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Le Mortier Gumond - Tramways de Correze.


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I recently was watching Le Tour de France on the telly, one stage of which traversed the Correze region and I remembered this.  Taken a while to place it here - but time passes awful quick these days.................:unsure:

 

A long time ago, when I was nobbut a lad, I acquired a copy of Model Railway News for March 1959 and in it was an article by Dennis Allenden about building a 7mm scale model of the Tramway de Correze station at Le Mortier Gumond.  At the time, this really tickled my fancy but I never got round to doing anything about it until a few years ago when, during a period of modelling 'flatness' and needing something 'different' to do, I remembered it.  The mag was dug out from storage and the article studied again with a view to seeing how it would translate into more modern materials.  DA had used Tufnol and plywood sheet, brass etc. for his version - but I was going to use plastic sheet and card - and make it to HO scale.  I became quite enthusiastic about Correze and bought a book (in French which I can read better than speak) and realised that virtually all the stations on the line were of a very similar design so a fictionally named one wouldn't be to far out of place.  This is the result, built using various pieces of plastic building sheets and card etc. that I found in my 'Things That Will Come In Useful One Day' boxes.  The name is unashamedly rather a pun but it was finished late in the year.............

 

I'm attaching scans of the original article in case anyone else fancies 'having a go' and can't trace a copy of the mag.  Has anyone actually 'had a go' at some time with the Correze system?  If I wasn't entrenched with P4 Western Region, Industrial, HO Western Maryland etc. etc. I could be very tempted!

 

First, the Dennis Allenden article -

 

760999014_MRNArticle.1.A.jpg.2661345deed5b1f3b7e80b7146699e1d.jpg

1247677087_MRNArticle.2.A.jpg.fb36ff618e87a23c22c15c9f0563a91b.jpg

 

499537884_MRNArticle.3.A.jpg.722856fb53430e550e49524b3174327d.jpg

 

532193251_MRNArticle.4.A.jpg.e15407743b5f14107ef273d899ac08d9.jpg

 

My version -

 

1938934718_LeMortier.1.JPG.3a485bfad822801dd776ae1a981c4e0d.JPG

 

1890043393_LeMortier.2.JPG.bc12f563e187e2680e543a8d1933df8a.JPG

 

1780435092_LeMortier.3.JPG.030ae1abe012a4b05b4aa2b1dd17e8e0.JPG

 

And the real thing -

 

16036646_StationLeMortier2014.PNG.42151eae78ae622ae900a34a8179a042.PNG

 

And a prize!!

 

707051940_StAchloursPrizeWinningSept16.B.jpg.bd9536fd46330562ac218216c5f18b33.jpg

 

Can't believe it was 4 years ago!  Time don't half fly by these days.....................

 

 

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That's a superb model 5050. The Tramways de la Correze are fascinating and, given that they're mostly the wooden goods shed,  a surprisingly large number of its stations still survive. I've explored it a couple of times though not very recently. At Le Mortier-Gumond itself the station bulding, an example of a class 2 station (there were three classes)  is AFAIK still intact as is the adjoining main loco depot for the line which is now a garage. Elsewhere, twelve more station have been carefully restored or put intact to other uses and one of the water towers, that was actually some way from any station, still exists alongside a local road. Of course, the TC's greatest memorial is the magnificent Viaduc de Rochers Noirs. 

1549685851_viaducrochersnoir.jpg.8d5f8eb3a14800f8ba6fc1942b2d9a12.jpg

 

After the last line of the TC, between Tulle and Neuvic d'Ussel, closed in 1959 the bridge was used for road traffic with a traffic light controlled approach through several narrow tunnels. I drove over it a few time in 1981 and it was actually a useful short cut that avoided driving down to the river on very twisty roads and back up again. The bridge became pedestrian only in 1983 and was closed completely in 2005 though I believe there are guided tours. 

 

There's a very good website on the T.C. here

http://lacorreze.com/transports/tramway1.htm

It's in French but well enough illustrated to be self explanatory.

 

I would though make one caveat. Probably because it was the very last of France's hundreds of rural steam tramways to close as a public railway, the TC was rightly celebrated by enthusiasts. However, largely because of Dennis Allenden's article, many Brtitish modellers have wrongly assumed that le Mortier-Gumond was typical of the thousands of tramway and local metre gauge railway stations up and down France.

In reality the design is unique to the Tramways de la Correze and couldn't belong to any other railway. All its own stations followed its three variants (class two was the most common) so it was even more characteristic of the T.C. than a pagoda platform shelter was of the GWR.

A few other tramways, including the 60cm gauge Pithiviers-Toury tramway, had wooden goods sheds with an adjoining office/ticket office built of stone or brick (usually rendered) but to very different designs.

The most generic  French "light railway" station building design was a small two storey building with two doors at back and front,  the chef de gare's flat on the first floor, office with ticket window and waiting room on the ground floor and an adjoining goods shed on a loading dock usually accessible from a door in the chef's office. 

 

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Thanks for the comment.  This is the book I purchased (through Amazon probably) and it is full of photos, mostly taken towards the end but there are some earlier ones.  Dennis Allenden actually features in a couple of the photos.  I think it was the distinctive style of the buildings that attracted me, especially in my innocent youth, when the thought of building a layout that would accurately depict the prototype would have been out of the question.  That thought is still circulating in the back of my mind although building one of the steam locos is a daunting prospect!  The book includes drawings of locos and rolling stock so the vans and wagons shouldn't be to much of a problem.  Perhaps one of Rue D'Etropal's Billard railcars would be the answer!

 

1310055791_TdeCbook.A.jpg.f909def04098a88d348143c2dad2bc88.jpg

 

I've got some ply etc. and a space on my bench.......................

 

But it would have to be to P87 standards;)

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12 minutes ago, 5050 said:

Thanks for the comment.  This is the book I purchased (through Amazon probably) and it is full of photos, mostly taken towards the end but there are some earlier ones.  Dennis Allenden actually features in a couple of the photos.  I think it was the distinctive style of the buildings that attracted me, especially in my innocent youth, when the thought of building a layout that would accurately depict the prototype would have been out of the question.  That thought is still circulating in the back of my mind although building one of the steam locos is a daunting prospect!  The book includes drawings of locos and rolling stock so the vans and wagons shouldn't be to much of a problem.  Perhaps one of Rue D'Etropal's Billard railcars would be the answer!

 

1310055791_TdeCbook.A.jpg.f909def04098a88d348143c2dad2bc88.jpg

 

I've got some ply etc. and a space on my bench.......................

 

But it would have to be to P87 standards;)

Indeed. That's an excellent book- one of about four on the T.C. that I have.

P87 - so a gauge of 11.494252 mm then :D (for metre gage 11.5mm is probably close enough as it's only out by 0.5mm at full scale and I doubt if any of the TC's track or wheels were within ten times that in terms of tolerances but I've no idea where you'd find the correct wheel profile) 

So far as locos are concerned they had twelve Piguet 0-6-0Ts built in 1912 one of which has been preserved1230477957_TCno4CFBSFeteVap2013.JPG.835e4c61865f407b0674438184122e43.JPG

T.C. no 4 cosmetically restored at the CFBS Fète Vapeur in 2013 

 

When the TC closed at the end of 1959 no. 4, which had been refurbished for a sale that never happened, was saved from Gertie by AMTUIR, the urban and interurban transport museum that used to be in Paris but is now in a smaller building in Chelles. They have entrusted it to the Chemin de Fer du Baie de Somme for restoration which  means it has an excellent chance of getting back into service. (The CFBS workshops at St. Valery Canal seem to be a bit of a Boston Lodge for French metre gauge preservation)  AMTUIR also had a couple of TC coaches. I'm not sure what's happened to them but they may still be in store. 

 

The two narrow bodied Billard A80D1s X-1 and X-2 came from the CFD Dordogne via the VFIL Pas-de-Calais  but I think they only operated on the TC in its final few years- whcih was when most photos and films of it were made. Before that they'd used six de Dion-Bouton MLs (two were kept in reserve when the two Billards appeared) which would be easier to model in terms of their bodies but harder to operate as they were single ended and had a built in turntable. The livery of both these types was autorail red and gris-clair (light grey but I think it has a definite colour reference)

 

 

 

 

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I remember that I was in contact with Paul a few years ago.  I have a house in the Correze (though sadly I have been able to visit it only once this year).  It is near Treignac, which was a terminus on the POC, but the TC is my favourite line.  There is are long-distance signposted routes (both by road and on footpaths) along the whole of the TC for the POC), though sadly the Syndicat which oversaw the creation of the trail is no longer around.  Several of the station buildings and other infrastructure or vehicles have been restored.  I, too, have four or five books on the lines.  My avatar is of the Viaduc des Rochers Noirs.

 

My intention is to build a model of the TC - the station being a copy of Lapleau (which had an engine shed and workshop), though named as Marcillac, so that I can also build the line ascending through Marcillac town centre on a 90 degree curve, before crossing a representation of the Viaduct.  However, realistically, this is really too big to build, as the viaduct itself is massive and the valley it spans is very deep.  I have put up a new bench in the garage, using old kitchen units, so that I may be able start the layout before toooo long

 

I model otherwise in P4, so that I am modelling the TC in 1:55 scale, with a P4 track gauge - EM would be closer to scale, but ...    I have some partially completed scratchbuilt models of the various early railcars of the TC and have been wondering how to model the Billard railcars - don't think Simon does the correct version yet?  I have drawn up the plans for the Piguet locomotives and have used my Silhouette cutter to scribe the plans onto nickel-silver, but have not yet got round to starting to cut it out (after several years).  I have a plasticard body for one of the locos, but need to start building the chassis - I have all the parts I need, wheels, motor gearbox, etc.  I have also part completed models of the station and the engine shed, and also of my house to put on the layout.

 

Mick

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Thank Mick.  Your use of a non-standard scale is an interesting option and one I will investigate.  It definitely means a lot less work with the track and sourcing wheels etc. even if the models are a bit larger.  I'm only intending - if I ever do get going - to build a small layout.  I've (theoretically at least) got a P4 North Wales Western Region layout, a P4 Forest of Dean layout and a larger P4 industrial layout to build and an American HO layout to finish!

 

And a daily reducing amount of time to do it and a finite space in which to fit it all.:rolleyes:

 

Could you post some photos of your models - even if they're not finished?

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5.5mm/ft might be non standard to some, but it is getting more interest. Although EM/P4 might be closer to scale, I have been working on a project using 16.5mm gauge(a lot easier to find r2r chassis and track). Remember Pempoul was built using EM gauge but was to bigger scale of 1/50, and it still looks superb.

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It's unlikely that any fine scale French modellers would use EM or P4 track standards though they might use 16.5mm to P87 standards. The problem there would be that, so far as I can tell, most French metre gauge track used the same crossing and check rail clearances as standard gauge so the larger scale would make those too fine. By using EM track and wheel standards with 1:50 scale Gordon Gravett was probably very close to true scale. Those standards may have depended a bit on the type of railway- I've seen an SNCV petrol railcar running on the Baie de Somme's metre gauge track and having to pass very gingerly over a common crossing as its wheel standards were much finer and clearly designed more for street runnng- there was some street running on the TC through Ussel but it was mostly roadside  rather than in the road. I doubt if the narrow bodied Billard A80D1s bought by the TC  used different wheels from the original wider bodied versions built for the CFD's metre gauge railways (as opposed to tramways)   I'll see if I can dig out the track and wheel standards for the TC which may have been in Voie Libre. 

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I would imagine the type of rail depended on whether most of the line was inset or normal track. Nothing about the rail used in the book about this line, but in the book about the lies centred on Castres, which had quite a bit of inset track in the street sections, there is a drawing of traditional tramway type rail(Broca?) and I think it actually says it was not used. The photos of the track in Castres do look more like traditional railway track rail,and I think using a mixture would have meant that no wheel type could have ben compatible with both types of rail.

I thought the narrowness of the railcars was due to maximum permitted stock on track running next to roads . Interestingly the Castres railcars are the wider version, so street running was obviously not an issue.

I will have to start on those designs for the narrow version of the railcar, and possibly the locos, coaches and wagons. Main reason I did not do the narrow version of the railcar was that the roof profile caused be a few computer problems, and it was not just a simple edit to create the narrow version.

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My rather simplified take on it in HOe for my contribution to Les Croisées de l'étroite, pictured here at the LR Presse Trainsmania exhibition at Lille in 2017.

IMG_0731.jpeg.756b7dd795c09db8c2c59720422648fe.jpeg

Edited by bécasse
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Pempoul must be built too narrow. Not complaining though, it's fantastic.

Grdon does say he used EM gauge for practical reasons, and does say that for some reason going narrower for metre gauge acually looks OK, possibly better. My argument for using 16.5mm for 1/55 scale metre gauge. I initially thought about going 1/64 scale, but loco body I had designed would not fit chassis I was planning to use, and then I discovered that 28mm wargaming was near to same scale and far far far more accessies than S scale had so it was a no brainer for me -r2r track, r2r loco chassis, and wargamming and diecast(eg Siku) acccessories.

Before 14mm got more interest some would use 12mm gauge to represent 2ft gauge in O scale. 16.5mm gauge is too wide and always looks wrong to me, which is why I used 1/35th scale for my WW1 models.

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On 26/10/2020 at 11:04, rue_d_etropal said:

I would imagine the type of rail depended on whether most of the line was inset or normal track. Nothing about the rail used in the book about this line, but in the book about the lies centred on Castres, which had quite a bit of inset track in the street sections, there is a drawing of traditional tramway type rail(Broca?) and I think it actually says it was not used. The photos of the track in Castres do look more like traditional railway track rail,and I think using a mixture would have meant that no wheel type could have ben compatible with both types of rail.

I thought the narrowness of the railcars was due to maximum permitted stock on track running next to roads . Interestingly the Castres railcars are the wider version, so street running was obviously not an issue.

I will have to start on those designs for the narrow version of the railcar, and possibly the locos, coaches and wagons. Main reason I did not do the narrow version of the railcar was that the roof profile caused be a few computer problems, and it was not just a simple edit to create the narrow version.

Hi Simon

The T.C Tulle-Ussel line. ran for part of its length (from Saint-Bonnet-Avalouze to Tulle) on the track of the PO Correze line to Argentat. That was an Intêret General railway (considered part of the national network) and mixed it with the PO so would almost certainly have used standard check and crossing clearances.

I don't think it was actually a national legal requirement but the allowed loading gauge width of 2.2m seems to have been fairly common for roadside tramways; I think because the Départements that authorised them used a "boiler-plate" Cahier des Charges rather than drawing them up from scratch for each new line.

The Billard A80D autorails were originally designed for the  d'Intêret General lines operated by the Compagnie de chemins de fer départementaux (CFD) company  but they also ran a number of roadside tramways so the narrower but slightly longer version (A80D1,2&4) was designed for those. In the end there were actually more of those built than the original wider bodied version but AFAIK none of them have survived. 

 

The two puchased by the T.C. in 1956 (so they didn't work on the T.C. for very long before it closed) had been built for the CFD operated Chemins de fer de la Dordogne in 1938 and when that closed worked in Pas  de Calais before going to the T.C. After the T.C. finally closed they went to Corsica but were rebodied.

 

All this does illustrate something one needs to be aware of with such railways in France. The vast majority of photos and film of them were taken by enthusiasts in their final years  after the war when interest in these "tacots"  suddenly grew because they were disappearing so fast (rather like British branch lines in the 1960s that had been all but ignored before the war). These images were often though not at all typical of these lines through most of their history.

 

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22 hours ago, rue_d_etropal said:

My argument for using 16.5mm for 1/55 scale metre gauge. I initially thought about going 1/64 scale

I'm currently working (slowly) in S scale and have been looking at various gauge equivalents for prototypes I'd like to work on, namely Metre gauge French and 3ft Irish. In 1/64 metre gauge works out at 15.62mm which is not far off 00-SF. I have 00-SF track gauges so this makes sense. 3ft gauge works out at 14.2mm so 3mm FS standards could be applied. As with most of my ideas compatibility with other layouts is not a consideration so free to experiment. I did a while back scaling up/down an 18.83mm standard to represent various gauges. That threw up some odd scales. A recent search for a photo threw up this gem from about 15 years ago, 32/21mm mixed gauge in O, in the garden! 

122.jpg

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I have been getting Voie Libre since 2000, and just had a look through those issues for ideas, and found that those first issues I got had drawings for stations on the Correze lines. The drawings show what I tend to think of as more traditional French designs.

I have also just finished my designs for the A80D1 railcars which ran  from mid 50s. On comparing the photos and the drawing in book, I have done main radiator as per photos . Not sure why drawing shows it sticking out more, but maybe it was further modified after it left the line. Luckily I had the Autorail de France book with nice drawing showing original condition for the A80D1.

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On 22/10/2020 at 22:19, MickRalph said:

I have some partially completed scratchbuilt models of the various early railcars of the TC and have been wondering how to model the Billard railcars

 

 I have only just found this thread so a late reply.

 

011.JPG.3dcc280a632376443748a9b2ba835303.JPG

 

I built this model forty odd years ago so it has lasted longer than the prototypes.

 I would not remotely attempt to pass it off as a scale model but I like to think that it captures some of the prototype's character.

 

From memory and with regards to construction:

The sides were cut from styrene sheet.

The two ends were moulded around a wooden former.

They were also made from styrene which had been placed on a cooking tray in the oven and warmed.

I think that I had enough brains to wait for my mother to go out before attempting this procedure!

The body parts were then joined to the ends with a soldering iron.

The windows were poked through with a soldering iron as I recall and then filed to shape.

The ends were then daubed in palstic padding and smoothed repeatedly until an acceptable finish was obtained.

 

All in all it was a pretty barbaric procedure and it is probably best , for those of a nervous disposition, not to look at the still visible scars in the interior.

I must add that my modelling skills have not greatly developed during the intervening time period.

It is probably best not contemplate the fumes produced along the way, either.

I am sure that Elf and Safety would have a fit nowadays but back then.....

Whatever the rights and wrongs it still holds down a diagram on the AFK after all these years.

 

Hope that this method is of some interst, even if as an avenue not to go down!

 

Ian T

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On 22/10/2020 at 14:38, 5050 said:

Thanks for the comment.  This is the book I purchased (through Amazon probably) and it is full of photos, mostly taken towards the end but there are some earlier ones.  Dennis Allenden actually features in a couple of the photos.  I think it was the distinctive style of the buildings that attracted me, especially in my innocent youth, when the thought of building a layout that would accurately depict the prototype would have been out of the question.  That thought is still circulating in the back of my mind although building one of the steam locos is a daunting prospect!  The book includes drawings of locos and rolling stock so the vans and wagons shouldn't be to much of a problem.  Perhaps one of Rue D'Etropal's Billard railcars would be the answer!

 

1310055791_TdeCbook.A.jpg.f909def04098a88d348143c2dad2bc88.jpg

 

I've got some ply etc. and a space on my bench.......................

 

But it would have to be to P87 standards;)

Copies still available at a much reduced price from the Loco Revue stable: https://trains.lrpresse.com/CT-932-livres.aspx

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