Chemins de fer de l'État

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The Chemins de fer de l'État ("State Railways"), often referred to in France as the Réseau de l'État ("State Network"), was an early state-owned French railway company.

La Rochelle railway station.

History[edit]

The company was established by state order of the Third Republic on 25 May 1878 to take over ten small failing railway companies operating in the area between the rivers Loire and Garonne:[1]

Additional acquisitions included:

  • Compagnie Bordeaux – La Sauve, 29 km, opened May 1873, acquired by CF des Charentes in June 1874, sold to the PO in 1883
  • Compagnie de la Seudre, circa 50 km, opened 1874, acquired by État July 1880;
  • Compagnie Barbezieux – Châteauneuf-sur-Charente, opened 1872, acquired by État in 1893;
  • Compagnie Alais – Rhone – Méditerranée, opened 1882, acquired by État in 1883.

On 18 November 1908, the État absorbed the Chemins de fer de l'Ouest and in 1934 took over the Paris-Orléans company's lines in southern Brittany. At its greatest extent its operating area comprised all the territory west of a line extending from Dieppe by way of Paris to Bordeaux. On 1 January 1938 the État merged with all the other French railway companies to form the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF), becoming that company's Région Ouest. The État then took a seat on the SNCF's Board of Directors, as did all the other companies until 1982 when all traces of the constituents of the SNCF disappeared.

Ligne Paris-Bordeaux[edit]

One of the PO's flagship lines was Paris-Orléans-Bordeaux. The État wished to create a competing line to the PO's. The PO line served Tours, Poitiers, and Angoulême, while the État decided to serve Chartres, Courtalain, Saumur, Niort, and Saintes, almost parallel to the competing line.

Thanks to purchases and exchanges made in 1878 with the PO, by 1884, the État operated:

Courtalain-Bessé-sur-Braye was opened in 1885 as well as Château-sur-Loir-Saumur-Cavignac. At La Grave d'Ambarès a junction with the PO was built, and État trains linked Paris and Bordeaux on 11 July 1886.

The last line portion was the hardest to build. On 1 July 1893, an extension via Lormont was opened, Three years later, on 1 August 1896 Bordeaux-État was opened, welcoming trains from Paris.

The État's line was 610 km while the PO's was 582 km. These were the only competing lines in France. This lasted until 1938, date of the creation the SNCF, when the PO line was kept.

The Dautry era[edit]

Raoul Dautry became managing director of the Etat in 1928. His desires were to reconquer the railway company's clientele, especially due to the popularity of the car.

Dautry began many modernisation projects, including infrastructure, stations and the opening of new lines (mainly Paris-Chartres by Gallardon). The electrification of the Paris-Le Mans line represents the biggest of his constructions, the line was at the time the most modern line in France.

Another one of his influences was the purchase of 600 new passenger cars. 50 of the cars were luxurious cars and were used on the new eletrified line.

As early as 1929, the Etat began experimenting with DMUs with a first order of Renault trains. In 1931, an agreement is reached between Michelin and the Etat, authorising trials of the Micheline train. By 1933, the trains were used for expresses between Paris and Deauville.

During the summer of 1937, the French Government ruled in favour of the nationalisation of the French railways. As a sign of disagreement, Dautry resigned, he was later elected into the SNCF's managing council.

Line openings[edit]

Date Section Length (km)
07/01/1856 Poitiers - Niort[n 1] 78
07/09/1857 Niort - La Rochelle[n 1] 66
24/09/1866 Cholet - La Poissonnière[n 2] 43
30/12/1866 Nantes - La Roche-sur-Yon[n 3] 76
28/12/1868 Niort - Cholet[n 2] 124
22/10/1867 Rochefort - Angoulême[n 4] 68
25/03/1869 Beillant - Pons[n 4] 15
26/01/1870 Pons - Jonzac[n 4] 19
14/03/1871 La Roche-sur-Yon - La Rochelle[n 4] 103
27/03/1871 La Roche-sur-Yon - Bressuire[n 4] 84
06/11/1871 Jonzac - Montendre[n 4] 21
28/10/1872 Chartres - Orléans[n 4] 75
20/11/1872 Barbezieux - Châteauneuf[n 5] 18
10/05/1873 Bressuire - Thouars[n 4] 30
11/08/1873 Thouars - Chinon[n 4] 47
10/10/1873 Saint-Mariens-Saint-Yzan - Blaye[n 4] 24
16/10/1873 Montendre - Saint-Mariens-Saint-Yzan[n 4]
29/12/1873 La Rochelle - Rochefort[n 4] 30
15/05/1874 Neuville-de-Poitou - Montreuil-Bellay[n 4] 85
19/10/1874 Saint-Mariens-Saint-Yzan - Coutras[n 4] 17
19/04/1875 Joué-lès-Tours - Chinon[n 4] 43
29/08/1875 Pons - Royan[n 6] 46
11/09/1875 Nantes - Pornic[n 4] 57
30/01/1876 Saumur - Montreuil-Bellay[n 4] 18
25/03/1876 Sainte Pazanne - Machecoul[n 4] 13
01/04/1876 Chartres - Auneau[n 4] 20
07/05/1876 Chartres - Brou[n 4] 36
03/06/1876 St Hiliaire - Paimbœuf[n 4] 27
24/06/1876 Saujon - La Tremblarde[n 6] 23
01/02/1877 Montreuil-Bellay - Angers[n 4] 63
25/01/1878 Saint-Jean-d'Angély - Taillebourg[n 4] 18
30/12/1878 Machecoul - Challans 19
03/03/1879 Château-du-Loir - Saint-Calais[n 7] 45
19/09/1880 Challans - La Roche-sur-Yon 51
07/03/1881 Through Luçon 2
17/10/1881 Saint-Jean-d'Angély - Niort 48
17/10/1881 Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie - Commesquiers 13
17/10/1881 Velluire - Benet 19
20/11/1881 Blois - Pont-de-Braye 64
02/07/1882 Chinon - Port-Boulet 14
10/07/1882 Cholet - Clisson 38
23/10/1882 Niort - Montreuil-Bellay 104
27/11/1882 Chinon - L'Île-Bouchard 16
19/03/1883 Neuville-de-Poitou - Parthenay 39
02/04/1883 Patay - Courtalain-Saint-Pellerin 47
02/04/1883 Brou - Courtalain-Saint-Pellerin 17
03/09/1883 Saint-Laurent-de-la-Prée - La Pointe-de-la-fumée 8
05/11/1883 Through Marans 2
07/04/1884 Airvault - Moncontour 15
18/08/1884 Perray-Jouannet - Chalonnes 26
23/02/1885 Aiffres - Ruffec 77
23/05/1885 Courtalain-Saint-Pellerin - Bessé-sur-Braye 42
12/07/1885 Port-de-Piles - L'Île-Bouchard 21
04/03/1886 Through Nantes 4
14/06/1886 Cavignac - Cubzac 17
11/07/1886 Cubzac - La Grave-d'Ambarès 5
11/07/1886 Through Bordeaux 2
11/07/1886 Château-du-Loir - Saumur 67
11/07/1886 Through Saumur 5
19/09/1886 Châtellerault - Loudun 48
01/05/1887 Arrou - Nogent-le-Rotrou 41
29/05/1887 Libourne - Marcenais 19
05/06/1887 Parthenay - Bressuire 31
17/02/1889 Tonnay-Charente - Pointe-du-Chapus 31
18/05/1890 Fontenay-le-comte - Vouvant-Cezais 14
18/05/1890 Vouvant-Cezais - Breuil-Barret 15
01/04/1891 La Rochelle - Port de la Pallice 7
02/01/1893 Sargé - Montoire 22
01/07/1893 La Grave-d'Ambarès - Gare de Bordeaux Benauge 12
15/10/1893 Montoire - Châteaurenault 21
29/07/1894 Châteaurenault - Tours 35
31-05-1896 Voves - Toury 29
01/08/1896 Junction to Gare de Bordeaux État 1
02/01/1898 Thorigné - Montmirail 22
10/12/1899 La Loupe - Brou 43
28/05/1900 Vouvant-Cezay - Chantonnay 25
12/07/1900 Montmirail- Courtalain 28
12/07/1900 Thorigné - Connerré-Beillé 6
05/11/1907 Barbezieux - Saint-Mariens-Saint-Yzan 51
11/06/1911 Saint-Jean-d'Angély - Saintes 25
01/07/1912 Saintes - Saujon 27
15/05/1930 Massy - Chartres 71

Locomotives of the État[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Taken over by the CF de l'Etat on 10 February 1884.
  2. ^ a b Taken over by the CF de l'Etat on 20 February 1884.
  3. ^ Taken over by the CF de l'Etat on 25 January 1884.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Taken over by the CF de l'Etat on 1 July 1878.
  5. ^ Taken over by the CF de l'Etat on 1 January 1894.
  6. ^ a b Taken over by the CF de l'Etat on 1 January 1881.
  7. ^ Taken over by the CF de l'Etat on 10 March 1884.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Davies 2001, pp. 1–9.
  2. ^ Davies 2001, pp. 1–2.
  3. ^ Davies 2001, p. 3.
  4. ^ Davies 2001, p. 4.
  5. ^ Davies 2001, pp. 4–7.
  6. ^ a b Davies 2001, p. 8.
  • Davies, John (August 2001). Chemins de fer de l'État Locomotive List 1878–1938. Woodbridge, Queensland: Dr. John Davies. ISBN 0-7316-8442-7. 

External links[edit]