Culoz-Modane railway

Culoz–Modane railway

Culoz–Modane railway
System SNCF
Status Operational
Locale France (Rhône-Alpes)
Termini Gare de Culoz
Gare de Modane
Opened 1856-1871
Owner RFF
Operator(s) SNCF
Line length 135 km (84 mi)
No. of tracks Double track
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8⁄2 in) Standard gauge
Electrification 1500 V DC

The Culoz–Modane railway (sometimes called Ligne de la Maurienne) is a 135 kilometres (84 miles) long railway running from Culoz, near Chambéry, through Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Modane in France. Together with the Italian Turin–Modane railway it is often called "Fréjus Railway" or "Mont Cenis Railway".

Despite running under the Fréjus Pass, it is sometimes called using the name of the Mont Cenis, the pass where the route most used at that time was. The Mont Cenis pass was more famous than the Fréjus pass, so the railway took the former name, even if it runs throught the latter. To add confusion, a different railway used to run over the Mont Cenis pass.

It is operated by the SNCF, and the line from Modane to Turin that connects with it is operated by FS.


The section between Culoz and Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne was opened between 1856 and 1858, when Savoie was part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. The line was extended to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne in 1862. The remaining section between Saint-Michel and Modane and the tunnel towards Italy were opened in October 1871.

On 12 December 1917, a troop train derailed at speed at Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne killing several hundred soldiers; see Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne derailment.


The 20 kilometres long section between St. Michel to Modane on the north side of the Mont Cenis Tunnel has a maximum inclination (gradient) of 3%, an average inclination of 2.1% and a smallest curvature radius of 350 metres. The erection of support structures in difficult areas with danger from landslides, and of tunnels with a total length of 4624 metres was necessary. The 41 kilometres long section between Bardonecchia and the south terminus of the Mont Cenis Tunnel has a maximum inclination of 3 per cent, an average inclination of 2.05% and a smallest curvature of radius of 450 metres. On this section 18 bridges and 26 tunnels with a total length of 8115 metres were built.

In 1925 the railway between Modane and Chambery was electrified with 1.5 kV DC, using a third rail. This was the highest voltage ever used on a third rail system in Europe. In 1976 the third rail was replaced by an overhead wire.

See also

Further reading


External links

Retrieved from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culoz%E2%80%93Modane_railway