Friday, 29 November 2013

Have You Seen "Les Usines d'Ugine?" [5]

What do you do with a single track railway, passing through gorgeous countryside, closed to passengers in 1938  and progressively closed to freight by 1999?
The summary above reveals that Annecy to Annecy ZI remained at least nominally in use until 2008. Google Streetview confirms his by showing tracks in place ...
... through the town and veering right into the ...
... industrial estate (aka "Zone Industriel" aka "ZI"). From there the through line went straight down the road, through a tunnel under the hill in the distance ...
... and out the other side (behind the lorry!).
From this point onwards, almost all the way to Ugine, the track becomes not a railway track but a long distance cycle track!


From just outside the city centre of Annecy the cycleway runs alongside the much-rebuilt main road south to Ugine. Happy riders of their vélocipèdes are segregated from the busy road as far the Colmyr Park and Ride.
A little further on, where the railway used to cross the road, the cycle path veers left and takes up the former track bed.
A French rider describes the ride from the opposite direction:- 

Ce matin, j'ai roulé sur la piste cyclable qui va de Ugine à Annecy. Le temps était idéal. Il n'y avait pas trop de monde même si toutes les places de parking étaient remplies.

Aux passages de routes, il faut vraiment faire attention, les voitures ne s'arrêtent pas.

Après Doussard, on voit enfin le lac. Quel paysage!

Je passe un tunnel juste avant Duingt. J'arrive à Saint Jorioz. Il y a de plus en plus de monde (beaucoup de vélos).

Encore un petit effort, et j'arrive à Annecy. C'est les vacances, on est dimanche, il y a beaucoup de touristes.

Tout le long du lac, on peut faire des pauses sans problème pour boire ou manger.

 Sometimes the trackbed doubles as a proper local access road ...
... but, mostly, barriers ensure that only cyclists, pedestrians and "les rollers" ...
... have exclusive use.
Hey! Isn't that cheating?
For reasons of bulk, fbb has never been a keen cyclist - not since slimmer student days; but, for those who enjoy green and healthy travel, this route must be truly invigorating with its breath-taking views and excellent facilities.

In the UK, the conversion of railways into footpaths and cycleways does occur; but generally for shorter stretches.

Now if Matt Baker's not too busy in Summer 2014 ...
There is a proposal re-open the railway with some local councils being in favour; but the cycleway is so popular and the width of the trackbed insufficient for heavy rail and light bike that cyclists will almost certainly reign supreme. For once, subject to reservable rickshaw rides for the rotund, fbb agrees.

After all, there is the bus!
Probably with better views than on a bike?

 Tomorrow : Geek of the Week : Saturday 30th November 

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