Tuesday 27 August 2013

Researching Rosheim [4]

That branch line ...
... from Rosheim, via Rosheim Ville, Boersch and Ottrott to Saint Nabor turns out to be worth a second look. It all began in 1902 when the area was going through one of its German ownership phases and the company Verin und Wächter started to develop quarries at Saint Nabor.
They built a railway to get the stone out and, almost as an aside, to provide a passenger service for communities dotted along the curvaceous little line.
There was much celebration at Rosheim Stadt (later "Ville") ...
... where the station originally sported a restaurant.

Three diminutive Borsig tank locos provided the motive power.
In 1918, post WW1, the area and the line became French and in 1923 management of the trains transferred to the Strasbourg Transport Authority. Passenger numbers were never huge and a basic timetable of eight trains a day provided an adequate service.
A typical passenger train is seen here at Rosheim Ville, recreated for the later tourist line.
The truck next to the loco was the mail wagon which, as well as transporting bagged correspondence, was also provided with a letter box. This wagon, like one of the locos, is "preserved" and awaiting its long-term fate.

In 1938 passenger services were handed over to a single diesel railcar...
... which maintained the service (somewhat reduced) until closure in 1955.
Stops at Rosheim Ville and Boersch were relegated to a footnote and Saint Nabor was no longer shown at all.

Stone continued to be transported from the quarries, latterly hauled by Diesel ...
... until the work of both quarry and line ended in 2002. But a sort of reprieve came for passengers between 1969 and 1988 when SNCF ran the line as a tourist attraction on Summer Sundays and Bank Holidays.
But the tale is due to have a happy ending of sorts. 
Le Maire (Claude Deybach, au dessus) soumet au Conseil Municipal le projet de mise en valeur de la locomotive Borsig et wagon postal au niveau de la Place de la Gare. L’objectif est de faire revenir la locomotive et wagon postal sur Ottrott. L’idée est de mettre à l’abri et en valeur ce patrimoine aux abords de la Place de la Gare.
A mayoral proposal (in 2012) that the Borsig loco and the postal wagon would be displayed in a specially contstructed building here at the site of the former Ottrott station. And in May 2013 ...

Le montant total du projet est estimé à : 150,000€. Le Conseil Municipal, après délibération et à l’unanimité adopt l’opération de Mise en valeur de l’entrée du village, Place de la gare, pour la mise en place de la locomotive Borsig et de son wagon postal. .

So the Council unanimously (but after deliberation) agreed to spend 150,000€ on the project. Whilst the stations have gone and the little line sinks beneath a sea of undergrowth, it is good to see that its unique memories will not be forgotten.

 Next Tram Blog : Wednesday 28th August 

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