The little station at Boucieu le Roi is buzzing with life once again. Two years after the sudden discontinuation of the steam train, the much-loved Mastrou, its platform is humming with life, the level crossing barrier is back in action and we hear the familiar toot toot of the diesel autorail as it makes its way back up the valley.
The service is booked up solidly until the end of October, but last Saturday we were able to sneak abord number 00 for our trial run.
We were very excited to be the first ones to set off down the line, and our valiant pedallers were so enthusiastic that we arrived in record time, having encountered goats and a couple of chickens on the line, waved at fishermen in the Doux and paused for a moment to admire the splendid bridge over the narrows.
Then it was into the tunnel and away down the gorge. This is the most spectacular, and least strenuous, part of the trip. We know the line well of course, having used both the steam and diesel service regularly for many years whilst it was still operating, but this open air experience gives you a completely different impression of the landscape and the incredible feat of engineering which was necessary to carve a railway line through this dramatic gorge. The run is truly spectacular, passing through a completely unspoiled and largely uninhabited valley, which is otherwise absolutely inaccessible.
Once the whole convoy of twenty pedal cars had arrived at the little station of Troye, everybody boarded a double autorail dating from the 1930’s and completely renovated last year. The line of cars was hitched on behind us and we trundled back up to Boucieu. A great morning and a fantastic addition to Walksweeks. We know our guests are going to love it!