Trams in and Around Nice. ..............

Roger Farnworth Apr 20, 2020

  1. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    In our many trips to Nice and Les Alpes Maritimes, my wife and I have seen a significant amount of engineering works, bridges, viaducts and tunnels all on lines which were neither part of the PLM network of standard gauge railways, nor part of the general metre-gauge network. It turns out that there were a significant number of lines operated by two main tramway companies in Provence, Tramways de les Alpes Maritime (TAM) and tramways de Nice et du Littoral (TNL).

    These tramways ran on metre-gauge tracks but had a loading gauge not much wider than the track-gauge. In many places they ran alongside roads or withing the highway itself, but often they deviated away from the highway or their own formation.

    The one which first drew our attention was the Sospel to Menton Tramway which was operated by the TNL. This is the story:

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.co...amway-revisited-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-51
     
  2. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    There were two different tram networks in the Nice area. The TAM network (Tramways of the Alpes-Maritimes) is part of the Railway of the South of France. The other network was the Tramway Company of Nice and Littoral (NL). This post covers the history of the entire TNL network. The other posts will cover specific lines on the TAM and TNL networks.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.co...nd-the-littoral-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-53.
     
  3. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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  4. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    The City of Grasse was at one time very well served by rail transport. Two tramways, one from Cagnes-sur-Mer and one from Cannes approached the town from the south. A PLM branchline also linked Grasse to Cannes. There was a funicular railway linking the PLM (SNCF) railway station to the town centre, and there was the Chemins de Fer du Sud de la France Central Var line crossing the town on its way between Nice and Meyrargues.

    This next post covers the first part of the story of the TAM tramway between Cagnes-sur-Mer and Grasse:

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.co...s-sur-mer-part-1-chemin-de-fer-de-provence-20
     
  5. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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  6. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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  7. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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  8. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    The TNL tramway line from Tourette-Levens to Levens - this is the second part of the story of one of the TNL lines. As part of the blog, I have used what railway modellers sometimes call 'modeller's license' ... the freedom to use our imagination.

    The first half of the blog follows the tramway that might have been built via Aspremont and Saint-Blaise to Levens. It was certainly planned.

    The second half of the blog focuses on the route that was built, along the M19.

    I hope you like it!

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.co...-tramway-part-2-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-56
     
  9. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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  10. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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  11. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    The TNL grew in size in the years before the first world war but had great difficulty in getting new lines authorised and built

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.co...l-at-its-height-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-62

    This post focusses on the years immediately before the First World War. It was at this time that the network reached its fullest extent and it was the time when it was both in its best condition and carrying the greatest number of passengers. After the First World War things began to change and competition from other forms of transport increased.
     
  12. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    This post covers a short-lived tramway which left the Nice to Digne line of the Chemin de Fer de Provence at Plan du Var. It travelled up the Valley of the River Vesubie as far as St. Martin Vesubie. The line lasted no more than 20 years but was effective in opening up the valley of the Vesubie to tourism and vastly aided the agrarian economy. The post below has also been included in the story of the Nice to Digne metre-gauge main line.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.co...subie-revisited-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-64

    Tramway services left Plan du Var Station travelling North and diverged from the Nice to Digne line before reaching the Vesubie River. The images below are old postcards of the location of the junction and show the development of the site over a number of years. Initially a stone arch bridge took the road over the Vesubie, but when this failed it was replaced by the concrete arch bridge visible in some of the pictures.
     
  13. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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  14. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    Another of the branch tramways left the Nice to Digne line close to La Mescla Station and travelled up the valley of La Tinee.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.co...tinee-revisited-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-67

    I first looked at this tramway in 2013. It was only a short blog recognising the existence of the line in the valley.

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.co...fer-de-provence-8-tramway-in-the-tinee-valley.

    This line was 26.5 Km long and connected villages in the Tinée valley to Nice to Digne line. Like other lines of the Tramways Alpes Maritimes (TAM), the electric current was single phase. The civil engineering works (bridges, tunnels) were executed by the Department.

    The line was built in 1911 and operation started on 1st April 1912. Landslides affected the operation of the line in the early months. The original opening was delayed from January to April because of landslides and on 2nd April a further landslide affected several hundred metres of track and destroyed power lines.

    The line ceased operations in 1931.
     
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  15. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The imagination, the willingness to take on these ventures is fascinating. What they faced to create these small feeder lines. I do certainly admire them all for their attempts.
     
  16. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, amazing and in the end very short-lived in most cases!
     
  17. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    The now removed TAM tramway from Pont de Gueydan to Guillaumes up Les Gorges de Daluis is the next tramway that we look at. ....

    https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.co...n-to-guillaumes-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-69

    The line from Le Pont de Gueydan north to Guillaumes followed the valley of the River Var and ran through the Gorges de Daluis.

    Marc Andre Dubout, writing in French, says that the line was probably the moist daring of secondary line construction work with very steep gradients, numerous tunnels, two remarkable bridges. He comments that it is the most impressive tramway from a tourist perspective with 'unique viewpoints and singular landscapes'.

    One of the bridges on this route has the distinction of being one of the earliest reinforced concrete arch structures in France.
     
  18. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    I have been reading a book written in French about the tramways of Nice and the Cote d'Azur written by Jose Banaudo. Sadly, the book is only available in French. I have to use an internet based translation package to understand the book as my French is very limited.

    This post is based on Jose Banaudo's book and covers the period of the First World War.

    http://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/08/2...first-world-war-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-80
     
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  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Interesting to read the term "tractor". Over here we refer to them as a "motor".
     
  20. Roger Farnworth

    Roger Farnworth TrainBoard Member

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    The French seem to call them 'locotracteur' which translates as 'tractor'. In the UK we would usually call them 'shunters' or 'shunting locos'. I opted for the straight translation.
     

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