Friday, 24 October 2014


CCB Clarens Gambetta

CCB Ce 2/2 3 in Clarens. 1951

CCB Clarens-CFF. 1955

CCB Ce 2/2  1 at  Clarens-CFF. 1955 Photo  E. Gfeller

Clarens CFF 1955

CCB Chailly.  1950

CCB Fontanivent 1950

CCB Fontanivent 1950

CCB Fontaivent 1952

CCB Fontanivent 1955

CCB Fontanivent trackbed

CCB Last piece of track Fontanivent

CCB Blonay 1955


The book that got me into Swiss railways and tramways was Cecil J Allen's Switzerland's Amazing Railways, I think I had the first edition which included maps across the covers. I was amazed by the network of lines around Lake Geneva and was disappointed to discover that many of them had closed by the time I visited Switzerland in 1976 - although just as many, if not more, remained open. There seemed to be a particularly dense network around Vevey and Montreux, and most of my stays in Switzerland (probably over 50 now!) have been in the mountains above these lakeside towns.

So although I was aware of these lines it's been a nightmare trying to find any information or photos of them - until yesterday when I discovered this fantastic website! So a bit of translation and photo choosing has led to this, the first of what I expect to be many articles on Swiss closed lines!

I am always more than happy to add more information and photos (fully acknowledged of course) including pictures of any remains of the lines or rolling stock, memorabilia etc. Also if you have any other information sources (any language) I would love to see them!


The CF Clarens-Chailly-Blonay connected the coastal town of Clarens with stations at Fontanivent and Blonay on the Montreux-Oberland-Bernoise line (MOB).  The line was metre gauge and opened from Clarens Pl. Gambetta to Blonay on 23.11.1911 and from Clarens Pl. Gambetta to Schiffstation on 4.07.1915. Maintenance of equipment and rolling stock was undertaken by the MOB. The short section from Clarens Pl. Gambetta - Schiffstation on 31.10.1943 and the remainder of the line on 31.12.1955. A VMCV bus route replaced the tramway. The line was just 5.6km long, 3.5km on street.


From the landing stage at Clarens the VMCV (Vevey-Montreux-Chillon-Villeneuve) tracks were reached immediately and these were used as far as Place Gambetta. From here the tracks left the vMCV and headed north steeply towards Blonay. The tracks passed under the SBB via an underpass and on to Tavel, continuing to Chailly. Here the tracks turned eastwards, went through vineyards then joined the route of the MOB. The tracks of both lines then paralleled each other to Fontanivent. From here street tracks to the trams to Brent and Blonay, where the CCB had its own station, close to but separate from the MOB station.


Station/halt Distance   Height asl (m)

Clarens Lac     0,0            378  
Clarens Gambetta     0,2            382  
Clarens SBB     0,5            402  
Tavel     0,9            423  
Chailly     1,9            474  
Fontanivent  (MOB) 3,5            555
Brent     4,0            566  
Blonay     5,6            620

Rolling stock


type no            year suppliers

Ce 2/2 1 1911 SIG/MFO
Ce 2/2 2 1911 SIG/MFO
Ce 2/2 3 1911 SIG/MFO

passenger cars

type no         year         suppliers

C 11 1896 SIG
C 12 1896 SIG
C 14 1896 SIG

freight wagons

type no model year          suppliers

M 1 2 2 1913 ACMV
M 2 2 2 1913 ACMV


A tiny section of track remains at Fontanivent used by the MOB as a siding. There is also a short tunnel at Fontanivent, sealed at one end, together with the tunnel under the MOB. Much of the rest has disappeared as it ran on street.


Tuesday, 14 October 2014


Before opening.

The subway in 2002.

(Copyright Chris Bedford Dumpman Films)

How it is now.

Nestling in a gap in the South Downs a few miles north of Chichester is one of the most fascinating closed stations of all.

Singleton's a small, fairly quiet village, but it holds a secret! A big closed station, now masquerading as a vineyard. 

If you're driving up from Chichester there's a clue as to why Singelton had such a big station Goodwood Race Course, which sits high on the Downs to the east of the village.

Singleton was on the Chichester to Midhurst line, opened in 1881. Traffic was always fairly sparse, but Singleton was different. It was designed as the station for Goodwood. It had four platforms connected by a subway, buffets, holding sidings for trains, a large goods shed and TWO signalboxes!  Whilst popular with King Edward VII the hoi polloi preferred Chichester station as the walk to Goodwood was easier!

Other stations on the line were far more basic with single platforms, but all sported elegant tile hung buildings in a similar style to those on the Bluebell and Cuckoo lines. Passenger trains finished in 1935, freight on this section continued to 1953 and the final section (south of Lavant) lost its trains in the late 1980s.

But the stations are still there (apart from Midhurst) although serving very different purposes these days. I never had the guts to sneak into Singleton and take pictures unfortunately, but Lavant was a regular haunt for me in the early 1970s. This was a fantastic line cutting as it did through the Downs. Hopefully it will return in the future.

Film of the route (plus loads of other great Sussex stuff!!)

More info (via Wikipedia) 

Singleton railway station served the village of Singleton in the county of West Sussex in England. The station was on the former line between Chichester and Midhurst. It was opened on 11 July 1881.
The station, designed by T. H. Myres, was built in a grand way by its owners the London Brighton and South Coast Railway, which included four platforms, with a subway linking them and the 'Country House' style station building, buffets, long sidings for awaiting trains, a large goods shed for dealing with freight, and two signal boxes to control the station. The main reason for this large building was to deal with visitors to the Goodwood Racecourse, but passengers preferred to use Chichester Station mostly due to the walk uphill to the course from Singleton. It was one of the most visited stations by the LBSCR Royal train as the prince of Wales (later Edward VII) used to 'weekend' with the James family at West Dean House. Little other traffic was ever found, and despite all of the grand hopes, passenger services were withdrawn on 6 July 1935. Freight services remained until these were withdrawn on 28 August 1953 by British Railways. The station is now in use by a vineyard owner.