A ride through the French Pyrenees on the Yellow Train

I have been to France many times but have never ridden this train. In fact until I began my pandemic induced world tour of railroads I didn’t know of its existence!

In the early twentieth century, the railway line carrying the famous Yellow Train was built to link the high Catalan plateau to the rest of the region. Work began in 1903 and by 1910 connected Villefranche-de-Conflent to Mont-Louis. The final stretch was completed in 1927 reaching Latour-de-Carol.

Today it follows its original route through magnificent mountain scenery. Laying the track required the construction of 650 engineering masterpieces, including two remarkable bridges, the Séjourné Viaduct (suspended 65 metres above the ground) and the Pont Gisclard (80 metres above a precipice), allowing the Yellow Train to chug along the contours of the mountains.

The line runs all year round, serving 22 different stations. During the summer season, the Yellow Train has open wagons for a real mountain experience. The track passes through nineteen tunnels (including one tunnel 337 metres long at Planes, and the Pla de Llaura tunnel near Ur, 380m long). The map below shows you the route:

Map of yellow Train Route

The train runs on an electric drive system. Electricity is provided by a third rail which runs alongside the track. The Bouillouses dam and hydroelectric plant at La Cassagne, between Fontpedrouse and Mont-Louis, were built and commissioned in 1910 to provide electricity to the Yellow Train. The electricity production complex at La Cassagne is operated by the Hydroelectric Company of Southern France, a subsidiary of the French National Railways, created in 1937.

Jump on …………………………….

According to what I have read the Yellow train has run  every day since it was completed. And snow? The yellow Train has its own snow plows.

Yellow train Snow Plow