Sunday 19th May
Following breakfast at 08:00 our coach collected us at 09:00 and delivered us to Martel for 09:40. This gave us an hour to explore this village.
The coach then took us the short distance to Le Truffadou [the truffle railway]. Today was a steam day. Some days the trains are diesel hauled, but everyone prefers steam don’t they? With open-sided carriages and five tunnels steam does have its downside though! [See the Video of the day at the bottom of the post.]
Carved into the cliffs of Mirandol, towering 80 metres (260ft) above the River Dordogne, this line used to run from Bordeaux to Aurillac, and took from 1880 to 1884 to build. It came into use in 1889 and competed with the boat traffic. The rails were taken up in 1917 to provide steel for use in the First World War. In 1919 the US government replaced them with American rails which are still here today.
In the early days, the trains were used to transport truffles, for which Martel was outstandingly famous throughout France hence its nickname Le Truffadou. The line was closed in 1980, but in 1991 several enthusiasts were eager to preserve it, raised sufficient funds and worked hard to open the Martel-St-Denis section in 1997.
From Martel we travelled to the amazing village of Rocamadour. Three hours free time allowed us the opportunity to: walk from the chateaux at the top; travel on the two lifts that join the three levels of the village; have lunch in a restaurant balcony hanging over the valley; wonder down the Main Street and ride on the little white tourist train.
Once again our coach returned us to our hotel in Souillac for 16:30, giving the tourees a bit of R&R time before dinner at 19:00
RailDiscoveries Tour Map:
Video of the day:
Selfie of the day:
- Welsh Highland Railway & Caernarfon
- Ffestiniog Railway & Portmeirion
- Passau and Home [via Köln]
- London to Munich [for Oktoberfest]