Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wednesday 12 October - Vallorbe, Le Brassus and Orbe

It was cold again this morning.  It seems we are getting the Mistral early this year.  We took the ICN to Yverdon-les-Bains and changed to the local train for Cossonay where we took another local train to Vallorbe.  The station there is a large building obviously built with better times in view.  It was an important border crossing at one time.  It is also built high above the town and the Iron and Steel Museum is alongside the river.  It was quite a climb back later on in the day.
I found this hilarious - it is on every tv screen in the trains at present

The Iron and Steel Museum appears well funded and the exhibits are well displayed and well explained.  It also bills itself as a railway museum with some excellent models and a good presentation describing how Vallorbe developed.

There are a large number of working waterwheels and the thumps from the associated belts and machinery could be felt throughout the museum.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the railway exhibit was on the top floor where one could choose the O scale train to be sent out on a long run including a helix.

The most interesting part of the museum was the demonstration by a working blacksmith who was making nails.

We found a restaurant which had a good plat du jour - soup, spaghetti carbonara and pineapple.  It quickly became crowded with locals who were in the know.
These two SNCF Sybics were working Vallorbe
The TGV to Paris ran into difficulties at Vallorbe.  Maybe there were problems in changing over from the Swiss to the Franch voltage
While we had lunch the sky cleared and the sun shone brightly for our afternoon trip over the line from Vallorbe (Le Day) to Le Brassus.  This is in a very remote part of the Jura through pleasant country with a very large lake and much forest.  I was surprised to see a line of concrete tank traps on their sides used as a field boundary,  The line is run by Travys and we were surprised to see the driver getting the one and only Re 4/4 (ex-SBB) ready for our train back to Le Day.  Even better, he invited us into the cab while he was doing his brake test. There really is not much room in the cab but it was interesting to see the layout of the controls. Throttle and electric brake were on the right and the air brake on the left.
Cab of the Re 4/4
Le Day
We took the train back as far as Le Day and transferred to the train for Cossonay where we caught another local to Chavornay which is the junction of the third Travys line, the very short line to Orbe. This is run by an ancient railcar and trailer but seems well patronized.  At Orbe the train immediately left to go back to Chavornay for another run while we walked back to the small halt at St. Eloi and caught the return back into Orbe.  There was a very short turn around here but the driver came up to us, mentioned that he had seen us taking pictures at St. Eloi, and would be like to take a look in the cab of the railcar.  Two invitations in the same afternoon.
Cab of No. 51
Back at Chavornay we caught a local to Yverdon-les-Bains and the ICN back to Neuchatel.  Our day wasn't over however as we took a trolleybus out to the funicular to Chaumont.  This is a long line which takes about ten minutes.  However, it is mostly through forest and the views are not too good.  The attendant explained that we would have to come straight back or wait an hour.  We came straight back.

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