Nice To Digne

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by RichmondCommu, 14 Jul 2017.

  1. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    G'day everyone,

    My wife and I are fortunate enough to be on holiday on the cote d'azur during August and we are thinking about taking the train to Digne for the day. I know next to nothing about the line other than its metre gauge. Any information on the line and whether we should perhaps try and stay the night in Digne (although I appreciate we might have left it late!) would be gratefully received! Rolling stock, scenery, availability of steam haulage, I'm interested!

    Thanks in advance,

    Richmond Commuter!
     
  2. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    http://tourisme.trainprovence.com/accueil-english/

    All the info you need is there. The rolling stock is modern A/C stuff.

    It's years since I last made the trip, but apart from the first very built up section from Nice to St Martin du Var it's splendidly scenic almost all the way to Digne.

    I don't know the town of Digne itself, sorry.
     
  3. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    Many thanks for this, that's a brilliant website. I think we'll aim for an early night and get the first train up from Nice.
     
  4. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    The cross-border line from Nice up to Cuneo via Breil and Tende is also very scenic - back of beyond country.
    But since I travelled that way, the Nice trains seem to terminate at Tende with only Trenitalia beyond (from Ventimiglia), with very poor connections.
     
  5. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    Highly scenic railway, and a very lucky survivor, mainly due to the lack of parallel roads suitable for replacement bus services. In recent times serious storm damage could easily have led to closure but there was enough regional good will towards the line to save it. It was famous in the past for the 'Alp-Azur' service Genève - Grenoble - Digne - Nice, which back in the day offered 'society' people a scenic link between the lake Geneva area and the French riviera, and for latter-day use of pre-war Renault railcars on Nice commuter services.



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    Last edited: 17 Jul 2017
  6. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    The web site of the current operator doesn't delve into the history very much IMO.

    The present day CP line is the last survivor of the three main route Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Sud de la France, which became Chemins de fer de Provence in 1925, a larger network, including the late-lamented Toulon - St Tropez - St Raphael coast route.

    There is a comprehensive French wikipedia entry:

    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemins_de_fer_de_Provence


    Digne les Bains (Digne) itself is worth a visit. It is small, but it is a city, and the Prefecture of Department Alpes de Haute Provence (04). There are plenty of hotels as it is a spa .

    Sadly the SNCF line closed in 1992, but it is still just about possible to do a circular day trip Nice - Digne - Marseille - Nice if you can work out how to link the CP at Digne to the SNCF Briancon - Marseille route. It is theoretically possible to minimise bus travel in the Digne - Sisteron area but probably not easy (unless you are prepared to take the express bus Digne - Marseille). The upside is that PACA operates a comprehensive 'LER' bus network to complement the rail 'TER' network, and although this replaces some former railways routes it also links to places like Barcelonette, which was never reached by railway (it was half built but never finished as WWI intervened)

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    Last edited: 17 Jul 2017
  7. rf_ioliver

    rf_ioliver Member

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    Some of the older stock is still operating, but I guess just the local services to Plan de Var (this was about a month ago).

    Now that Nice has a tram access to the station is quite easy, about 50-100m walk from the tram stop.

    As another poster suggested, Nice-Breil sur Roya (and beyond) is a rather nice trip too. If you time things right, you can catch a Breil-Vintimiglia train back, then along the coast via Monaco to Nice.

    t.

    Ian
     
  8. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    You must try to go all the way to the first Italian station, that's where the best landscapes are. Then back to Vintimiglia and to Nice. It will take a full day, though, but it's worth it.

    Envoyé de mon SM-T819 en utilisant Tapatalk
     
  9. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    Did this journey yesterday and it was absolutely fantastic. Many thanks for the advice ☺
     
  10. contrex

    contrex Member

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    I was once at the CP station in Nice, waiting to buy a ticket to Entrevaux. There was an elderly French nun who was very angry. Apparently she had just arrived from Digne and was supposed to be met by local nuns from a Nice convent in a car, but they were nowhere to be seen. She demanded that the booking clerk phone the convent. When he got through she made him hand the receiver to her through the little window (Donnez-moi l'appareil !). She clearly found they had gone to the gare SNCF, because she yelled into the phone: "Ah, pute ! C'est le train de Digne !" Now "pute" is a very rude French word, a shortening of putain, and has the same strength and power as the F-word does in English. Having got that off her chest, she made it clear where she needed to be picked up from, and stamped over to an empty seat, got out her fags and lit one up. I was looking around at peoples reactions and they were doing what you normally expect English, not French, people to do, i.e. pretend nothing had happened. I grinned at her and she offered me a ciggy which I accepted. We chatted for a few minutes until her car arrived. She was a very nice lady.

    Coming back from Entrevaux, the station was overrun by cats. A number of the waiting passengers were feeding them bits of salami etc. They wandered about on the track and seemed very nonchalant. The station is just by a tunnel mouth. All at once, every cat turned and strolled into the station building (The booking lady asked me if I wanted one!). They must have heard the train coming, because about 5 minutes later it arrived. Or maybe they could tell the time?. A whole extra carriage, which looked like it had been made out of sheet metal at a caravan factory, was reserved for a wedding party, who boarded with a number of crates of beer. This was about 1999, I think all that stock has gone. I think they were called 'ballons'. Curved, bulbous appearance.
     
    Last edited: 28 Aug 2017

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