Are you a fan of old trains or maybe you’d like to learn more about them?
How about stepping back into your childhood by coming aboard this green passenger steam train? Come on, what are you waiting for? Take a seat on the wonderfully restored wooden bench seats, and listen carefully. You’ll hear the whistle being blown so quickly, so take a seat, the train is about to leave! A cloud of white steam escapes from the chimney and we’re off on our 45 minute train ride between Crèvecoeur-Le-Grand and Rotangy. It’s such a pleasure to explore the scenery of the Picardie countryside all around us, accompanied by the chuffing sound as this train, classified a Historic Monument, chugs proudly along the tracks.
Travel back in time on a historic steam train
This new, effective means of traction came about due to a combination of the Napoleonic Wars after the massacre of the horses on the battlefields, and the beginning of the industrial era. The very first steam train capable of pulling along a wagon was designed in the south of England by British inventor Richard Trevithick. It was able to pull ten wagons along at a speed of 8 km/hr. In 1827, French engineer Marc Seguin developed the fire-tube boiler which meant the power of the machines could be increased tenfold. But it was English engineer Richard Stephenson who would build the very first railway in the world. All countries went on to build their own railways based on English techniques, and often called upon the expertise of English engineers. Steam trains reached the end of their reigning popularity between 1968 and 1973 as they were progressively replaced by diesel-powered trains, and then electric ones. The last steam train in France dates back to September 1975 for the film ‘On a retrouvé la septième compagnie’ (The seventh company has been found). In Crèvecœur-Le-Grand, a team of passionate volunteers from the Musée des Tramways à Vapeur et des Chemins de Fer Secondaires Français decided to clear the area to build a metre-gauge railway. A quarter of the railway has been completed so far.
The perfect experience for families
Once you arrive on the platform, watch what happens to the locomotive to position it at the front of the train, it’s a fascinating sight for the whole family! You’ll leave the train starry-eyed, with a huge smile on your face, happy to have discovered this new real-life toy. You’ll want to turn around and get back on the train, and the good news is that you can go on the same ride several times with one ticket.
If you’re feeling peckish, you’ll find a selection of refreshments and snacks at the Tortill’bar. If you enjoyed your trip, you can stay a while longer and chat to the volunteers. You’ll be touched by their overwhelming passion that they’ll be delighted to share with you.
I found the ideal souvenir gift at the Tortill’bar: cider from the Ferme Bussy in Crèvecoeur-le-Grand that has been bottled especially for the site, with the Steam Train on the label. As an added bonus, it tastes great!Julie IBERT, Holiday advisor and fan 🙂