Compagnie des chemins de fer du Midi

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Midi advertising poster for reduced fares to the bathing and winter sports resorts in the Pyrenees (around 1900)

The Chemins de fer du Midi (short Midi ) was a railway company , which in the south of France railway lines between the shores of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic by Bordeaux and Sète (until 1928: Cette) up to the Spanish border operation. In addition to railroads , the company also operated canals , u. a. the Canal latéral à la Garonne and the Canal du Midi , the former 208.5 km, the latter 286.5 km long.


Participation certificate from the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Midi from July 4, 1927

The Midi was built in 1853 by taking over concessions awarded in 1852 for the Bordeaux – Cette railway line (476 km, opened in sections from 1855 to 1857), Narbonne - Perpignan (63 km, opened in 1858) and Lamothe - Bayonne plus branch line to Mont-de-Marsan ( 193 km, opened in 1855). A substantial part of the network and the Garonne Canal were licensed and supported by the state with subsidies, interest guarantees and interest guarantees.

Contracts of December 30, 1858 and June 11, 1859 (law of June 11, 1859) granted the Midi further railway lines (Bayonne - Irun and Agde - Lodève ) and the network was divided into an old and a new one. At the end of 1859 the length of the licensed old network was 796 km, that of the new network 848 km. Further extensive line concessions followed between 1863 and 1907. At the end of 1912 the network of the Midi had an extension of 4080 km.

In 1934, the Midi merged with the Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans (PO) to form the Chemin de Fer de Paris à Orléans et du Midi (PO-Midi) and thus formed Société nationale des chemins de fer français until it was taken over by the state railway (SNCF) became the largest private railway in France in 1938 .


Electric locomotive E 4002 of the Midi in the Cité du Train, the railway museum in Mulhouse in Alsace

As early as 1909, the Midi set up an extensive electrification program using the hydropower of the northern Pyrenees . Similar to Germany, the decision was made to use single-phase alternating current and overhead lines and chose a contact line voltage of 12 kV with 16 23  Hz for the following railway lines:

In 1912 the Perpignan – Villefranche-de-Conflent line went into operation and became the test laboratory for the electric locomotives ordered.

In December 1914, electrical operations were started on the two branch lines to the Pyrenees (Tarbes – Bagnères de Bigorre and Lourdes – Pierrefitte) with railcars . Apparently only a few trains ran between Tarbes and Lourdes. Only one locomotive was available for freight transport . The energy required for the route was generated in the Soulom hydropower station near Pierrefitte with six machine sets of 2600 kW each and transmitted via transmission lines with a voltage of 60 kV to the Lourdes and Tarbes substations . Transformed to 12 kV in the substations, the voltage was fed into a non-post-tensioned catenary made of 100 mm² copper contact wire and 40 mm² steel cable.

After the First World War , the single-phase alternating current system was viewed politically and militarily skeptically because of its application in Germany. On August 29, 1920, the French government ordered all railways in France to use 1500 V DC when electrifying lines. The Midi then switched the Pau – Tarbes (1922) and Tarbes-Montréjeau (1923) sections to the new system. The previous system was retained between Perpignan and Villefranche-de-Conflent. The following routes were newly electrified with direct voltage:

The routes Montauban –Toulouse and Toulouse– Sète were only put under tension in 1935 after the merger of the Midi with the PO to form the PO-Midi.


Steam locomotives

Electric traction vehicles

For electrical operation at 12 kV and 16 2 / 3  six were Hz prototypes of electric locomotives of the wheel arrangement 'ordered 1'C1 at different manufacturers:

Of the locomotives, only the E 3010, E 3201 and E 3401 were taken over, whereby only the E 3201, later the SNCF series 1C1 3900, proved its worth. The locomotive was in operation on the Perpignan – Villefranche-de-Conflent route until 1959. The other two locomotives were retired in the late 1920s.

The E 3101 was used on the Dessau – Bitterfeld route between March and August 1911 as part of test drives. The locomotive, which was already equipped with a regenerative brake, could only be tested to a limited extent, however, as there are no significant downhill stretches in the Central German lowlands. The locomotive was not taken over by the Chemin de Fer du Midi and returned to the AEG. So far nothing is known about the whereabouts.

Midi railcars (E ABD 1 to 30)

In addition, 30 railcars with a baggage compartment for passenger traffic were procured from Dyle & Bacalan, Brill, Westinghouse, to which normal passenger coaches were provided. The E 2 was destroyed in a fire in 1920 and taken out of service. After the conversion of the midi lines to DC voltage began in the early 1920s, some of the vehicles were converted to the new system.

  • The E 1, E 3 to E 14 and E 16, renamed Z 23031 to Z 23044, were in operation on the Perpignan – Villefranche-de-Conflent line until 1971 as the SNCF series Z 4900. After the only electric locomotive 1C1 3901 (E 3201) was retired in 1959, the railcars also took over freight transport.
  • Two vehicles of the E 15 and E 17 to 30 were converted in 1919 by SAAS , colloquially Sécheron, for the SBB and all others from 1920 onwards to a direct voltage of 1500 V. Designated as Z 23051 to Z 23063, they were in operation as the later SNCF series Z 4500 until 1962 at the Tarbes depot.

Web links and sources

Commons : Compagnie des chemins de fer du Midi  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Newspaper of the Association of German Railway Administrations, 1916, No. 86, p. 981 f.
  2. Ferrovissime No. 71 (September / October 2014), p. 32.
  3. a b Didier Janssoone: L'Histoire des chemins de fer pour les nuls . Éditions First, Paris 2015, ISBN 978-2-7540-5928-2 , pp. 65 .