'009' – GUEST

St Etienne-en-Caux is at the heart of the Tramways de Caux, a 60cm railway system set in the Pays de Caux in eastern Normandy.  The railway was built in the late 1890’s, following the successful demonstration of 60cm railways by Paul Decauville at the Paris Exposition in 1889.  The railway was built as a common carrier, carrying both freight (largely agricultural produce, sugar beet and stone) and passengers.  The Tramways, unlike its neighbour to the west, the Chemins de fer du Calvados, managed to weather the Second World War and staggered into the 1950’s, largely kept going by the use of cheap autorails (railcars) and its stone traffic, with a seasonal tourist traffic in the summer months.

The model, although freelance, is based on a number of norther France narrow gauge railways, in particular the CF du Calvados, the CF Froissy-Cappy-Dompierre and the Tramways de Pithiviers a Toury.  The station at St Etienne Quai is based on the harbour side station at St Valery on the metre gauge CF de la Baie de Somme.  Althought the Calvados system is now closed; happily the other three lines are still with us and well worth a visit.  The model is set in the late 1950’s. when internal combustion was beginning to supplant steam power.

The railway uses a variety of locomotives, including the original tramway ‘bi-cabins’ (locomotives with cabs at either end), Decauville Mallets, ex-WW1 locomotives (English, French and German), and machines built by French and Belgian manufacturers such as Blanc-Misseron, Haine St-Pierre, Couillet and La Meuse. The models on the layout are a mixture of kit built, scratch built and modified ready to run. Please feel free to ask any questions, or just have a natter.