Tramways in Provence

 
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

In our many trips to Nice and Les Alpes Maritimes, my wife and I have seen a significant amount of engineering works, bridges, viaducts and tunnels all on lines which were neither part of the PLM network of standard gauge railways, nor part of the general metre-gauge network. It turns out that there were a significant number of lines operated by two main tramway companies in Provence, Tramways de les Alpes Maritime (TAM) and tramways de Nice et du Littoral (TNL).

These tramways ran on metre-gauge tracks but had a loading gauge not much wider than the track-gauge. In many places they ran alongside roads or withing the highway itself, but often they deviated away from the highway or their own formation.

The one which first drew our attention was the Sospel to Menton Tramway which was operated by the TNL. This is the story:

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  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

There were two different tram networks in the Nice area. The TAM network (Tramways of the Alpes-Maritimes) is part of the Railway of the South of France. The other network was the Tramway Company of Nice and Littoral (NL). This post covers the history of the entire TNL network. The other posts will cover specific lines on the TAM and TNL networks.

[color=#22229c]https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/the-network-of-the-tramways-of-nice-and-the-littoral-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-53.[/color]
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

The tram from Vence to Cagnes-sur-Mer was part of the TAM network. I have already posted on this tram elsewhere, but I have included it on this thread for completeness.

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  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

Grasse was at one stage full of different rail transport. Two tramways, one from Cagnes-sur-Mer and one from Cannes approached the town from the south. A PLM branchline also linked Grasse to Cannes. There was a funicular railway linking the PLM (SNCF) railway station to the town centre, and there was the Chemins de Fer du Sud de la France Central Var line crossing the town on its way between Nice and Meyrargues.

This next post covers the first part of the story of the TAM tramway between Cagnes-sur-Mer and Grasse:

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The second half of the story of the TAM tramway between Grasse and Cagnes-sur-Mer:

[color=#22229c]https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/the-tramway-between-grasse-and-cagnes-sur-mer-part-2-chemin-de-fer-de-provence-21 [/color]

The story of othere links transport links that relate to Grasse are below

The first and last relate to the metre-gauge line which passed through the town on its journey from Nice to Meyrargues. The middle three cover the PLM/SNCF lineline, the funicular, and a privately owned tramway.

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https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/funicular-railway-in-grasse-chemin-de-fer-de-provence-23

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/tramway-between-grasse-and-cannes-chemin-de-fer-de-provence-22

[color=#22229c]https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.co...ntral-var-part-5-chemin-de-fer-de-provence-25[/color]
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

The TNL built a line from Nice to Levens, it extended the urban line that went from Nice to Saint-André-de-la-Roche.

This is the first of two posts that focus on the line and covers the length from Nice to Tourrette-Levens.

[color=#22229c]https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/the-nice-to-levens-tramway-part-1-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-54 [/color]

The second half of the Nice to Levens tram route is covered below ...........

The first half of the blog follows the tramway that might have been built via Aspremont and Saint-Blaise to Levens. It was certainly planned.

The second half of the blog focuses on the current route along the M19.

I hope you like it!

[color=#22229c]https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/03/27/the-nice-to-levens-tramway-part-2-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-56

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  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

This is a first post about the tramway system in Toulon. A further post about Toulon will be required at some stage to complete the story of the whole network.

[color=#22229c]https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/ligne-du-littoral-toulon-to-st-raphael-part-3-trams-in-toulon-and-hyeres-chemin-de-fer-de-provence-38[/color]
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

As part of my birthday present last year my wife gave me two books written in French about the Trams of Nice. I am enjoying working out what the books say! This post relates to the relatively unusual practice of regular transport of goods on a tram network, which was common practice in Nice.

https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/goods-services-on-the-network-of-the-tramways-of-nice-and-the-littoral-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-60


Reading the book in French by Jose Banuado, I have discovered more about the Sospel to Menton tramway.

[QUOTE] The Menton-Sospel line is the only one in the TNL network to have seen steam locomotives. [/QUOTE]

[color=#22229c]https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/the-menton-to-sospel-tramway-revisited-again-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-61[/color]

This post builds on previous ones, particularly ...

[color=#22229c]https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/the-sospel-to-menton-tramway-revisited-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-51[/color]
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

The TNL grew in size in the years before the first world war but had great difficulty in getting new lines authorised and built

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This post covers a short-lived tramway which left the Nice to Digne line of the Chemin de Fer de Provence at Plan du Var. It travelled up the Valley of the River Vesubie as far as St. Martin Vesubie. The line lasted no more than 20 years but was effective in opening up the valley of the Vesubie to tourism and vastly aided the agrarian economy. The post below has also been included in the story of the Nice to Digne metre-gauge main line.

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  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

This post covers another short-lived tramway which provided a service up the valley of l'Esteron from Pont Charles Albert over the River Var to Roquesteron, a distance of more than 20 kilometres.

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Another of the branch tramways left the Nice to Digne line close to La Mescla Station and travelled up the valley of La Tinee.


https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2018/07/18/tam-tramway-from-la-mescla-to-saint-sauveur-sur-tinee-revisited-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-67

I first looked at this tramway in 2013. It was only a short blog recognising the existence of the line in the valley.

[color=#22229c]https://rogerfarnworth.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/chemins-de-fer-de-provence-8-tramway-in-the-tinee-valley.[/color]

This line was 26.5 Km long and connected villages in the Tinée valley to Nice to Digne line. Like other lines of the Tramways Alpes Maritimes (TAM), the electric current was single phase. The civil engineering works (bridges, tunnels) were executed by the Department.

The line was built in 1911 and operation started on 1st April 1912. Landslides affected the operation of the line in the early months. The original opening was delayed from January to April because of landslides and on 2nd April a further landslide affected several hundred metres of track and destroyed power lines.

The line ceased operations in 1931.

The available imagery from the time of the tramway is limited in extent and is supplemented by images from later dates.
  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

I am continuing to read the book written in French about the tramways of Nice and the Cote d'Azur written by Jose Banuado. Sadly the book is only available in French. I have to use an internet based translation package to understand the book as my French is very limited.

This post is based on Jose Banuado's book and covers the period of the First World War.

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This next post reflects on the conditions on the tramway network in Nice in the years after the war:

[color=#22229c]http://rogerfarnworth.com/2018/12/28/tnl-tramways-recovery-after-the-first-world-war-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-83 [/color]



It was not long before the tramways around Nice began an inexorable decline. The early 1930s saw the loss of many of the tram routes outside the city of Nice. Buses were the new thing as far as public transport was concerned. The car became gradually more important.

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  rogerfarnworth Junior Train Controller

Further decline in the urban tramway network in Nice occurred from the late 1920s into the 1930s. Buses became politically more acceptable than the trams. ... This post continues my reflections based on a translation of the work of Jose Banaudo from French into English. ...

[color=#22229c]http://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/10/14/the-tnl-tram-network-the-changes-in-the-urban-network-1929-1934-chemins-de-fer-de-provence-86[/color]

A Changing Urban Network in/around Nice

The 1930s through to the 1950s saw major changes in the urban environment. As elsewhere, the car began to dominate people understanding of progress. Other firms of transport, to a greater or lesser extent, took a secondary place. Independence, rather than interdependence, came to dominate political thinking. Strengthening democracy after the Second World War valued the perspective of the individual. By the end of the 1950s the place if the 'expert' in any debate was beginning to be challenged. No longer were people as willing to be told what was best for them. In a significant way, the car became a touchstone for that growing independence and self-confidence. The tram and the train began to be seen as part of the past rather than an important part of the future.

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