Sunday 9th September 2018 saw the third European Traction haulage event, and probably the most complex to date: a visit to the Chemin de Fer Touristique du Rhin (CFTR), not far from Colmar in north-east France.
62029 during the pre-event shunting at Volgelsheim, 09/09/18 (JW)
The idea was simple: to visit the CFTR to ride behind ex-SNCF A1AA1A 62000 class locomotive no.62029. This diesel-electric machine was built in 1946 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Eddystone, Pennsylvania, and has a six-cylinder, 660hp Baldwin 606NA power unit.
106 locomotives of model DRS-6-4-660 (Diesel Road Switcher, 6 axles, 4 powered, 660hp) were built by Baldwin between 1946 and 1948, all for the French Supply Council under Marshall Aid. 100 went to SNCF and the other six to Morocco, as class DB-400. Only seven of the French machines remain extant – in various states of repair – but 62029 according to my research at the beginning of this year, although two others have worked recently, is the only one that is currently operational. I am not sure whether any of the Moroccan machines survive, but check out a selection of Phil Wormald’s excellent photos here to see some shots of DB-405 in a deplorable state, long withdrawn at Taza.
Although the Baldwin was the draw, I also asked for ex-SNCF Decauville-built diesel “locotracteur” Y2402, recently re-engined with a Deutz power unit and fitted with train brakes, to power us for a short distance – although it was not operational at the time the event was conceived.
The actual event, however, was complicated by the fact that the CFTR is not rail connected, and public road transport is scarce (and, indeed, non-existent early on a Sunday morning) and not conducive to moving parties of our size in any case – so I arranged a connecting road coach to and from the main line railway stations at Colmar (France) and Breisach (Germany).
On the Day
43 people from four countries participated in the event. I am pleased to report that the arrangements went perfectly. I am very grateful indeed to the railway’s volunteers firstly for returning Y2402 to traffic in time to work for us, but also in working through the night to repair a serious defect on 62029 shortly before our event which could have precluded its use.
The now-traditional seminar photo…
I recorded the movements on the day as follows:-
Y2402 – 10:20 shunt from Volgelsheim station into siding
62029 top & (Y2402) tail – 10:29 shunt from siding back to station
62029 top & (Y2402) tail – 10:38 Volgelsheim to Volgelsheim Depot
62029 top & (Y2402) tail – 11:11 Volgelsheim Depot to Embarcadere de Sans-Soucis
Y2402 – 11:43 shunt from station clear of points (propel)
62029 + (Y2402) DIT – 11:51 shunt back into platform
62029 + (Y2402) DIT – 11:54 Embarcadere de Sans-Soucis to Volgelsheim
A GPS measurement of the route between the two stations came out at 12.04 km (7.48 miles) and another of the shunt at Sans-Soucis recorded it as 165 m. A (potentially less reliable!) walked measurement of the shunt at Volgelsheim using an exercise app came out at 93 m, but if you recorded this by more solid means, please let me know!
We were treated to a visit to the depot, during which we saw all of their rolling stock. The highlight for most of us was 1944-built ex-USATC General Electric “dropcab” no.4036, currently undergoing restoration. Please have a look at my article here to read a bit more about this noteworthy locomotive and how you can help its restoration.
The hire fee for the train part of the event was €1,000, to which can be added the proceeds from the bar car that the railway had kindly provided for us. This means that my three European Traction events to date have resulted in a total just in excess of €5,000 reaching the hands of continental railway preservation organisations – so thank you very much for your support.
On that note, I would like to thank Sebastien, Mani, Carine, Nathalie and Claude for their hospitality and assistance in providing what was a fantastic morning at a lovely little railway. If you have not visited the CFTR, they are not empty words when I implore you to make the effort to go.
Having delivered two complicated haulage events within the space of a month (the other being at Saint-Ghislain in Belgium on 12th August), I’m now having a bit of a rest! However, I have a number of projects on the anvil for 2019 and I look forward to presenting you with the details soon.
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