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Surrey Group Meeting: Saturday 3rd August

Our next Area Support Group meeting will be held on Saturday 3rd August when a talk will be given by Michael Bunn on The Baie de Somme Railway.

Commencing at 2pm, the meeting will be held in the Clubhouse at: Woking Miniature Railway (aka Mizens Railway)Barrs Lane, Knaphill, Surrey GU21 2JW

All members of the L&BR Trust along with guests and visitors are welcome to attend. There is ample FREE off-road parking available and refreshments will be available


The Baie de Somme Railway’ by Michael Bunn

Our speaker Michael Bunn will provide an exposition on the development of the metre-gauge network of lines around the Baie de Somme estuary on the Picardy coast of northern France. Several sections have been preserved and run as a ‘steam heritage railway’.

The standard gauge line between Noyelles and Saint Valery opened in 1858. However, it was not until the late 1880s that the railway network was extended in the area, this consisted of several lines the common factor being that they were all metre gauge. Services started to decline during the 1960s with the inevitable closures later that decade. Thankfully a preservation society was formed in 1970, running their first trains the following year and have continued to develop the line as a tourist railway running from March to September. The collection of preserved vehicles covers both steam and diesel locomotives as well as a number of diesel railcars, as well as ancillary coaches and wagons.

Map of La Baie de Somme

An interesting fact is that part of the railway is dual metre and standard gauges which results in some strange train consists. Michael resides in England but is closely associated with the railway in France.

The line is one of the closest French heritage lines to the UK (just 65 miles from Calais) and is nearer to Woking than our beloved Lynton & Barnstaple Railway at Woody Bay.

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