Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday 10 October - Les Brenets, Les Ponts de Martel and Jura

Train to Le Locle then narrow gauge, car 5, to Le Brenets. 
The train to Le Brenets at Le Locle
Arriving at Le Brenets out of the tunnel
The young driver was very friendly and opened up the shed for us to see car 3 and trailer 12. He later gave us a commemorative booklet on the line.
We walked into Les Brenets but it was all downhill so we did not go down to the lake. There are some interesting buildings including the hotel de ville which was converted from a tower built in the 1500s. It had just stopped raining but was damp and misty. Good weather for snails which were out in force. We watched a large one which moved about six inches in 10 minutes.
Les Brenets Hotel de Ville
Les Brenets
A fast moving snail
Arriving at Les Brenets
Back to Le Locle where a noisy, polluting SNCF diesel took us to La Chaux de Fonds.
An unexpected diesel at Le Locle
We were ahead of schedule so decided to go to Les Ponts de Martel. This runs through a wide green valley used for cattle, sheep and horses. The hillsides and tops are forested. The green looks like many model railways where one color of Woodland Scenics grass has been sprinkled over plaster cloth.
We had just three minutes at Les Ponts de Martel. A delightful narrow gauge electric line operated by a single car of  Italian manufacture.
Les Ponts de Martel
Trains all run in and out of La Chaux de Fonds on every hour so the transfer to the CF du Jura was easy. We went to Noirmont through green countryside which looked like parkland at times. Trees were well spaced out and the grass was cropped to a uniform height. The space below each tree was cropped as high as the cattle could reach.
Locomotive for one ballast car at Noirmont
There was a good cafe to have lunch and a beer in Noirmont and then a quick trip out and back to Tramelan which is the location of the Jura company workshops.
The narrow gauge railway to Glovelier is very pleasant and there are large curves to lose height in a well wooded area. The curves are not enough, however, as there is also a change of direction just above Glovelier. At Glovelier there were newly laid three rail concrete ties in one of the platform tracks, an indication that the plan to run the CF du Jura trains into Delemont will likely happen. However, the narrow gauge trains will never be able to match the performance of the standard gauge. We took a tilting train back to Neuchatel.
In Neuchatel we climbed up to the well preserved chateau which houses the Canton's parliament.
Neuchatel chateau