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I have lived in Limousin since 2004, and although I am an avid rail enthusiast,  I also enjoy(?) restoring and using vintage cameras, so here are a selection of photos taken when the two interests coincided.

 

They are not in any particular geographic order, and I cannot be certain of dates, because of a couple of computer disasters, and film cameras don't have exif data!  And on the subject of cameras, bear in mind that most of these pics were taken with various folding cameras, some dating from before WW2 and the youngest at least 60 years old, so they are not the same as digital camera images!

 

They might be of some value for prototype details of rolling stock or infrastructure, but whatever, I hope you find them interesting.  

I could do worse than to start with trip I made in 2010 from Gueret to Montluçon for the Festiral event, on a train of vintage stock hauled by ex-SNCF 141 TD 740.

 

img138.jpg.85afd0ccc67ef4f128571cdd2142c97e.jpg

      1952  Welmy Six                                 

SNCF Locomotive 141 TD 740. Built by the Société Française de Construction Mécanique de Denain in 1932, for the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer de l'Est. This was one of 42 locomotives built for hauling heavy suburban trains in the Greater Paris area, which it did until it was finally taken out of revenue service in 1967.   At the time of this photo it was based in Limoges, but then moved elsewhere, I think to Brittany, but I'm not sure.

 

Best, Mike

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  • 3 weeks later...

Bit of a false start there!  No sooner had I posted the first pic in this thread than France Telecom began the  installation of fibre optic internet in this part of Creuse, and although it's very welcome it has caused a lot of service interruptions. Anyway, a couple of infrastructure pics.  

 

img129.jpg.af54b51e1bfa67ba1b14f73a50ac4b6c.jpg

    1952  Welmy Six   

Having left Gueret the first stop is Busseau sur Creuse, once a busy junction for trains from the extensive coal mines in the area but now only handling a couple of daily passenger trains in each direction. The relative size of the station in an otherwise  quite remote location gives an idea of it's former importance.

 

img342.jpg.9acbaacb11192f90d07834948ed8f314.jpg

1948 Kodak Tourist 6x9

Almost immediately after leaving the station the line crosses the valley of the river Creuse on this spectacular structure. Opened to traffic in 1863, it was built for the Paris Orleans Railway and it's total span is 339m (1,112ft), and the height above the river Creuse is 56.5m (185ft).

Local people often understandably attribute this work to Gustave Eiffel, but it was actually designed by another eminent civil engineer and contemporary of Eiffel, Wilhelm Nördling. Originally built with two tracks, one of which has now been lifted. It seems Nördling visited the long demolished Crumlin viaduct in South Wales while preparing this design, and  the site engineer was one David Lloyd.  My word, how they travelled!

 

img346.jpg.5e533f9935df6a8a16ccec483446b37b.jpg

1948 Kodak Tourist 6x9

Here's another view of Nördling's viaduct this time from the roadway on the far side of the valley, showing one of the tops of the massive granite piers which support the steelwork.

 

Best, Mike

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20 hours ago, Railpassion said:

Lovely patina to the photos. Do post some more please. 

 

Thanks for your encouragement!

 

Shortly after crossing the viaduct the line divides, and here on the left 141 TD 740 climbs strongly away towards Lavaufranche,  while the line at the right descends through the tunnel towards the abandoned coalfields at Lavaveix les Mines, and then onwards to Aubusson and Felletin.

img131.jpg.b0943d2e46d102f78c57fc303f86e202.jpg

I always think that this pic looks as if it was a photograph of a model railway, rather than the real thing!

 1952  Welmy Six

 

As a little diversion, here are a couple of photos taken in Felletin, now the terminus of the line on the right in the previous pic.

img557.jpg.28fc47e4ba040fb7111d172bf23c78fd.jpg

1960 Komaflex-S 4x4

First, X2900 at rest.  The preservation group that have restored and maintain this railcar in Gueret, run a Thursday only service from Gueret to Felletin during July and August, and I travelled on it with a group of friends some years ago.

 

img556.jpg.f1e6f1b01082fa383d33af416ffe7481.jpg

1960 Komaflex-S 4x4

This is X73776, a much more modern diesel railcar, which at the time of this photo,  provided a Fridays only service from Limoges at around 16:30, stayed at Felletin during the weekend, and returned to Limoges at 07:05 the following Monday!   This has now been replaced by an an out and  back return service on Mondays and Fridays, but only from Gueret.

 

Mike

 

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2 hours ago, Allegheny1600 said:

Merci beaucoup!

Wonderful pictures, I really appreciate them.

Cheers,

John

John,

de rien, c'est mon plaisir!  Thanks for your kind words. To be honest a lot of these pics were taken as shots on proof rolls after I had done a restoration or repair, so they are not "fine art" or anything, merely things that caught my eye, but it's nice to share them on here.

 

Best, Mike

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Back en route to Montluçon, this is the station serving the little towns of Parsac and Gouzon, and the siding to a  granary/feedstuffs mill, which seemed to be shut down when I took these photos in 2012.   This was always a single track line, but most of the  stations have double platforms with a passing loop.

 

img150-001small.jpg.ad0b6ef7d4ec38301bf4fdeed3b1f669.jpg

1948 Kodak Tourist

Very few, if any, trains stop here now, and despite an extensive re-signalling of the entire route some years ago, it appears to be in terminal decline.  

When we came to live here in 2004 there  was a daily cross country DMU service Lyon-Bordeaux in both directions, often loco hauled at weekends, but that disappeared about eight years ago, and as with so many rural lines in central France, was replaced with mostly infrequent buses between intermediate stops!

 

Best, Mike

 

 

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Hmm, I seem to have messed up the previous post, - not sure why, but the pic above is 1.6mb, but when I try to add another of similar size I get a message saying the max total upload is 10mb and nothing happens. Is this limit for each post, the whole thread, my contributions,  or what? 

 

176476504_img145small.jpg.bedbdc554c758851dcb9de72d148495f.jpg

1948 Kodak Tourist

Anyway, here's the granary/feed mill photo that should have been with it!

(Nah, it was a gremlin!)

Mike

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On 22/10/2019 at 18:04, Spotlc said:


I have lived in Limousin since 2004, and although I am an avid rail enthusiast,  I also enjoy(?) restoring and using vintage cameras, so here are a selection of photos taken when the two interests coincided.

 

They are not in any particular geographic order, and I cannot be certain of dates, because of a couple of computer disasters, and film cameras don't have exif data!  And on the subject of cameras, bear in mind that most of these pics were taken with various folding cameras, some dating from before WW2 and the youngest at least 60 years old, so they are not the same as digital camera images!

 

They might be of some value for prototype details of rolling stock or infrastructure, but whatever, I hope you find them interesting.  

I could do worse than to start with trip I made in 2010 from Gueret to Montluçon for the Festiral event, on a train of vintage stock hauled by ex-SNCF 141 TD 740.

 

img138.jpg.85afd0ccc67ef4f128571cdd2142c97e.jpg

      1952  Welmy Six                                 

SNCF Locomotive 141 TD 740. Built by the Société Française de Construction Mécanique de Denain in 1932, for the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer de l'Est. This was one of 42 locomotives built for hauling heavy suburban trains in the Greater Paris area, which it did until it was finally taken out of revenue service in 1967.   At the time of this photo it was based in Limoges, but then moved elsewhere, I think to Brittany, but I'm not sure.

 

Best, Mike

Hi Mike

I'm really enjoying these images, they seem to show more detail than equivalent colour photos or perhaps it just shows up better in monochrome. They are certainly not the same as images shot digitally, they seem a whole lot better in terms of resolution. 

 

According to their website  http://www.trainvapeur.com/  the Limoges based Train à Vapeur en Limousin (l'association Conservatoire Ferroviaire Territoires Limousin Périgord) own this loco and 140C38 (and are launching an appeal to restore 231K82) They also own 040DE995 a class 63000 diesel restored to its original 1950s livery and number.  In 2011 They used this diesel to move (presumably on hire)  141TD740 to Pontrieux in Brittany to operate the Vapeur de Trieux summer service between their and Paimpol. The website doesn't say when it returned to Limoges but 141TB424 was operating the service in 2013.   There's a nice album on the website showing 141TD740 at work in Brittany and, even more interestingly, the train that took it there. This seems to imply that it did just that season and the Vapeur de Trieux has been operated by a variety of locos over the years .  Train à Vapeur en Limousin operates rail tours on SNCF lines mainly based on Limoges.

It looks like most of their recent tours have been operated by their other active steam loco 140C38 which was built by Vulcan Foundry in Lancashire in 1919, so this is its centenary year. This loco worked the last commercial steam train in France on 20 November 1975 between Gray & Chalindrey. This was on the network of secondary lines operated by the CFTA to which SNCF had rented a number of 140Cs.

Eight 140Cs still survive so are the second most preserved class of French steam loco (second only to the dozen  post war North American built 141Rs still around)  140C 38 is the only remaining one built by  Vulcan, all the other survivors were built by North British in Glasgow. 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Pacific231G said:

Hi Mike

I'm really enjoying these images, they seem to show more detail than equivalent colour photos or perhaps it just shows up better in monochrome. They are certainly not the same as images shot digitally, they seem a whole lot better in terms of resolution. 

David,
many thanks for your kind encouragements, and the useful information.

Yes, you are quite right about the difference between these photos and those taken with a digital camera, but it is not the difference between a digital image and an equivalent film image, it is a matter of size.

Here is a photo of 140. C. 38 and the diesel back-up that you mentioned, about to leave Gueret en route to Montluçon, taken with a Canon Digital Ixus 960is in 2015, and for something not much bigger than a packet of cigarettes, the detail and resolution is remarkably good.

IMG_3507.JPG.9eba9dcf00338c391d0a4a4ff62f4786.JPG

 

Now, the image sensor in this camera is 6.4x4.8mm, smaller than a finger nail, and the image is resolved to 12mpx;  the software in the camera automatically applies noise reduction and edge enhancement to refine the raw image, which has already been subject to image stabilisation algorithms, so the result is impressive. All modern point and shoot cameras behave similarly.

 

img134.jpg.61cc3f9fd0115f35e82e3dec63d1026d.jpg

 

For comparison, here is 141.TD. 740 taking on water at Lavaufranche some years earlier.  This was taken with a 1952 built Welmy Six, a Japanese 6x6 folding camera with a simple three element  lens and a limited range of shutter speeds, but - and this is the real cruncher - the film, alias the "image sensor", is 56x56mm, roughly 100 times the area of the Ixus! These old folders can be bought quite cheaply,  but getting a photo out of them is a damn sight more effort than any digital camera!

No, film cameras are just for fun - there is a curious pleasure in producing a photo from something sixty or seventy years old, and they are often things of beauty in themselves, but it is a lot of faffing about, - much like steam locomotives or vintage cars, but a lot cheaper!!

 

Best, Mike

 

 

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 Montluçon to Commentry

 

These three steam locomotives were seen in Montluçon at Festirail 2011. TD.140.740 from Limoges, 141.R.420 from Clermont-Ferrand,  and 141. R. 840 from Vierzon. I don't think that Montluçon can service steam locos now, it was subject to a big environmental clean up some years ago, and although I haven't been to Festirail recently, I notice that all the excursions seem to be diesel or electric hauled.

Montlu%C3%A7on.jpg.acdf912dea94cea075bc72b196a43703.jpg

1952 Welmy Six

141.TD.740 was built in 1932 by SFCM in Denain, 141.R.420 was built in 1946 by Alco in Schnectady NY, and 141. R. 840 was built by Baldwin in Philadelphia also in 1946.

 

1308267871_1939PLMDyleBaclan.jpg.462e628b7097d9de1697ef117958423d.jpg

1952 Welmy Six

After lunch we rode up to Commentry in this elderly steel riveted coach. Built for the PLM in 1939 by Dyle et Baclan in Bordeaux, they were 1st class compartment vehicles, convertible to ambulance cars, and as well  as an entrance vestibule at each end they also had double doors in the centre for stretcher cases, just  visible in this pic.

 

img286_filtered.jpg.b61e838e38aec818a1e6b18137cfa910.jpg

1958 Zorki 2C

Here's the Baldwin Mikado drifting into the yard to take up position as banker, on the way up to Commentry. Not sure, but looking at the tender, I guess this is an oil fired loco. I am close to the 10mb limit for this post, so I'll finish this rural ride in a separate post.

 

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And finally, here is the Alco built Mikado at the front of the train, at Commentry. 

Alco_Commentry.jpg.0673cbbcfcc9ddce8108c5735c1a98ba.jpg

1952 Welmy Six

This is in the western slopes of the Massif Central and it's quite a stiff climb up from Montluçon, and the sound of the loco exhausts reverberating off the face of the rock cuttings was truly awesome!   This was on the former route of Bordeaux-Lyon trains, but the line between Gannat and St Germain de Fossés closed to passenger traffic at, I think, the end of 2012, and although it's still possible to travel by train between Montluçon and Lyon, it involves changing at either Riom Châtel-Guyon or Clermont-Ferrand, or an intermediate bus ride to Vichy.

 

This is the end of this little excursion as far as photos go, - thanks for the kind replies and encouragement.   Are the "Rural Rides" worth going on with, or are the ramblings of an elderly railfan too much?  Tell me, I won't be offended either way!

Best, Mike

 

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Spotlc said:

This is the end of this little excursion as far as photos go, - thanks for the kind replies and encouragement.   Are the "Rural Rides" worth going on with, or are the ramblings of an elderly railfan too much?  Tell me, I won't be offended either way!

Best, Mike.

 

No please keep them coming!

 

This thread is fascinating on two levels, the subject matter itself, but also the cameras used to take these excellent shots.  Now I guess sourcing 120 roll film isn’t so hard (and corresponds to the 620 film that would have been used originally), but at least one of these appears to have been taken on 127 stock, which is pretty rare.

 

Most look to have been taken with a yellow filter.  Out of interest, is that the case, have the image scans been tweaked, or is that the way the films have been processed?

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12 hours ago, EddieB said:

This thread is fascinating on two levels, the subject matter itself, but also the cameras used to take these excellent shots.

Hi Eddie,
Thanks for your encouragement!  Now, I have deliberately made only the slightest reference to the photographic aspects of the pictures I've put in this thread, simply because the forum is about French railways,  and not about vintage cameras!

You clearly have far more than a passing knowledge of photography, so I'll send you a private message with some info about the cameras, films, developers and such like, that were used for the pics, to answer your questions more fully.

Information and photos about railways in central France are not exactly abundant, particularly some of the less well known lines and routes, so I thought some of these photos might usefully fill a gap.

Best, Mike

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I thought our next little ride might be in the opposite direction to the first one, this time from Gueret to Saint Sulpice Laurière, where this cross country line joins the Paris-Toulouse main line towards Limoges.

Before we do though, here are a few infrastructure pics of Gueret station taken at different times. Although now something of a rural backwater, the station must have once been quite a busy place, mostly handling coal from the local coalfields, but it was also the hub for several obscure local routes, all now long closed.  One of these led to Saint Sebastien where there was an interchange with the route  to Paris or the south, another went to to Le Chartre, and a third via Aubusson to Ussel. This last is still open as far as Felletin, although there are now only a couple of trains each week, the rest replaced with buses.

 

 

210323161_1995Dyn600si.jpg.95e96d689c72276305de8e45961e4d84.jpg

1995 Minolta Dynax 600si

External  Facade.   Old postcards reveal that there was once a substantial wall around the entrance forecourt, complete with large wrought iron gates.  The building to the left is now a bar/bistro, but I'm pretty sure it was once the station dining room.

 

1953_ens1620.jpg.ebbe19b50068c5403322c887446905a9.jpg

1953 Ensign Selfix 1620  

Platform Facade.     Quite grand for a small town (the smallest prefecture in mainland France), the platform safety fence is a recent addition.

 

Ixus_digi.jpg.8484fd40987337db289c94383cb0a21f.jpg

Digital Canon Ixus   

Yard view.    Taken from the nearby road overbridge, this gives a view of the extent and layout of the yard.  Some rails have been lifted, but a surprising amount still remains!

 

1995dyn600.jpg.98270068f9a76eb10cb93c0a17df7080.jpg

1995 Minolta Dynax 600si 

Goods Shed.    Now all but derelict, it's size gives an idea of the scale of what went on here in former times. The rails in front have been largely surfaced over and the area is now a car and bus park.

 

(I've had to drastically reduce the size of these pics to stay inside the 10mB limit)

Mike

 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

OK, that's Gueret done and dusted, so we will go on to Saint Sulpice Laurière, which is where this ligne transversale joins the Paris-Orleon-Limoges- Toulouse main line. The pics are mostly infrastructure, not least because there are now precious few trains to photograph, but they may be helpful to anyone looking for prototype info.

 

257946234_MontaguitK66.jpg.88c17e4458ab66926bdeb20bd64d72d2.jpg

1960 Kodak 66 Model III

There are only  four intermediate stations on the route, and of these one is closed completely, and two are un-manned halts, so this won't be exactly a lengthy ride!  First out of Gueret is Montaigut le Blanc - here's the former station which is now a private dwelling, the aluminium and glass  shelter just visible on the far platform is all that protects the occasional passenger from the elements.
 

Montaguit_leBlanc.jpg.d043e4abf528ed1984e98af5035634bf.jpg

1960 Kodak 66 Model III

In truth, Montaigut is just a tiny hamlet clustered about the outskirts of a partly ruined 14th century castle, but there is this rather nice former crossing keepers house on the road up to the castle.

 

img854_filtered.jpg.599dd6aba6ce00dad01d98c2dd5e2494.jpg

1995 Minolta Dynax 600si
The next station, at La Brionne, has been long closed, and is identical to the one at Montaigut, and   also  now a private dwelling, so need not detain us.

 

img855_filtered.jpg.dbc36d67b8a1ed34c52ec03972960287.jpg

1995 Minolta Dynax 600si

 What was once the goods yard is now used by Colas as a road equipment maintenance depot.

 

More later,  Mike

 

 

 

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1782281953_ViellevilleKFXsmall.jpg.9f94328a958ff2423ef4be24ad1037df.jpg

1960 Komaflex-S 4x4

Vielleville is the only manned station on this section. It was once the junction for the short branch to Bourganeuf, which closed years ago, although the branch platform is still there and even has a bit of track disappearing into the undergrowth.  The shelter near the platform end houses the multi-lever ground frame, but I can't imagine it is ever used now.

 

img857_200.jpg.66e0f622d5be6d5af11b80ccccceb8f1.jpg

1953 Ensign Selfix 16-20
What was then left of the halle marchandise at Vielleville. The small office extension has already gone, the rest will doubtless follow in due course! 

 

986776383_MarsacgoodsPerkeo.jpg.0dc7ab4d7cdb3f89b5c57013efca02ea.jpg

1951 Voigtländer Perkeo I
The last intermediate station is Marsac, also an unmanned halt, the station building now apartments and identical to La Brionne so I won't bother with a pic. The goods shed is similar to but smaller than  Vielleville and is now used for storage, by either a builders merchant or farm supplies company.

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Saint Sulpice Laurière.

St_Sulpice_KD620.jpg.2b2575a4e0b3d033a00e6d31e5299f1f.jpg

1936 Kodak Duo-620
Finally, we arrive in Saint Sulpice Laurière, and at last a picture of a train!  Taken about ten years ago, here's the 13.35 service to Lyon about to leave in the same direction as it arrived from Bordeaux via Limoges, before branching off towards Montlucon. It is an X72500 automotrice intended for longer distance non-electric TER routes.  They were comfortable but noisy, especially the two car sets. This was a Rhone- Alpes 3 car set.

 

1380497213_13.35toLyonKD620.jpg.d660c5b55db2c39a1d3a1f6280351bdf.jpg

1936 Kodak Duo-620

 This is the point where the cross country line leaves/joins the main route to Limoges. It once had a major steam locomotive depot, complete with roundhouse, workshops, training school, and so on, and had a roster of 80 locomotives, and in fact I suspect that much of the existing town was originally railway based.  

The depot started to decline after electrification began in 1935, but it enjoyed a brief revival during the second World War, when the yard became heavily used following the total destruction of the triage at Puy Imbert (Limoges) by the RAF.

 

Station building

img019.jpg.927247173d0726e9dfd8b47a53951c8f.jpg

 

 

img021_filtered_smaller.jpg.64c1339461ad787fa618c816c25ac09f.jpg

1983 Nikon L35AF

Despite being a quite small town (Pop. now circa 800), the  PO must have wanted something really grand here.  Taken on a very misty day, the pics show  that they got just that! As well as the impressive building, the trees lining the forecourt are massive Ginko biloba's, and are sufficiently unusual in this part of France that I was curious about their origin. It seems that they were a gift from the brother of the Emperor of Japan. He was  a civil engineer (the brother, not the Emperor), and had come in 1864 to inspect the  viaduct at Rocherolles, between here and La Souterraine, which when it was completed in 1856  was the highest in France, and he marked the occasion by giving thirteen Ginko trees for the station approach,  of which twelve are still growing - strange World!

 

Best, Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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