Chemin de fer du Montenvers

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Chemin de fer du Montenvers
Train Montenvers.JPG
View of the train and the Mer de Glace
Type rack railway
Status current
Locale Haute-Savoie region of France
Opened 1909
Owner Compagnie du Mont-Blanc
Operator(s) Compagnie du Mont-Blanc
No. of tracks Single track
Track gauge 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in)
Minimum radius (?)
Electrification overhead line
at 11000 V 50 Hz
Highest elevation 1,913 m (6,276 ft)
Maximum incline 22%
Rack system Strub

The Montenvers Railway or Chemin de fer du Montenvers is a rack railway line in the Haute-Savoie region of France. The line runs from a connection with the SNCF, in Chamonix, to the Hotel de Montenvers station, at the Mer de Glace, at an altitude of 1,913 m (6,276 ft).


The line is 5.1 km (3.2 mi) long and has a rail gauge of 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in). It is a rack and adhesion railway, using the Strub design to overcome a height difference of 871 m (2,858 ft). Except for the terminal stations, which are operated in adhesion mode, the line has a gradient varying from 11% to 22% and is equipped with rack rail. The line is electrified using an overhead line at 11000 V and 50 Hz ac, and service is provided by 6 electric railcars and 3 diesel locomotives. Trains run at 14 to 20 km/h (8.7 to 12.4 mph) and take 20 minutes for the journey.

The line is operated by the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc which also manages the Mont Blanc Tramway and many ski lifts in the Mont Blanc region. The first section of the line opened in 1908 and the line was completed in 1909. The line was worked by steam locomotives until it was electrified in 1953.

On 25 August 1927, the locomotive derailed on one of the viaducts killing 15 people and injuring 40 others.

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