We are delighted to learn that the ever popular vélorail is expanding its service for the 2015 season. The section of line which runs through the Doux Gorge is already somewhat over-subscribed, with up to five velorail and three steam train runs a day in the high season, all competing for the same stretch of track. We have always felt that the continuation from Boucieu to Lamastre is as yet under exploited, since it is only used by the Tuesday market train and for a few extra runs from Tournon to Lamastre in July and August.
The re-opening of the line has been a great success; but this summer there was inevitably a bit less of a buzz after the triumphant first season in 2013. Le chef, invaluable as he undoubtedly was to the smooth running of the operation in those first hair raising months, seems to have proved to be a little too independent-minded for management and there was a parting of the ways at the end of that year. We were also a bit anxious that one of the operators, Kleber Rossillon, might have been a bit distracted having been awarded the prestigious contract to operate the Grotte Chauvet in the south of the Ardèche, which is set to open in April this year, but it seems that our fears were unfounded. A second steam locomotive has been rebuilt and will be ready for service at the start of the season and 25 new pedal cars have been ordered for the vélorail service. These cars are manufactured by a small local company just 30 miles to the south of us, which is particularly satisfying.
So the new pedal car experience will start at Boucieu, where passengers will take the vintage Billard diesel train up to the 45th parallel of lattitude marker (a source of great local pride) from where they will pedal back down to Boucieu on a route crossing four viaducts, two notable bridges and a level crossing. To get an idea, click here and then on the green arrow. Then, to get a feel for the route as seen from the market train, click here (Markus loves his little film . . . so we hope you like it!)