French Northern Railway

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The French Northern Railway[1][2][3][4][5] (French: Compagnie des chemins de fer du Nord or CF du Nord), often referred to simply as the Nord company, was a rail transport company created in September 1845, in Paris, France. It was owned by among others de Rothschild Frères of France, N M Rothschild & Sons of London, England, Hottinger, Laffitte and Blount.[6] Baron James de Rothschild served as the company's first president from its inception until his death in 1868.

History[edit]

A royal ordnance dated 10 September 1845 granted exploitation of the railway from Paris to Lille and Valenciennes, branch lines to Dunkirk and Calais and two new lines Creil - Saint-Quentin and Fampoux - Hazebrouck to the CF du Nord. From the Gare du Nord station the company built in Paris, the Paris–Lille railway line led north towards Belgium, first connecting in 1846 to Amiens, Douai and Lille, with a branch line from Douai to Valenciennes.[6] Lille and Valenciennes had already been connected to the Belgian railway network in 1842.[7] The new line made it possible to travel by train from Paris to Brussels and further.

In the following years, the network was rapidly expanded:[7]

The Nord network in 1853
Railway line Opened
Paris–Lille railway 1846–1859
Douai–Valenciennes railway 1846
Longueau–Boulogne railway 1847–1848
Creil–Jeumont railway 1847–1855
Lille–Fontinettes railway 1848–1849
Arras–Dunkirk railway 1848–1862
Amiens–Laon railway 1857–1867
Creil–Beauvais railway 1857
HautmontMons railway 1858
Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme 1858
BusignySomain railway 1858
Paris–Hirson railway 1860–1871
LensOstricourt railway 1860
ChantillyCrépy-en-Valois railway 1862–1870
Lille–Tournai railway 1865
Boulogne–Calais railway 1867
Rouen–Amiens railway 1867

Competition[edit]

The potential for expansion of the CF du Nord territory was limited by other companies: the Chemins de fer de l'Ouest to its southwest, and the Chemins de fer de l'Est to its east. By opening a line to from Paris to Hirson via Soissons and Laon from 1860 to 1871, it protected its eastern border against CF de l'Est expansion. The concession for the line from Creil to Beauvais, owned by CF de l'Est predecessor Chemins de fer des Ardennes, was exchanged for the Nord's concession for Laon–Reims in 1855.[6]

In 1937 the CF du Nord was nationalised, as were the other main railway companies, to become part of the Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF).

In the arts[edit]

In 1855 Baron Rothschild commissioned photographer Edouard Baldus to do a series of photographs of the various landmarks on the railway line between Boulogne-sur-Mer and Paris. The photographs were used to create an album for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a souvenir of their visit to France that year. The album can be seen today in the photographic collection in the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle.

Locomotives of the Nord[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bulletin of the International Railway Congress Association, Vol. 26, p. 39 (1912).
  2. ^ Hollingsworth, Brian (2000). The Illustrated Directory of Trains of the World, p. 49, Salamander Books, MBI, Osceola. ISBN 0-7603-0891-8.
  3. ^ The Railway Age, Vol. 39, p. 688, Wilson Company. (1905).
  4. ^ The Railroads Of France at www.fee.org. Retrieved on 28 Jul 2013
  5. ^ French locomotive built in 1846 at National Railway Museum website. Retrieved on 28 Jul 2013
  6. ^ a b c Joanne, Adolphe (1859). Atlas historique et statistique des chemins de fer français (in French). Paris: L. Hachette. pp. 21–22. 
  7. ^ a b Direction Générale des Ponts et Chaussées et des Chemins de Fer (1869). Statistique centrale des chemins de fer. Chemins de fer français. Situation au 31 décembre 1869 (in French). Paris: Ministère des Travaux Publics. pp. 146–160.