuchan-to-ripaud-via-durban.

This post continues the journey to the coast from Ripaud, via Portel-des-Corbieres, Sigean and La Nouvelle. The route is shown in the featured image above.

In the last two posts we have seen glimpses of a model made of Ripaud station and its environs by Pascal Deschamps and Christophe Salle. The images which follow are taken from three different websites. The model gives a really good impression of what the Tramways de l’Aude were like in their later years. [1][2][3] The model is in HOm Scale. Ripaud Station  was a junction station. The two lines seen entering the sketch below from the left come from Les Palais and Durban. The line leaving the sketch on the right heads for La Nouvelle.We have already seen, in other posts, some images of the station and its environs in the early 20th century, but these bear repeating here alongside some matching modern images taken at the location.The inn at Ripaud. [4]The inn at Ripaud. The tramway from Durban enters from the bottom right, the tramway from Les Palais enters from the bottom left. [4]The Engine Shed with the station building just in shot on the right and a tram in the station. [5]The engine shed in 2003. [6]The last remaining vestige of the station appears to be this short section of retaining wall which appears in a number of the pictures above!

After quite an intense focus on Ripaud we head on along the tramway towards the coast. The route follows the valley of La Berre and the GC3 (D611A) past the small village of Gleon and on towards Portel-des-Corbieres.The GC3 (D611A) and the old tramway route follow the valley side towards Portel. Trams travelled on the shoulder of the road adjacent to the drop to the River Berre.

After Les Campettes (today, Les Campets) the GC3 (D611A) left the riverside to follow a more direct route to Portel.Along the full length of this journey the tramway remained on the South Side of the GC3. Just before arriving at Portel, the GC105 (D611A) separated from the tramway route which continued to follow the GC3 (D3) into the centre of the old village.

The station was located in front of the Rocbère cooperative cellar. A sign indicating a speed limit of 8km/hr still remained in 1947 at the entrance to the village at the crossroads.  Single track rails were laid directly in the cobbled roads because it was not until 1920 that the first asphalting was seen. Portel station allowed for trains to pass. There was only a relatively sparce service on the line. The winter 1928-1929 passenger schedules were as follows: from Ripaud to La Nouvelle, the trams passed through Portel at 6:32 am and 3:18 pm; the return journey saw trams at 8:29 am and 5:59 pm. [7] A tram trundles through Portel on Avenue de la Gare. [7]The same view in 21st Century. The building on the left is the post office.

The tramway passed through Portel on the GC3 on an approximately North-South axis. The station location is not obvious on the 1930s Michelin map above, nor on the adjacent 1946 aerial photograph. I understand that it was North of the village and so may well have been at the location at the top of the aerial photograph where the road opens out.

If anyone has better information, I would really appreciate hearing from them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tramway in front of the Town Hall. [8]The same location in the early 21st Century.

As the tramway left Portel it crossed La Berre on a single-span arch bridge.A tram crosses the bridge at Portel travelling towards La Nouvelle. [12]A similar view of the bridge at Portel. [9]A view of Portel and its bridge from the South bank of La Berre. [10]The kind of blue sky (above) that we expect from the South of France. [11]

After crossing the bridge  across La Berre (shown in plan in the adjacent satellite image), the tramway and the GC3 (D3) headed southeast.

The modern road at times smooths out the tighter bends on the old GC3.

The first image below is typical of very minor deviations with the old road (and tramway route) now being used as a lay-by and picnic site.

However, just a little further to the Southeast the deviations from the modern road are more pronounced as the maps below show.The old road and the tramway route deviate from the modern D3 to the Southeast of Portel.The route of the old GC3 and the associated tramway deviate again from the modern D3. Not surprising, as the old route is now blocked by the line of the A9/E15 Autoroute – Le Catalane.

Along the length of the GC3 to Sigean the tramway followed the North shoulder of the road. The town is so much larger than when the tramway was in use. The route through the countryside to the West of Sigean has been overwhelmed by the town’s suburbs.

On entering the town, the tramway followed the route indicated on the satellite image below. The pink line is sketched onto the image by hand and is therefore only approximate.The aerial image below was taken in 1942 sometime after the closure of the tramway. The dogleg inntye tramway route can easily be picked out.The tramway ran across the South side of the old village of Sigean along the Avenue de Narbonne and the Route de La Nouvelle.The first of a few images of the line through Sigean. [13]From a similar location close to the station. [13]A later monochrome image after the closure of the tramway also looking West along Avenue de Narbonne. [13]An image from roughly the same location but in the 21st century.An early image from approximately the same location [13]The tram arriving from Portel. [13]The same location in the 21st Century.A tram leaving in the direction of Portel. [14]Another tram leaving for Portel. The view is taken, this time, from the West. [13]This view shows a tram heading the other way – towards La Nouvelle. [13]The route East of Sigean crosses the main standard gauge line near La Nouvelle and then passes through La Nouvelle before reaching Port La Nouvelle.

A few kilometres to the East of Sigean, the tramway and road crossed the River Rieu on a three-arch stone viaduct. The road between Sigean and La Nouvelle was the N9, today it is the D6139. The modern road splits as it approaches Le Rieu. East-bound traffic crosses the old bridge and West-bound traffic uses a new concrete structure to the North of the old bridge.The old bridge is under the traffic lane to the right in the above picture.The ‘Pont du Rieu’ which is to the East of Sigean. The picture is taken from the North. [13]The same bridge from the South. [15]The old bridge taken from a vehicle travelling over the Northern bridge which carries Westbound traffic.

From Le Rieu, which links into the series of lakes close to the coast through which the waters of La Berre flow, the tramway and the N9 (D6139) head for La Nouvelle and its port.  It appears that the tramway followed the N9 almost all the way to the station entrance. Jut before crossing the Standard Gauge line the N( turned south and the tramway followed the road which accessed the port, village and beach at La Nouvelle. The photo below shows the route of the tramway which was under the modern D6139.The N9 is the road shown on the image below entering top left and turning sharply to the south.An aerial image from 1946. [15]OpenStreetMap shows that quite a bit has changed in the road layout In La Nouvelle and to its Northwest. The tramway followed what is now known as Avenue Charles Palauqui. [18]

The old NP has become the D709 and the image immediately below shows that modern road on its approach to the point where the tramway turned into the village of La Nouvelle.The picture below shows the road (D3) crossing the Standard-Gauge line in 21st century. The tramway curved away to the right to make its approach to the terminus station before reaching this rail crossing. It crossed the standard-gauge line at level off to the right of the picture.The next picture shows the point at which the Gare du Midi (and the tramway station) access road left the road running down to the beach. The station access is to the right in the photo. The branch of the tramway leadign to the beach crossed the picture in front of the curved wall of the building close to the centre of the image and then headed off the top left of the picture.The terminus station adjacent to the Gare du Midi, it seems clear to me, from the sketch plan that passenger services took a secondary place in the life of the tramway. Goods were more important. The road junction at the right-hand end of the sketch-plan is the one shown in the Google Streetview image directly above the plan. [17]The very approximate line of the tramway is shown by a thin red line on the above image. The station was adjacent to the Gare du Midi and formed a terminus for the tramway with a branch heading back out of the station to the beach. This short branch saw the greatest passenger use across the whole network! [15]

These next images are from the area around the Gare du Midi and the tramway station.A view of the station site from the West.  The Gare du Midi is visible with a standard-gauge train nearer the camera. The narrow-gauge tramway station was behind. [17]The Gare du Midi passenger facilities are shown on the right of this picture the building ahead is part of the goods handling facilities for the standard-gauge line. The track shown in the front-left of the image is one of the sidings of the Tramways de l’Aude. [19]The three images directly above show the Gare du Midi. [20][21]

The following images focus more one the Tramways de l’Aude, its station buildings and traffic.The three monochrome images immediately above show the Tramways de l’Aude facilities at La Nouvelle. The first two are taken from the North the last is taken looking from the South with the Gare du Midi just off shot to the left. Interspersed with these images are two modern pictures taken to illustrate the present condition of the site and to show that the tramway passenger building still remains. [17]

A short branch ran from the terminus out along the Quai du Port and the Avenue de la Mer to the lighthouse at the end of the harbour wall.The two images immediately above are taken from roughly the same position on Avenue de la Mer!The Tramway can be seen in the forefront of this image of the Quai. [23]A tram trundles along the branch heading for the Gare du Midi. [16]The same buildings but taken from the road rather than the Quai.A view looking West along Avenue de la Mer. [19]This is the nearest Google Streetview can get to showing the same image!The lighthouse at the end of the harbour wall. The tramway travelled right out to the end of the wall. The two images above are very similar but they are not the same! [16]

The images below show the light-house today. The first is the cloest I have been able to find to the angle of the pictures above.This image (above) is the one used as the record image on the internet listing of France’s lighthouses! [24]

The adjacent image is taken from on top of the sea wall. [25]

The image below is the last image in this post and shows an aerial view of the old tramway route from the lighthouse and then curving back along the Avenue de la Mer, before reaching the Quai du Port and the tramway station close to the image horizon! The beaches at La Nouvelle were and are partciularly popular. Fr the short period of the existence of the Tramways de l’Aude income from this short branch was significant. If only that had been true for the rest of the network! [26]

 

References

  1. http://objectif-trains.com/tramways-de-laude, accessed on 25th October 2018.
  2. https://tramways-aude-miniature.webnode.fr/ripaud, accessed on 20th October 2018.
  3. http://www.montelirail.fr/Tous-les-Reseaux-2018-M2_1.68.html, accessed on 25th October 2018.
  4. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page2764.htm, accessed on 20th October 2018.
  5. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page2764.htm, accessed on 20th October 2018.
  6. http://forum.e-train.fr/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=40082&start=60, accessed 20th October 2018.
  7. https://www.lindependant.fr/2014/09/14/quand-le-tramway-circulait-sur-l-avenue-des-corbieres,1929254.php, accessed on 26th October 2018.
  8. https://www.geneanet.org/cartes-postales/view/1489269#0, accessed on 26th October 2018.
  9. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g1221593-d1532261-i209014308-Relais_De_Tamaroque-Portel_des_Corbieres_Aude_Occitanie.html, accessed on 26th October 2018.
  10. http://renovhabitat.legrandnarbonne.com/1048-photos/3881-portel-des-corbieres-credit-photo-jean-belondrade.html, accessed on 26th October 2018.
  11. https://www.booking.com/hotel/fr/relais-de-tamaroque.fr.html?aid=356983;label=gog235jc-hotel-XX-fr-relaisNdeNtamaroque-unspec-gb-tab-L%3Afr-O%3Aandroid-B%3AandroidSwebkit-N%3AXX-S%3Abo-U%3AXX-H%3As;sid=b0566469f8863f77cde47733a9d9380a;dist=0&keep_landing=1&sb_price_type=total&type=total&, accessed on 26th October 2018.
  12. https://www.midilibre.fr/2011/08/04/le-pont-de-tamaroque-a-desenclave-la-commune,366144.php, accessed on 26th October 2018.
  13. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/cartes-postales/europe/france/11-aude/sigean?f=moyens-de-transport:tramway, accessed on 27th October 2018.
  14. https://openagenda.com/jep-2017-occitanie/events/la-tramway-de-l-aude, accessed on 26th October 2018.
  15. https://remonterletemps.ign.fr, accessed on 28th October 2018.
  16. https://cascastelchateau.fr/les-tramways-de-laude, accessed on 28th October 2018.
  17. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page3478.htm, accessed on 29th October 2018.
  18. https://www.openstreetmap.org/search?query=La%20Nouvelle%20aude#map=16/43.0183/3.0423, accessed on 28th October 2018.
  19. https://www.cparama.com/forum/la-nouvelle-t84-20.html, accessed on 27th October 2018.
  20. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/cartes-postales/europe/france/11-aude/port-la-nouvelle?f=lieux:gare, accessed on 29th October 2018.
  21. https://www.google.co.uk/search?sa=G&hl=en-GB&q=JPEG&tbm=isch&tbs=simg:CAQSlwEJENL1BiSNLbMaiwELEKjU2AQaBAgVCAMMCxCwjKcIGmIKYAgDEij-A9cKlg3gAtkKigO2DbgN2grlHuI50CvjOM8r6znkOMorzSvqOMwrGjA2bms8w4xONqNoGh_1spsaQdLb8Z1Oq0rqFfrLFGDo8dtaWxhKqI0H2WnQKaWo-NjUgBAwLEI6u_1ggaCgoICAESBEm_1nq8M,isz:m&ved=0ahUKEwjHg7bry6veAhWCESwKHaKBAxgQ2A4ILSgC&biw=1345&bih=865#imgrc=Cf7MJPy4Kj0SXM:, accessed on 29th October 2018.
  22. https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g1025646-d12318071-i345268003-Le_Phare_de_Port_la_Nouvelle-Port_La_Nouvelle_Aude_Occitanie.html, accessed on 29th October 2018.
  23. https://www.geneanet.org/connexion/?from=view_limit_redirect&url=https%3A//www.geneanet.org/cartes-postales/view/6259095, accessed on 25th October 2018.
  24. http://www.lighthousesrus.org/showSql.php?page=Med/FranceS, accessed on 29th October 2018.
  25. https://www.ibiblio.org/lighthouse/fras.htm, accessed on 29th October 2018.
  26. https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/videos/la-nouvelle?sort=mostpopular&offlinecontent=include&phrase=la%20nouvelle, accessed on 29th October 2018.

Tramways de l’Aude – Tuchan to Ripaud via Durban

This next journey along Les Tramway de l’Aude begins in the town of Tuchan in the Southeast of the Departement of Aude.The small town of Tuchan – the tramway station was off to the bottom right of this satellite image.A schematic drawing of the station site. The watercourse shown on the sketch will not be the River Petit Verdouble. There was a mill close to the station site and it is possible that the watercourse shown would have been a mill-race! The sketch has the North point to the bottom of the image. [3]The old tramway station site is outlined in pink. In the bottom corner, the old engine shed is still standing.

Joseph Pestel on the RMweb forum (26th October 2018) comments: “There are three buildings left on the old station site still if you include the water tower. The river on the station map is a figment of the cartographers imagination. All there is in reality is a deep drainage channel alongside the road.” [22]This 1942 aerial image shows the station site at that time. The original buildings can be picked out – the engine shed, the passenger building and the goods office. There appears to be no sign of a mill-race. This suggests that the sketch plan of the station may erroneously include the river passing under the station. [4]The route of the line from Tuchan as far as Ripaud. [3]The tramway timetable for Tuchan to Ripaud. [3]The 7 images immediately above show the station site and surrounding buildings. [1][2][3]

Immediately on leaving the station the tramway and the GC105 (D611) crossed the river to the East of Tuchan. I have seen that river given two different names – Le Petit Verdouble and Riviere du Mas de Segure. The images below show trams crossing the bridge over the river.The two images above show trams on Le Pont sur Le Petit Verdouble close to Tuchan. [1][2].

Joseph Pestell comments: “In all these years (40+!), I had never noticed that the caption on that photo of the bridge is wrong. The Petit Verdouble (usually a dry bed) is somewhat further east and does not intersect with the tramway until about a km further east at the junction for Nouvelles. That bridge is indeed over the watercourse (usually dry but a torrent in the 1999 floods) that takes you up past the Mas de Segur towards Palairac.” [22]

The 1930s map adjacent to these notes shows the tramway route from Tuchan to Durban via Villeneuve-les-Corbieres.

The tramway climbed about 100 metres from Tuchan to the Col d’Extreme before dropping down about 120 metres into Villeneuve. The distance to Villeneuve tramway station was about 14 kilometres.

The first few kilometres Northest from Tuchan followed a gentle grade through vineyards with the trams running on the eastern shoulder of the GC105.After just over 2km the road and tramway crossed the Riviere du Col d’Extreme.The modern D611 has its own new bridge. The old GC105 and the tramway route can be seen on the image on the North side of the modern road in the image above. The hills around the road begin to close in and the valley begins to narrow from this point although the gradient of the road remained relatively shallow for a few more kilometres. The tramway continued to follow its eastern shoulder.

The image above, together with the adjacent satellite image [4] leave some significant questions about the actual alignment of the tramway. The 1930s Michelinn Map above suggests that the tramway followed the route of the modern road to the East of the River. However, the 1942 aerial image shows two alternative possible routes for the tramway, one on each side of the Riviere du Col d’Extreme. Reviewing the 1950s 1:50,000 IGN Map leaves the question open.

It is not clear whether the GC105 and/or the tramway were on the West or East side of the river. It is clear on the adjacent aerial image that the road from Nouvelles crossed the River in an East-West direction and then turned south to meet the modern road alignment to the Southwest of the modern bridge at the location shown in the image above. In the image below, the purple horizontal line on the map masks the location of the bridge on the line of the road to/from Nouvelles. [4]

It is not clear what route the tramway followed, but I should be inclined to accept the route given by the 1930s Michelin Map. which would match the thicker roadside line on the 1950s map above. Perhaps the road in the period before the 1930s was aligned to the West of the river and the tramway to the East. The road may then have been realigned to follow the tramway in the period prior to the making of the Michelin Map. I can find no conclusive evidence.

A counter argument is put by Joseph Pestel (26th October 2018), which given his residence close to the line is likely to be most reliable: “At Nouvelles (or rather at the road junction for Nouvelles), one can still see clearly (on the ground rather than with aerial photos) that the road used to stay on the right-hand (west) bank of the Petit Verdouble. There was a single bridge across to the road to Nouvelles. I don’t know at what date the road was widened and taken over two bridges (both washed away in 1999) to run for about 250M on the left-hand bank of the river. But I am sure that I have seen a pic of a halt at Nouvelles for the tramway on that side of the river. So my guess is that the road was diverted at the time the tramway was built. But not impossible that the road was moved after the tramway was built or even after closure which would explain the confusion on the Michelin map.” [22]

North of this location the road and tramway approached the Col d’Extreme. The modern road has been cut through the high point of the Col. As a result the old road alignment seems to have been lost and it is also difficult top pick out the tramway alignment. The 1942 Aerial image below shows that the road and tramway diverged close to the summit of the Col.The Col d’Extreme. The GC105 and tramway rose realtively steeply to the summit. Beyond the summit the topography dictated that the GC105 needed to fall way relatively quickly and a single hairpin bend was required to allow this to happen. The tramway needed a more gentle route to the North of the summit and diverged to the East of the road and followed a wider arc. [4]

The tramway and the GC105 remained distinct from each other for around a kilometre North of the Col. Both dropped quickly away from the summit but the tramway needed a gentler decent than the road. The earthworks associated with the modern D611 seem to have obliterated the old tramway and GC105 road.

On the decent to Villeneuve-les-Corbieres the tramway switched to the western shoulder of the GC105. I could find little or no evidence of the tramway along this stretch of the modern D611, except perhaps some old bridge abutments! I guess the evidence is tenuous at best, but we do know that this was the route followed by the tram and that the tracks ran on the West side of the GC105 (D611), so it is just possible that the concrete blocks visible beyond the  modern bridge railings below are remnants of the tramway?When the road and tramway reached Villeneuve-les-Corbieres they curved to the East through the old village centre. The Michelin map from the 1930s shows a small village on the South side of the River Berre. The village has extended across the river and the two banks of the river are linked by a series of bridges.A Google Streetview image which shows the three bridges crossing the river bed in Villeneuve-les-Corbieres – this is taken from the far bank. The old village is ahead across the river and the tramway and GC105 were beyond.The tramway route through Villeneuve-les-Corbieres.

After passing through thenheart of the old village, trams encountered the tramway station close to the River Berre and to the East of the village.The GC105 (D611) left the village  heading East and the tramway station was encountered on the first significant piece of open ground alongside the road. The first house on the left of the picture appears in one of the 21st Century images below. [5]The two images immediately above take us much closer in on the station! The first is an exceprt from the earlier image. [6]Wine was clearly a major commodity carried by the tramway! [7]Looking from the village towards the station site in the 21st Century. The house on the left is the one noted in the monochrome image of the village taken from the South and shown above.Still travelling in the same direction, this is the approximate location of the tramway station at Villeneuve-les-Corbieres. There is nothing of the station left to see and in the 21st Century there has been significant development on and around the site.This view of the old station site is taken from a minor road on the North side of the River Berre. The single storey buildings are built on what seems to have been the station site.

The tramway and GC105 followed the valley of La Berre from Villeneuve-les-Corbieres to Durban. It approached Durban Corbieres from the West and remained on the line of what is now the D611 through the village.The route is confirmed on the adjacent 1930s Michelin Map which shows the line on the North shoulder of the ols GC105 between Villeneuve and Durban. The location of the station can also be picked out to the East of the village of Durban and on the North side of the GC105.

Worthy of note is that in the 1930s the village is shown on the map as being completly to the south of the river Berre with one bridge crossing the river and carrying the IC40. on the OpenStreetMap image above there are two further bridges shown to the East of the IC40 bridge and the village has expanded significantly to the North of the river.

Durban is a town that has experienced its fair share of natural disasters. There have been significant floods over many centuries. The historic postcards below show a range of different locations along the Avenue de la Gare which later became the Avenue des Corbieres and the D611. In the pictures the flood defences vary from something quite elaborate, with steps to allow access to the top of the wall, to plain walls.

The more modern images culminate in pictures of present day arrangements which appear to have widened out the valley and so reduced the height of the flood defences. Before looking at the postcards it is worth noting the debilitating nature of the November 1999 floods. The picture immediately below shows the extent of the floods overlain on a map of the village. [12]The tramway entered the village from the Southwest. The original route across the River Berre could be seen on the left as the trams entered the town passed the Gendarmerie.The river bridge, the tramway passed behind the Gendarmerie. [10]

The first series of pictures below centre around the junction between the modern Avenue des Corbieres and the Rue du Fort.In this image there is a plain flood-defence wall on the left. The road to the right is Rue du Fort and the Fort can be seen at the top of the hill. The tramway can just be picked out in the carriageway on the left of the picture [8]The same location on a different location. [9]The tramway is more obvious in this image. The picture was taken from a point slightly further to the West along the flood-defence wall. [10]The same location in the 21st century. The flood protection now appears almost non-existent.A little further East and looking back to the West. the steps to the level of the top of the flood defences are on the right of the picture and there is evidence about halfway up the right-hand side of the image of the lattice girder bridge across the river. [10]A similar image in the 21st century. These are now the only steps to a higher level and provide access to the lattice girder bridge over the River Berre.

These next pictures are centred on the junction between the modern Avenue des Corbieres and Rue du Centre.Rue du Centre is the road off to the left in this image. We are looking West along the Avenue des Corbieres [5] This image is taken from a point a few metres further to the East than the one above it. [8]We have turned round to face East. The building at the centre of the image seems very similar to that on earlier images. The difference is that this one has windows facing West. Note the stone steps which are not evident in the two images above this one. [9][11]This image is taken from a point slightly further to the West. [9]Approximately the same location in the 21st Century. As above, there is now only a dwarf wall to provide a parapet to the river wall rather than the earlier high flood-defences.Two aerial images of the village showing two different river levels. The first shows very little water in the channel. [11]As the tramway approached the station at the west end of the narrower road alongside the river, the road widened out for a short distance. [13]A similar view in the 21st century. Both views are taken looking West. The modern image shows just how accessible the watercourse now appears!We have already noted that the station at Durban Corbieres was to the East of the village centre. [9]The tram sets off down the road from the station back into Durban – today it is the D611, Avenue de Narbonne. [13]Just a few yards further down the road, but this time without the tram. [13]

From Durban the tram passed through one more station before reaching the junction at Ripaud. The stop for Villeseque des Corbieres was on the main road a distance West from the village. The site of the station was just to the North of the junction between the GC105 and the IC50 to Villeseque.After the station for Villeseque the tramway and the GC105 headed North towards Ripaud. Both road and tramway followed the eastern bank of La Berre with the cream way on the western shoulder of the GC105. 

Within a kilometre of Ripaud the river alignment was such that the road and tramway could not continue to follow its East bank. The GC105 and the tramway crossed to the West bank and the tramway then entered a short tunnel.

The old road eventually was closed and the new D611 now runs through the old tramway tunnel. The satellite aerial image below is that the highest resolution possible, The image was taken in 1962 prior to the diversion of the road. [4]

The road and tramway crossed the River Berre on a single span bridge.

The adjacent map, centred on Ripaud, shows the location of two short tunnels. That circled in blue is the tunnel on the line between Durban and Ripaud. [15]

This is the only image I have found which shows a tram, the tunnel, the bridge and the road all in one picture. The green arrow shows the route of the road which is highlighted below with a black arrow. [20]This view is taken from the West across the bridge over the Berre and shows the tramway tunnel portal. The GC105 turned to the right and followed the river. [16]A much later view showing the D611 now running through the widened tramway tunnel. [17]The single-span arch bridge over the River Berre south of Ripaud. [18]The North portal of the old tramway tunnel now takes the D611, the old GC105 is to the left of the rock curtain and is no longer used for traffic. The river flows below and to the left.The approach to the road junction at Ripaud in the 21st Century. The arch bridge crosses the Ruisseau de Ripaud immediately adjacent to it confluence with La Berre. The inn ahead is in Ripaud. The tramway cross the bridge in the foreground and then formed a junction with the tramway from the North.An early view of the bridge. [21]

We noted in the last post that there is an excellent model of the tramways of Ripaud and we will see more images of that model in the next post. Here is one to finish this length of our journey, (c) http://objectif-trains.com/tramways-de-laude. [19]This picture of the model railway shows the model of the inn which can be seen in the Goggle Streetview image above! [19]

References

  1. https://www.cparama.com/forum/tuchan-t246-60.html, accessed on 21st October 2018.
  2. http://association-amis-aguilar.eklablog.com/cartes-postales-anciennes-gallery16764, accessed on 21st October 2018.
  3. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page3035.htm, accessed on 21st October 2018.
  4. https://remonterletemps.ign.fr, accessed on 22nd October 2018.
  5. http://www.thezandescorbieres.com, accessed on 15th October 2018.
  6. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page2790.htm, accessed on 23rd October 2018.
  7. https://www.cparama.com/forum/villeneuve-les-corbieres-t1029.html, accessed on 23rd October 2018.
  8. https://www.communes.com/cartes-postales-anciennes-durban-corbieres, accessed on 24th October 2018.
  9. https://www.cparama.com/forum/durban-t251.html, accessed on 24th October 2018.
  10. http://noriadurbanaise.id.st/durban-hier-c356269, accessed on 24th October 2018.
  11. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/collections/search?term=durban%20corbieres, accessed on 24th October 2018.
  12. https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Reconstruction-and-development-of-Durban-Corbieres-following-the-November-1999-floods_fig2_309345160, accessed on 24th October 2018.
  13. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page3036.htm, accessed on 24th October 2018.
  14. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page2855.htm, accessed on 24th October 2018.
  15. http://www.tunnels-ferroviaires.org/tu11/11152.1.pdf, accessed on 25th October 2018.
  16. https://www.cparama.com/forum/ripaud-t1058.html, accessed on 25th October 2018.
  17. http://www.gite-corbieres.fr/2014/09/se-baigner-en-riviere, accessed on 25th October 2018.
  18. https://randoslondres.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/etape-1-corbieres, accessed on 25th October 2018.
  19. https://tramways-aude-miniature.webnode.fr/ripaud, accessed on 20th October 2018.
  20. http://www.inventaires-ferroviaires.fr/hd11/11203.a.pdf, accessed on 15th October 2018.
  21. http://informations-documents.com/environnement/coppermine15x/displayimage.php?pid=32231, accessed on 25th October 2018.
  22. http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/136974-tramways-de-laude/page-2, accessed on 29th October 2018.

Tramways de l’Aude – Les Palais to Ripaud

For this next post, we have travelled back on the line from Mouthoumet to Les Palais and are ready to explore more of the Tramways de l’Aude closer to the Mediterranean coast.

Les Palais station is in the middle of a triangle of tracks which allows trains to be directed between Fabrezan, the terminus at Mouthoumet and Thezan, This is not in an urban area, it is isolated and only a short distance from Saint-Laurent-de-la Cabrerisse, hence the legend of the postcard below. [1]The station building at Les Palais in the very early 21st Century!A schematic plan of the station. [2]This is not the best quality of image but it shows the station at Les Palais. [5]

Continuing eastward towards Thezan and La Nouvelle, the train passes in front of the Pech Maurel farm, through the junction with the minor road to Coustouge, Aude, not to be confused with Coustouges, Pyrenees Orientales, which runs via Parazols along the GC106 (D106) [1]

The tramway remains on the GC3 (D611), traversing wide open vineyards to a halt close to Villerouge-la-Cremade. I have not been able to find any information about this halt other than the fact that it existed and was close to the road to Villerouge-la-Cremade.The probable location of the tramway halt for Villerouge-la-Cremade.

Beyond Villerouge-la-Cremade, the trams would pootle along at a steady pace on the North side of the straight GC3 (D611) to the junction with the GC12 (D613) where the tramway and the main road turned to the Southeast. The present D611 bears the name Avenue de la Gare as it enters Thezan-des-Corbieres. The station location was just to the Northwest of the town, roughly where the picture below is taken.The location is clearly marked by the red circle on the map above. As will be noted later in this post, the location can be fixed exactly by the remaining station buildings. [3]The four pictures above all show the main station building at Thezan. [4][5] Thezan was a junction station receiving trains from a number of different routes. It was one of the busier stations on the network. The two images immediately above show that the main station buildings are still in evidence in the early 21st century, in use as a road maintenance depot. [3]

The junction was to the South east of the town. Trains to Narbonne would bear off to the left.Here a train approaches from Narbonne. The picture shows the telephone booth for the pointman. Given the heavy traffic of passengers and goods, the role of the pointman in Thézan was a position of high responsibility. With the arrival of a train from Narbonne, he had to make sure that no train was due on the common stretch Durban – Port La Nouvelle, then telephone to the train station of Thézan to obtain the authorization to switch the points. [5] There is an excellent page written in fench on the site www.thezandescorbieres.com which tells the story of the station. Auto translate in Chrome is a real boon! [5]

There was a small halt in the centre of Thezan at the beginning of Avenue de la Mer. The pictures below show the location early in the 20th and 21st centuries. [4]

The tramway junction was to the Southeast of the town. This is the location in 2017. The large buildings on the right of the picture are the Wine Co-operative buildings. When the tramway was in use the D423 did not exist. The 1930s Michelin map show the tramway heading off across the fields towards Montseret and Saint-Andre as below. We will return to the route towards Narbonne in a future post. For now, we continue Southeast towards Donos and Mont plaisir. As can be seen on the map above, the tramway follows the Northeastern shoulder of the GC3 (D611) all the way to Donos which is the location of a vinyard an little else in the 21st Century.

The tramway continues along the left-hand shoulder of the GC3 to Monplaisir. Over much of this length the tramway ran in a straight line and at a level grade. Monplaisir was another small hamlet and slipped quickly by as trams trundled on to the next junction/station at Ripaud.

The route to Ripaud was not initially demanding on trams, the terrain was flat and grades were shallow. The GC3 (D611) and the tramway followed the line of the Ruisseau du Ripaud towards the hills. As the hills began to close in around the river, road and tramway gradients still remained reasonable, as can be seen in the Google Streetview images below.At one location the road curvature was a little tight for the tramway and the bend was eased.The location in the Google image above is shown at the time of the tramway in this image. The tramway tunnel has been removed and a cutting provided for the modern D611. [7]

he image below shows the location of Ripaud Station in 2017. Our route from Thezan comes in along the D611 from the left. The route from Durban and the South comes in from behind the camera and the route to Portel heads of into the distance on the right side of the picture The station itself was a little way up the route to Portel as can be seen in the sketch plan below. [8]  A series of postcard images of the station follow below. The first two show the inn in the picture above. [8]The two tramway lines are evident in the image immediately above. [8]This image shows the station building on the North side of the road with the tramway tracks to the South side of the road. [7]

We are finishing this section of our journey at Ripaud because it is a junction station. We will return to it in the next post as we travel to it along the line from Durban. It is worthy of note that Ripaud is the subject of an excellent model of the Tramways de l ‘Aude made and operated by a team that take it around exhibitions in France, (Marie, Pascal and Christophe). [6]

Their website is really worth a visit – https://tramways-aude-miniature.webnode.fr. [6] They say: “The model of the Ripaud station is composed of two modules, 2 metres long and 60 cm deep. In order to respect the original layout, HOm scale was required. The left side, made by Christophe, represents the inn at Ripaud located in front of the River Berre, the way going left towards Tuchan and crossing a bridge and the one to the right to Lézignan. Pascal made the other module, the passenger building and the Ripaud depot overlook a large vineyard. Further on, towards Portel, a small house served as a dormitory for the staff. Marie created the backdrop of the two modules.”

References

  1. Michel Vieux; Tramways a Vapeur de l’Aude; R. Latour Editions 14 rue Sébile 09300 Lavelanet, 2011.
  2. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page3648.htm, accessed on 18th October 2018.
  3. http://www.inventaires-ferroviaires.fr/hd11/11203.a.pdf, accessed on 15th October 2018.
  4. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page4306.htm, accessed on 19th October 2018.
  5. http://www.thezandescorbieres.com/train.htm, accessed on 19th October 2018.
  6. https://tramways-aude-miniature.webnode.fr/ripaud, accessed on 20th October 2018.
  7. https://cascastelchateau.fr/les-tramways-de-laude, accessed on 20th October 2018.
  8. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page2764.htm, accessed on 20th October 2018.

Tramways de l’Aude – Fabrezan to Mouthoumet

We return to Fabrezan in order to continue our journey on Les Tramways de l’Aude. The tramway routes in the village of Fabrezan are shown as black lines on this map. The bridge over the River Orbieu is circled in red. The village station was on the northern edge of this map. [1]The two images above show the bridge at Fabrezan. The first, at the time the tramway was in use, the second, in the early 21st century. [1]This postcard shows a view of the village and bridge and is taken in the early 20th Century from the East. [2]This view is taken from the West. [3]

After crossing L’Orbieu the tramway followed the GC112 (D611) as far as Les Palais. In the course of this short journey, it first followed the wetsern shoulder of the GC112 and then swung away from the old road to the West, to loop round to join the road crossing the River Nielle a  tributary of L’Orbieu. It appears that the modern D611 now follows the tramway alignment. The tramway then swung southwards through the hamlet of Les Palais and then entering the village station. 

Les Palais station is in the middle of a triangle of tracks which allows trains to be directed between Fabrezan, the terminus at Mouthoumet and Thezan, This is not in an urban area, it is isolated and only a short distance from Saint-Laurent-de-la Cabrerisse, hence the legend of the postcard below.The two-storey building is used as a residence by the station manager and his family, the ground floor is reserved for the administration. The stationmaster’s wife is also at her window,  there is also a group of young girls among whom there are probably two twins, if we can trust their identical clothes. … Barrels lie on the ground, and we can decipher the names of their owners: A. Bouyssiere, Paris;  Monsieure Fabre; Monsieur Monge; Monsieur Boussieux. Behind, the water pump seems to be in action feeding the locomotive, the water comes from the River Nielle. The goods train, of which we can see two wagons, comes from Mouthoumet and is bound for Thézan. The rails we can see in the foreground are the siding serving the loading platform. [4]The station building at Les Palais in the very early 21st Century!A schematic plan of the station. [13]

Continuing eastward towards Thezan and La Nouvelle, the train passes in front of the Pech Maurel farm, crosses the road to Coustouge, in the Aude, not to be confused with Coustouges in the Pyrenees Orientales, and approaches the Parazols stopover at KP 17,502, named after a stream. However, we will leave that arm of the tramway and focus on the westerly route to Mouthoumet.

Heading West from Les Palais, the tramway first encounters Saint-Laurent-de-la-Cabrerisse.

As the adjacent Michelin map from the 1930s shows the tramway followed the northern shoulder of the GC3 (D613) to Saint-Laurent-de-la-Cabrerisse and the station can be picked out on the North side of the road close to the village.

The tramway continued from there through Talarain, Villerouge Termenes, Felines Termaines, Laroque de fa and on to Mouthoumet.

 

The images immediately above show the station at Saint-Laurent-de-la-Cabrerisse. The second image shows the GC3 road (on the right) with a train approaching from Les Palais. The first image shows an altogether much busier scene taken from the approximate location of the train in the second image. [5] The smaller adjacent image is taken at a similarly busy time to the first image above. [7]Saint-Laurent-de-la-Cabrerisse, Avenue de Narbonne. the location is probably a few hundred meters closer to the village centre than the station. [6]The picture above possibly sows the same location in 2017.

The adjacent image is taken in the opposite direction on the Avenue de Narbonne.Close to the centre of the village. [12]The tramway – looking back into the village of Saint-Laurant-de-la-Cabrerisse. [10]Looking back along the line of the tramway/road into the village of Saint-Laurent-de-la-Cabrerisse in the early 21st Century. The picture is taken from almost the same position as the monochrome image above. It is interesting to note that the church tower has been rebuilt but that the design is different!The bridge at Saint-Laurent-de-la-Cabrerisse at the time of the tramway. [8]The bridge was destroyed during WW2. This was the temporary structure built to replace it. [8]

After Saint-Laurent-de-la-Cabrerisse, the tramway headed southwest, along the eastern shoulder of the GC12 (D613) towards Talairan. At first the road and tramway travelled across open vineyards but as Talairan came closer the tramway and road found themselves within the increasingly narrow valley of the Ruisseau de Remouly a tributary of the River Nielle. The tramway had to negotiate a more tortuous course alongside the river.The station at Talairan appears in the three postcard images immediately above. [9][10]A schematic plan of the station at Talairan which was alongside the road approaching the village of Talairan from Les Palais. [11]After passing through the centre of Talairan the tramway followed the southern shoulder of the GC12. [10]A similar view in 2017.

Then next village along the line was Villerouge-Termenes, an intersting historical village with a large castle. The tramway stayed above the village on what is now the D613.An excellent schematic plan of the village. [17]The Cathar Castle of Villerouge-Termenes. [14]The tramway route was about 100 metres behind the church in this image. [15]

I have been unable to identify the actual location of the station in the village – it seems as though the most likely location is an area of open ground to the south of the church and on the south side of the GC12 (D613) The area laaid out for parking at the bottom of the adjacent image. The church can be seen at the top of the picture and the village is just off the north edge of the photograph.

A short distance after Villerouge the tramway entered Felines-Termenes. On the way there it was necessary for the tramway route to separate from the road as the GC12 encountered a steep gradient. The two routes are highlighted on the satellite image below.The tramway came down the hill into Felines-Termenes following the Ruisseau du Gazel and after crossing the Ruisseau de Saint-Jean it crossed the River Libre. The station was 100 metres or so beyond the bridge over Le Libre. Its layout is shown immediately below. [16]The three images immediately above show the site of the station at Felines. I is impossible to finally confirm the exact location of the station but the barrage in the plan above appears to be visible in the river on Google satellite images of the village. [16]Beyond Felines-Termenes  the tramway and road meandered thorugh the forested hills to Laroque de Fa.Once again the tramway and main road remained outside the village of Laroque and on this occasion, travelling round three sides of the village.The tram approaching Laroque on the GC12 (D613). The road can be seen to the right of the tram. It is difficult to locate the station in the village but the 1930s Michelin map shows the tramway on the left side of the road travelling round the village and then just to the North of the village on the GC12 switching to the other shoulder of the road to complete the journey to the terminus at Mouthoumet [18]Approximately the same location in the early 21st century.A crumbling bridge in Laroque! [23]Almost the same location in 2017.This image shows the tramway curving around the village and the picture below shows the same location in the early 21st century. [21]The remaining journey to Mouthoumet was completed on the South side of the GC12.

Before leaving Laroque it is worth noting that there was a tramway accident in the village in 1912. [19]

The accident is noted on Les Forums de Passions Métrique et Etroite!! [19]

This note is provided on that forum in French. It has been translated using “Google translate”:

“This Monday, June 24, 1912, it is 1 pm, from Monthoumet, the machine No. 11 driven by the mechanic Mr. Olive, enters the village, pulling behind a wagon of forage which may have been badly loaded or the load may have shifted. The locomotive and wagon derailed and, in its fall, disemboweled the wall of Dr. Lautier’s shed. Jets of vapours escaped from the exploding boiler burning to the third degree. The unfortunate Mr. Olive, according to the witnesses of the scene, did not die quickly,  but his sufferings were atrocious. He absorbs into his lungs the steam that escapes. Despite all the care that will be lavished on him, he will die the next day at Lézignan hospital. ”

The source of this short story is Mr. Fabre, quoted by Michel Vieux, Steam Tramway of the Aude, p. 102. [4]

Having noted this accident and particularly having commiserated with those affected by it, we move on towards the terminus of the line at Mouthoumet. The tramway followed the lefthand shoulder of the GC12.Gradients along this final length of this branch of the tramway were not steep and the final few kilometres of the tramway were straight as a die. The station was set to the north of the main road. North is at the bottom of the plan below.The road on the right of the photograph above is Rue de la Gare. The engine shed would have been at about the location of the young Cyprus Tree, perhaps just beyond it on the line of the side road. The main road turns away to the south in the image, just as it does on the sketch plan above.The tramway station was immediately in front of the Gendarmerie in Mouthoumet! [22]The station at Mouthoumet. [20]

Another journey is over. …. In the next post we will return to Les Palais and start to explore the remainder of the Tramways de i’Aude system.

References

  1. http://www.inventaires-ferroviaires.fr/hd11/11203.a.pdf, accessed on 15th October 2018.
  2. https://www.geneanet.org/cartes-postales/view/4728335#0, accessed on 18th October 2018.
  3. https://www.geneanet.org/cartes-postales/view/4728343#0, accessed on 18th October 2018.
  4. Michel Vieux; Tramways a Vapeur de l’Aude; R. Latour Editions 14 rue Sébile 09300 Lavelanet, 2011.
  5. https://www.cparama.com/forum/saint-laurent-de-la-cabrerisse-t29081.html, accessed on 18th October 2018.
  6. http://www.thezandescorbieres.com/train.htm, accessed  on 18th  October 2018.
  7. https://www.communes.com/cartes-postales-anciennes-saint-laurent-de-la-cabrerisse, accessed on 18th October 2018.
  8. https://www.geneanet.org/cartes-postales/search/?country=FRA&go=1&place=saint-laurent-de-la-cabrerisse&sort=date_depot, accessed on 18th October 2018.
  9. https://www.geneanet.org/cartes-postales/view/5928362#0, accessed on 18th October 2018.
  10. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/cartes-postales/europe/france/11-aude/autres-communes?f=keyword:talairan, accessed on 18th October 2018.
  11. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page3929.htm, accessed on 18th October 2018.
  12. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page3875.htm, accessed on 18th October 2018.
  13. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page3648.htm, accessed on 18th October 2018.
  14. http://www.beyond.fr/villages/villerouge-termenes.html, ,accessed on 19th October 2018.
  15. http://chateauvillerouge.wix.com/termenes#!, accessed on 19th October 2018.
  16. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page4163.htm, accessed on 19th October 2018.
  17. http://www.belcaire-pyrenees.com/article-le-chateau-de-villerouge-termenes-2eme-partie-50304313.html, accessed on 19th October 2018.
  18. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page4005.htm, accessed on 19th October 2018.
  19. http://www.passion-metrique.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=9326&start=90, accessed on 19th October 2018.
  20. http://www.cpaaude.fr/THEMES/TRAMWAYS/index_fichiers/Page4066.htm, accessed on 19th October 2018.
  21. http://www.laroquedefa.fr/village/photos1900.htm, accessed on 19th October 2018.
  22. http://www.audecathare.fr/villages/mouthoumet.htm, accessed on 19th October 2018.
  23. https://www.cparama.com/forum/laroque-de-fa-t249.html, accessed on 19th October 2018.

Tramways de l’Aude – Lezignan-Corbieres to St. Pierre-des-Champs

We continue our journey on the Tramways de l’Aude. This time we are travelling South of Lezignan. We start our journey with a dispute about the line of the tramway leaving Lezinan-Corbieres. The 1930s MIchelin Map is likely to the be the most reliable source. This suggests that the tramway terminated opposite the Gare du Midi. It shows two lines approaching the Station – one from Carcassonne and one from Narbonne, both being circuitous routes.

The Map, below, shows the routes. That running south for Lezignan is first shown running East to find a bridging point over the Chemin de Fer du Midi and then running West before heading off to the South.An alternative route is suggested by Randonnees Ferroviaires [1] It shows the line running West along what was the Avenue de Narbonnes and then South down the D611. As I have already mentioned, I believe that the Michelin Map is the most reliable source.Some work would be required to establish the actual route of the tramway! Whichever route is correct, the alignment has been lost under roads and various developments. My assessment of the most likely route follows approximately that shown on the 1930s Michelin Map. The exact location of the bridge under the standard-gauge line is not clear. Both red and green routes on the OpenStreetMap below are approximate.A number of people have been in touch with me in the past few days to point to the IGN site called ‘Remonter le Temps’ and as a result I have been able to find 1942 aerial images of the East end of Lezignan. The green line above can be seen to be approximately correct on the image below. [10] The large loop below the Midi line is probably misplaced on the map above. The tramway on the aerial image appears to run North of the route of the road and much closer to the standard gauge sidings (as below). [10]On the North side of the standard gauge line the read and green lines are indicative only. I have found two plans in a copy of the Loco Revue magazine from 1961 which show the track layout at two locations on the green route north of the standard-gauge railway. The updated edition of the last post now has one of these maps which shows the approach from the north into the tramway station and the route out heading towards the East. [11][12]The resolution of the second map, below, leaves something to be desired but it shows the tramway on the North side of the standard-gauge line almost at its most eastern extent. [13]This aerial image shows the location of the sketch map above.

In the searching the internet for information and pictures of the tramways I have encountered a number of photographs of the standard gauge railway. Before setting off on our journey southwards it is worth reviewing the photographs of the Gare du Midi and its goods yards.Looking West along the Standard-gauge line. [3]Looking West along the Standard-gauge line. [4]Looking East along the Standard-gauge line. [3]Looking West across the Standard-gauge goods yard. [3]Looking East along the Standard-gauge line, this image shows the station to the left and the sidings to the South of the mainline in the middle and right of the image. [3]The Standard-gauge sidings make it abundantly clear that the main goods traffic on the Chemin de Fer du Midi in this area was wine! It seems that this is a view looking east with the unloading wharf just visible between wagons. [3]Looking West towards the station (in the top right corner of the image). [2]The mixed traffic on the standard gauge line is highlighted in this image and the one below. [2]The South side of the mainline looking East. [2]And finally we get on our train on the tramway. This train has just arrived on the tortuous Route from Carcassonne and the locomotive is about to run round its train to set off East before crossing the standard gauge line.

We pick up the tramway as it heads out of Lezignan to the South along the GC106 (D611) towards Ferrals and Fabrezan. The first image below shows the tram en-route out of Lezignan towards Ferrals on the GC106 (Route de Fabrezan). The road and tramway run in a straight line heading South-southeast. The plane trees mean that the scene feels quite cramped. [5] The image below is taken at a similar location in the 21st century, the road is now know as the Avenue de Corbieres.The plane trees now only follow one shoulder of the road as doom had to be made for cars and lorries to pass. The tramway is long-gone!

When the D611 sweeps to the right to head for Fabrezan, the tramway route follows the modern D106 into Ferrals les Corbieres.On modern maps Ferrals appears to be known as Le Faubourg. (Joseph Pestells on RMWeb points out that ‘Faubourg’ is a French term for suburb and that the village name of ‘Ferrels’ will appear elsewhere on the map.) The tramway route is schematically marked on the map below as a blue dotted line with the Station location at Ferrals circled in red.The tramway turns right in the village to follow the line of the modern D111. It is highly likely that the house on the corner (on the right side of the junction) was built after the tramway was removed as the turn would have been too tight for the tramway. (My thanks to Joseph Pestell on RMWeb for this observation.)A few hundred metres to the West of the centre of the village we encounter what remains of the tramway station at Ferrals.This postcard shows the view looking east from the Station into Ferrals. [5]The view above looks West through the Station site and shows both the main-line and the sidings with the station building also in view. It appears that trains were permitted to pass at this location by taking the West bound train into the sidings. [5] The adjacent view looks East into Ferrals and shThe location of the Station shown in the early 21st Century.ows a significant mixed train. [5]

After the station at Ferrals trams headed westwards to the next major road junction with the IC12 (D611) and then travelled South-southwest to Fabrezan.Before reaching Fabrezan the old tramway route leaves the line of the IC12 (the modern D611). It followed its own route through the fields. That route has now become a minor road.On this map the tramway route is marked by blue dashes, the station location by a red circle. As can be seen there is a tramway junction in then village. We will follow the western route which heads for St. Pierre. [1]North of Fabrezan, the tramway route bears off to the left of the modern D611. Both routes run through the vineyards of Corbieres.The location of the Station shown in the early 21st century. Two earlier postcard images which show a similar view. [6][7]The station viewed from the opposite direction. [6]In this early coloured image, the station site is shown to great effect. The gradient on the road to the centre of the village and the church can also be seen. This explains the tramway route, it followed the contours around the village which was built on a ridge and was at a higher level than the surrounding countryside. [1]

From Fabrezan Station, the tramway continued to flank the South-eastern side of the village and then joined GC122 (the modern D611). Along this length of road the two tramway routes divided with our chosen route heading first along Quai d’Orbieu, then Rue de l’Egalite before running along the shoulder of the IC12 (D212) towards Lagrasse and St. Pierre-des-Champs. The other route will be covered elsewhere. It follows the GC122 (D611) South to Les Palais and beyond.

The tramway route along the IC12 (D212) followed the northern shoulder. At the cross-roads between the IC12 and IC14 there was a Station for Camplong. In 2018, the Station site is now a picnic area. Travelling westward the tramway and road crossed the River Orbieu on a large viaduct.The view westward in the 21st century, from the vineyards South of the D212.A view along the modern viaduct on the D212.

The next station on the Tramway was at Ribaute, the tramway continued to Ribaute on the North side of the IC12.A view of the Station and village at Ribaute, taken from the South. [8]The tramway followed the line of what is now the Avenue des Corbieres in Ribaute and this picture is taken looking along the line of the tramway from what was the station. The road to the right is still called Rue de la Gare. The station building shown in the monochrome image above still exists but it has been heavily modified! Two pictures of the old station building which has been modified and extended. [1]

Beyond Ribaute, the tramway remained on the right-hand side of the road travelling towards Lagrasse apart from one location which was around 1 kilometre West of Ribaute at a tight left-hand hairpin bend, where the tram needed to tunnel trough the rock to provide a suitable curvature for the track. The tunnel route is shown on the map above and the tunnel is pictured in the direction we have been travelling – towards Lagrasse. [1]The North Portal of the Tunnel. [1]The South Portal of the Tunnel. [1]

Subsequently, a right-hand hairpin required that the tightness of the road curvature was lessened by the tramway finding a less sharp route around the bend.The road and tramway eventually entered Lagrasse from the East along Route de Ribaute.As far as I can ascertain the location of the tramway station in Lagrasse was in the area circled in red above. It is just before the Route de Ribaute meets the D3, Boulevard de la Promenade where the tramway turned south to head for St. Pierre. Two images on postcards which show the station at Lagrasse. [9]

The tramway followed the western shoulder of the GC3 (D3) out of Lagrasse and followed that road to its junction with the GC23 (D23). The line then followed the GC23 until it reached the side road which led to St. Pierre-des-Champs which today is number D212. Only a short distance along the D212 the tramway reached its terminus. The D212 approaching the terminus station for St. Pierre-des-Champs.The site of the terminus. The remains of the station building can be seen in the distance. The station site was alongside the road (now the D212).The terminus building at St. Pierre-des-Champs was over a kilometre from the village. All that remains of the building in the early 21st century can be seen in this picture which comes, as do the other images immediately above, from Google Streetview.

We complete this leg of our journey on Les Tramways de l’Aude at St. Pierre-des-Champs having been unable to find any images from the time of operation of the tramway.

References

  1. http://www.inventaires-ferroviaires.fr/hd11/11203.a.pdf, accessed on 15th October 2018.
  2. https://www.cparama.com/forum/lezignan-corbieres-gare-t28257-20.html, accessed on 15th October 2018.
  3. https://www.cparama.com/forum/lezignan-corbieres-gare-t28257.html, accessed on 15th October 2018.
  4. https://www.geneanet.org/cartes-postales/view/5928361#0, accessed on 15th October 2018.
  5. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/cartes-postales/europe/france/11-aude/autres-communes?f=moyens-de-transport:tramway, accessed on 16th October 2018.
  6. https://www.delcampe.net/fr/cartes-postales/europe/france/11-aude/autres-communes?f=keyword:fabrezan, accessed on 16th October 2018.
  7. https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/594615957024942068, accessed on 16th October 2018.
  8. https://www.cparama.com/forum/ribaute-t313.html, accessed on 16th October 2018.
  9. https://www.cparama.com/forum/lagrasse-t170.html, accessed on 17th October 2018.
  10. https://remonterletemps.ign.fr, 25th October 2018.
  11. https://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/10/13/tramways-de-laude-siran-to-lezignan-corbieres, accessed on 8th November 2018.
  12. Loco Revue Volume No. 212 November 1961, p385.
  13. Loco Revue Volume No. 212 November 1961, p384.