Chemin de Fer du Blanc-Argent

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Chemin de Fer du Blanc-Argent
Argent-sur-Sauldre
Clémont
Brinon-sur-Sauldre
Pierrefitte-sur-Sauldre
Souesmes
Les Loges
Salbris
La Ferté-Imbault
Selles St. Dennis
Loreux
Villeherviers
Faubourg d'Orléans
Romorantin
Les Quatre-Roues
Pruniers
Gièvres
Chabris
Varennes-sur-Fouzon
Valençay
La Gauterie
Luçay-le-Mâle
La Foulquetière
Terre Neuve
Écueillé
Heugnes
Pellevoisin
Juscop
Argy
Buzançais
Bonneau-Habilly
Chaventon
Vendoeuvres
Ste. Thérese
Subtray
Mézières-en-Brenne
St. Michel St. Cyran
Lingé
Douadic
Azé
Le Blanc

The Chemin de Fer du Blanc-Argent (BA) is a 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) gauge railway in the Centre region of France, part of which is still open to traffic, whilst another section is now operated as a heritage railway.

History[edit]

The BA was conceived as a standard-gauge cross-country route linking lines of the Chemin de Fer de Paris à Orléans (PO). Although the original scheme was abandoned, the PO built the line as a single-track metre-gauge railway, linking Argent with Le Blanc, and running through the departments of Loiret, Loir-et-Cher and Indre.[1]

The line had a total length of 191 kilometres (119 mi), with headquarters at Romorantin. It opened in 1901 and remained intact until 1951, when the first closures took place. All traffic was steam hauled until the early 1930s, when Billard railcars were introduced to handle some of the passenger traffic. Steam locomotives were operated until the 1950s. In 1981, the Centre region and SNCF agreed to rebuild the four Verney railcars, and built two new ones. The timetable was reorganised to give better connections with the SNCF. The BA became part of TER in 1987. Freight traffic on the BA ended in 1989.[1][2]

The lines[edit]

The BA was divided into five sections operationally.

Argent - Salbris[edit]

Closed to passengers in 1939. Argent - Clemont was the first section to close completely, in 1951. Clémont - Salbris closed to freight in 1973[3]

Salbris - Romorantin[edit]

Open to passengers.[1]

Romorantin - Valençay[edit]

Open.[1]

Valençay - Luçay-le-Mâle[edit]

Closed in October 2009 after a safety inspection. There is a replacement bus service.

Luçay-le-Mâle - Buzançais[edit]

Closed to passengers in 1980, freight in 1989. Used by the preservation society Luçay-le-Mâle - Argy, Argy - Buzançais rebuilt to standard gauge.[3]

Buzançais - Le Blanc[edit]

Closed to passengers in September 1953 and freight in December 1953.[3]

Rolling stock[edit]

Steam locomotives[edit]

Railcars[edit]

X202 as preserved
X74504
  • Four Billard railcars, introduced in the 1950s, ex CFD Charentes et Deux Sèvres.
  • Four SCF Verney railcars, built 1950. Two more were transferred from the PO Corrèze in 1968.
  • Two CFD railcars built 1984.
  • X201X206 De Dion-Bouton OC2 railcars. Transferred from the Réseau Breton in 1967. Only X202 and X205 put in service, the rest were used as spares sources. X202 now preserved in Brittany.
  • X74501X74505 CFD-Bagnères twin railcars, entered service in 2001.[1]

Diesel locomotives[edit]

  • 1114 CFD 0-6-0 diesel locotracteur, Nos. 13 and 14 built on the frames of steam locomotives 25 and 28.[4] No. 12 now on the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme, Nos. 13–14 still working on the BA.[1]

Preservation[edit]

Part of the line between Lucay-le-Male and Buzançais has been preserved by the Société d'Animation du Blanc-Argent (SABA). The final section, between Argy and Buzançais, has been converted to standard gauge to serve a local agricultural industry so Argy is the southern terminus of the preserved part of the line.[3][7]

Preserved stock[edit]

  • 11 Corpet-Louvet 0-4-0T, ex enterprises Paul Frot.
  • X224 Verney railcar.
  • X205 De Dion-Bouton OC2 railcar.
  • X206 De Dion-Bouton OC2 railcar.
  • 713 Renault Draisine built 1930.
  • 208 Billard draisine built 1968.
  • 56115 Deutz 4w diesel, ex Euskirchener Kreisbahn and mine-musée du Blégny, Belgium.
  • 56116 Deutz 4w diesel, details as 56115.
  • Brookville 4w diesel, works number 3162.1945. Ex US Army. Reconstructed in 2002 with hedge flail
  • COMESSA 4w diesel, built 1935.
  • 4 0-6-0 diesel built on chassis of a Couillet steam locomotive, works number 693/1884. Ex CF Indre-et-Loire Nord and CF Seine et Marne et Yonne.
  • Various open wagons and vans. Passenger carriages are four wheeled ex Switzerland and also some converted from goods vans.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Organ, John (2002). Northern France Narrow Gauge. Midhurst: Middleton Press. ISBN 1-901706-75-3. 
  2. ^ "The Prototype Blanc-Argent". Jean-Philippe Joliveau. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Map of the Blanc-Argent Railway". Jean-Philippe Joliveau. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  4. ^ a b c Davies 2003, p. 89.
  5. ^ a b Davies 2003, pp. 89–90.
  6. ^ Davies, p. 90.
  7. ^ "Plan de situation". Le Train du Bas-Berry. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  • Davies, John (November 2003). Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français Locomotive List 1938–1975. Woodbridge, Queensland: Dr. John Davies. ISBN 0-9585541-2-9. 

External links[edit]