The International Steam Pages

The CF du Haut Rhône, France, 2015

Thomas Kautzor reports on his August 2015 visit to this small 600mm railway in Central France, between Lyon and the Swiss border. See also James Waite's 2011 report which has much background information...

On August 2nd 2015, I visited the C.F. du Haut Rhône with Torsten Schneider, to see the Brigadelok now in use there.

A few years ago Decauville Progrès 0-6-0T 1797/1922 was sidelined after it suffered a cracked firebox. The CFHR would like to get the Decauville 0-6-0T back to working order, but can’t afford a new firebox for it. Some British specialists were due to visit later this year to inspect the boiler and check if the crack can patched up.
The CFHR has since developed a rail-bike activity, which is very popular, much more so than the steam trains. There are multiple daily departures in July and August, as well as on Sundays and holidays from May to September. The ten 4-seat bikes are the only 600mm gauge ones in use in France and were developed by the CFHR’s president, a mechanical engineer, and built at Valdahon, the major rail-bike producer in France.
While the railway also had operational Brigadelok 0-8-0T HF 743 (Krauss 6999/1916, 1963 ex Lambert Bros. brickworks, Chagny (Bourgogne)), which had returned from the C.F. de la Vallée de l’Ouche (CFVO) shortly before, where it had been on loan since 1991, that loco could not be used as it prone to derailments due to the poor condition of the line. After a year or two, improvements to the track however allowed its use and it has been hauling the only single Sunday afternoon train since (operates from May to September).

Decauville 0-4-0T 839/1912 “Coquette” is still plinthed in the middle of the roundabout opposite the station.
The Plymouth diesel (with a Deutz replacement engine) is having its body rebuilt. It is used on works trains. 
Red diesel T3 “La Brouette d’Echallens” is not operational and comes from a tree nursery in Echallens (Switzerland).


Plinthed in the middle of a roundabout at the southern exit of Ambérieu-en-Bugey on the D1504, we photographed this standard gauge 1953 Fauvet-Girel diesel (probably ex-SNCF) 
While at Soquet, a builder of amusement park equipment, we found Soquet four-wheel steam-outline diesel No. 020-T 53 of 1989 which appears to have previously worked at the Bagatelle park in the Bois-de-Boulogne (Paris).

Rob Dickinson