Saint-Gervais–Vallorcine railway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Saint-Gervais–Vallorcine railway
Viaduc-Sainte-Marie02 2014-10-19.jpg
A view of the Sainte-Marie viaduct in 2014
Overview
LocaleHaute-Savoie
TerminiSaint-Gervais-les-Bains-Le Fayet
Vallorcine
Technical
Rack systemNone
Track gauge1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in)
Electrification850 V, DC
top contact third rail
Highest elevation1,365 m (4,478 ft)
Maximum incline9%
Route map

0.000 km
0 mi
Saint-Gervais-les-Bains-Le Fayet
(581 m)
0.121 km
0.075 mi
(28 m)
0.532 km
0.331 mi
Standard gauge ends
0.635 km
0.395 mi
Abbaye substation 25 kV 50Hz and 800V DC
0.693 km
0.431 mi
(37 m)
Dual gauge section
Former E.P. metallurgical plant
2.676 km
1.663 mi
Chedde
(599 m)
4.040 km
2.51 mi
(47 m)
4.100 km
2.548 mi
Égratz tunnel
(78 m)
5.884 km
3.656 mi
Châtelard tunnel
(127 m)
6.762 km
4.202 mi
Servoz
(813 m)
8.930 km
5.549 mi
Vaudagne
(928 m)
9.911 km
6.158 mi
Cascade tunnel
(84 m)
10.619 km
6.598 mi
Viaduc-Sainte-Marie
(964 m)
10.731 km
6.668 mi
Sainte-Marie Viaduct (Arve)
(172 m)
11.667 km
7.25 mi
Les Houches
(980 m)
13.763 km
8.552 mi
(25 m)
14.354 km
8.919 mi
(60 m)
14.360 km
8.923 mi
Taconnaz
(1003 m)
15.486 km
9.623 mi
(10 m)
15.672 km
9.738 mi
Les Bossons
(1012 m)
16.129 km
10.022 mi
(41 m)
16.603 km
10.317 mi
Les Pélerins
(1016 m)
17.624 km
10.951 mi
Les Moussoux
(1027 m)
18.344 km
11.398 mi
Chamonix-Aiguille-du-Midi
(1031 m)
18.562 km
11.534 mi
Arve
(32 m)
19.029 km
11.824 mi
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc
(1 038 m)
20.977 km
13.035 mi
(13 m)
21.494 km
13.356 mi
Les Praz-de-Chamonix
(1 065 m)
22.985 km
14.282 mi
Les Tines
(1 082 m)
23.575 km
14.649 mi
(19 m)
23.791 km
14.783 mi
Éboulis tunnel
(227 m)
25.000 km
15.534 mi
La Joux
(1 223 m))
27.297 km
16.962 mi
Argentière
(1 244 m)
(26 m)
29.389 km
18.261 mi
(83 m)
29.497 km
18.329 mi
Montroc-Le Planet
(1 365 m)
29.649 km
18.423 mi
(1863 m)
31.512 km
19.581 mi
32.340 km
20.095 mi
Le Buet
(1 342 m)
34.115 km
21.198 mi
Vallorcine
(1 261 m)
36.364 km
22.596 mi
Bellecombe Tunnel
(136 m)
36.615 km
22.752 mi
Eau Noire (French-Swiss border)
18,8xx
Le Châtelard-Frontière
(1 116 m)
Source: Swiss railway atlas[1]

The Saint-Gervais–Vallorcine railway (French: Ligne de Saint-Gervais-les-Bains-Le Fayet à Vallorcine), also known as the Saint-Gervais–Vallorcine Line, is a single-track 36.5 km (22.7 mi) long metre gauge railway in France connecting the SNCF's Saint-Gervais-les-Bains-Le Fayet station with Vallorcine and the border with Switzerland (Le Châtelard)[2] through Chamonix. Opened in 1901 by the Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée, it is part of the main SNCF network as far as Vallorcine. To Le Châtelard (3 km or 1.86 mi) is run by the Swiss company TMR, which also operates the Martigny–Châtelard railway.

Connections[edit]

Technical information[edit]

  • Track gauge: 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in).
  • Profile: uphill from the Saint-Gervais-Le Fayet (altitude: 580.95 m or 1,906.0 ft) to the col des Montets tunnel (altitude 1,365 m or 4,478 ft) then downhill to the border (altitude 1,100 m or 3,609 ft). The steepest grade, between Servoz and les Houches is 9% over 2,000 m (6,562 ft), a record for an adhesion railway. On the steepest sections (4% and more), it had a central rail for braking (and keeping trains immobile in case of electric black-outs), through jaws gripping the rail; it was removed around 1980.
  • Electrification through top-contact third rail at 850 V (580 V originally) direct current.
  • Main structures:
  • Control: A command post, named PC Éclair (ECLAIR, or “lightning”, standing for Exploitation Centralisée des Lignes Assistée par Informatique et Radio, which translates to Centralised Control of the Lines Assisted by Computers and Radio), installed in 1991 at Saint-Gervais station, allows centralised control with the help of radio and computers.

Rolling stock[edit]

  • Three Z 850 electric multiple units (EMUs) made by Stadler. Three additional trainsets were slated to arrive before 2008.
  • Five Z 800 105-seat EMUs, delivered in 1997 by ADTranz and Vevey Technologies in a joint purchase with the Martigny-Châtelard. This 1000 kW stock, composed of two motor cars, can run at 70 km/h (43.5 mph); it is rack and pinion equipped, and has pantographs in addition to 3rd rail equipment, so that it run to Martigny.
  • Eight Z 600 EMUs and four additional trailers (some out of service), used in busy periods.
  • Snowploughs:
    • Z 691 (electric)
    • Beilhack CN4 (diesel)
  • The original Z 200 motor cars have been retired.
  • Service wagons: Flats (U 20201 - U 20203) and ballast-carrying (U 20204 and U 20205 (?)).

Activity[edit]

A Z 800 train near Le Buet.

This line carries about 500,000 passengers per year, with wide variation: from 500 people per day in the least busy periods up to 10,000 per day in summer and 2500 per day in winter for the ski season. The customer base is quite diverse, from international travellers connecting with the TGVs, to local transportation, most notably for schoolchildren. It is a tourist line and a public service at the same time.

Through trains between Saint-Gervais and Martigny run under the “Mont-Blanc Express” brand.

Since 2005 travel has been free between Servoz and Vallorcine for those with a Chamonix residency card and for valley inhabitants.

History[edit]

  • 1886: Granting of the concession for the Cluses-Chamonix line to the PLM (first concession for a general interest electric line in France)
  • July 3, 1893: Authorisation for the PLM to build the Saint-Gervais to Chamonix section as metre gauge
  • June 1899: Start of works on the first section
  • July 25, 1901: Opening to Chamonix, 19 km (official opening on July 12)
  • July 25, 1906: Extension to Argentière
  • November 1, 1907: Boring of the col des Montets tunnel
  • July 1, 1908: Junction with the Martigny-Châtelard
  • 1958: Introduction of Z 600 EMUs
  • 1997: Introduction of Z 800 EMUs
  • 2006: Introduction of Z 850 EMUs; increase in frequency between Argentière and Vallorcine

Stations[edit]

A Z 800 trainset at Le Buet.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eisenbahnatlas Schweiz. Cologne: Schweers + Wall. 2012. p. 54. ISBN 978-3-89494-130-7.
  2. ^ Le Châtelard Archived 2009-05-06 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]