Ardeche Steam Train

When I knew that we would be going on a Steam train I was beyond excited.  As a child I loved catching the steam train for family picnics and school outings.  Hanging the head out as you go along the tracks. The clickety clack of the wheels and the whistle as the train headed to the destination.  We would hang our heads out the windows till we got covered in smoke and steam.  Even as an adult I throughly enjoyed a trip on Puffing Billy in the Dandenongs with my friend Lyn when she visited.

I was feeling much better thank goodness.  I would have been very sad if I hadn’t been able to go on this trip.

We boarded the coach to head to Tournon – Sur – Rhone, a very attractive village in the Ardeche region. We were going to catch the Chemin de Her du Vivarais, translated as the iron road of Vivarais.  A scenic railway line that runs between Tournon, in the Rhone Valley and Lamastre, the Doux Valley.  The Doux, a tributary of the Rhone, has cut deep gorges into the Ardeche plateau and from the carriages, we can view the most inaccessible part of the Doux gorges.

The line was opened in 1891 and the meter gauge line is 33 km long and is renowned for its historical steam locomotives and collection of historic rolling stock.  The train journey runs for 1.5 hours


Locomotive 414


Tournon – Sur – Rhone – St-Jean-De-Muzols


Locomotive 414


Everyone was loves a good old steam train ride, you could feel the excitment.  Or was it just me!  This was going to be amazing.  The Doux a tributary of the Rhone, has cut deep gorges into the Ardeche plateau.


Our carriage.  Just before we left Tournon – Sur – Rhone


One of the many bridges


The train ahead


Doux River, a tributary of the Rhone


The scenery is stunning as we made our way up the hills and through dark tunnels.  Wonder if anyone kissed in the tunnel?

Arrived at Colombia le Vieux – Saint-Barthelemy le Plain.  A charming little station where the locomotive has to be turned around on a swing bridge and placed in front of the train.  We had a 20 minute stop here so we wandered around while this was going on. The station master had chickens and lots of eggs were ready to be picked up.  So many places to stay here from camping to hotels and Air BNB.


Colombier le Vieux – Saint-Barthelemy le Plain


Our locomotive driver


Such a pretty little place at Colombia le Vieux – Saint-Barthelemy le Plain




Coming out of the tunnel


Stunning Scenery

We arrived back in Tournon ready to head back to the ship. It would be an afternoon of sailing as we headed to Vienne.

Our Locomotive was 414, however if you are there and you get Locomotive 403, it has been running the route since 1903.


If you’re in the area do this trip its fun, exciting and you see just a bit more than sailing down a river.  Perhaps even stay for a few days.


Thank you reading.  I will be posting more pictures on Instagram.



26 thoughts on “Ardeche Steam Train

  1. Pingback: Senior Salon Roundup Post: April 2 – 6, 2018 | The Recipe Hunter

  2. You’re such a mindful traveler. I love all the little details of the places that you go! It really makes me feel like I’m there too and helps me immerse in your tale. Thank you for sharing your travels!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great post, and I could definitely relate to your childhood memories of travelling in clickety clack steam trains. Do you remember the poem, From a railway carriage’, I think it was one of Wordsworth. I remember it being recited in a corresponding rhythm of the clickety clack of a train gathering speed. I always remember the poem if on a old train.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Love trains, especially those around Europe. Though lately, we seem to be hiring a car which is more practical at the moment. Lovely post!

    Liked by 2 people

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