The Return of the Mastrou?

WHAT is this?? Certainly not the lovely steam train which we have all been missing so much since it suddenly ceased operating two years ago!

But the news is encouraging. After protracted wrangling, mud-slinging and court hearings plans are on track to re-start the service through the Doux valley. The tentative date is Spring 2011, but there is much work to be done before then, overhauling the five steam locomotives, maintaining the track and infrastructure and even building a brand new station at St Jean de Muzols, the new departure point for the Mastrou, which will do away with the need to share the main SNCF line to cross the river – always a scary moment!

All summer we have been hearing the friendly sound of the horn as the diesel locomotives make periodic inspection runs along the line and one day we came upon this bizarre sight. It is a “velirail” – a sort of pedal car on rails which may be offering rides before the line is fully open for train business again. As it is a single track line, you certainly would not want to come nose to nose with a steam powered Mastrou bearing down on you as you pedalled along!

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