Truffadou – Martel

An astonishing journey by steam or diesel trainin the Dordogne Valley with Truffadou!

Do you like special trains, steam locomotives, old railways or rail transport in general?

Set off to discover the Dordogne Valley, on a 13 km round trip along the old railway line carved into the Mirandol cliff, 80 m above the Dordogne.

Each route runs from Martel to Saint Denis Lès Martel. Depending on the timetable, a magnificent steam locomotive or a powerful diesel is at the head of the train, ready to take you on a fantastic journey. A commented one-hour journey, at low speed, along the corniche, to discover the exceptional landscapes of the Dordogne Valley and the rich history of this railway line, opened in 1889.

This section of the former Bordeaux – Aurillac railway line was built between 1880 and 1884, and opened for service in 1889. This line competed with barge traffic.

Out of service during WW1 (1914-1918), it was rebuilt in 1919 with American rail, still in place today, from Martel to Saint-Denis.

Between the wars, the train was used to ship truffles from the Martel market, one of the biggest in France (up to 10 tons of truffles could be found there!), hence the name “Truffadou”.

The line had been unused since 1980, when in 1991 a group of enthusiastic volunteers, keen to preserve this “masterpiece”, created an association (“Le Chemin de Fer Touristique du Haut-Quercy”) which, after years of work, reopened the line in 1997.

The Association has created SCI Chemin de Fer de Martel, which owns 8 km of line, and operates 6.5 km with equipment it owns.

Since 2014, the first floor of the passenger concourse has been home to a museum of old railway artefacts. A unique collection donated by José and Nadine Demeurs, supplemented by other donors.

This collection includes uniforms, posters, signals, lanterns, cruets and various tools for track work, two scale models and many unusual objects, bearing witness to the rich history of the railways.

This must-do activity in the Dordogne lasts around 1 hour and includes a commentary. Timetables vary according to the time of year.

Visits are available from April to All Saints’ Day, for tickets ranging from €5.50 to €11 (don’t forget to get a ticket stamped at the campsite reception for a discount!).

Dogs are allowed on a leash.

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