Le Train de Merveilles – Nice to Tende – Part 1

Starting from the sea level, the Nice-Tende railway line rises to over 1000 metres in height as it travels towards Le Col de Tende.wpd85d76c3_05_06torre-saorge
The line was an amazing feat of engineering, a real achievement in a dense, hilly region. It is distinguished by an impressive succession of structures (over 200 In all): viaducts erected overlooking deep canyons and countless tunnels in the mountains (including 4 helical structures!).
In the immediate post war era the line was closed as many of the major structures had been destroyed. It wasn’t until the mid to late 1970s that those structures were replaced. Some of the following pictures illustrate the condition of the line before renovation.hautpays51-cai1

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The project to undertake the rebuilding of the structures on the line and to re-lay the standard gauge track was costly and was undertaken by the regional authorities in France and Italy. Many of the structures were rebuilt by the end of 1978.

Le Viaduc de Scarassoui

This viaduct was built across the valley of the Roya between two tunnels close to Fontan. It was commissioned in 1923. Its designer was Paul Séjourné, the engineer was André Martinet and the contractor was Mercier, Limousin et Cie. It was a graceful, elegant structure.

viaduc_scarassoui_cle222b3d-e72ablivre-cdt-scara1

399_001livre-cdt-scara2It survived for little more than 20 years before it became a casualty of the Nazi withdrawal from southern Europe in 1945. When the bridge was blown the tracks where left hanging over the river.hautpays32-scara36

Once the tracks were removed the bridge lay derelict until 1977 when a replacement structure was started. It was simpler and more functional but none-the-less a dramatic structure in its own right.387_001viaduc_scarassoui-situ01_cle5d5215TDM-sur-viaduc-article-272X194_tcm65-49743_tcm65-32994_272x194

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