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British Industrial History

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St. Etienne-Lyon Railway

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The line was built between 1828 and 1833 by Camille Seguin and Marc Seguin at a cost of 14,500,000 FRF

Construction began in September 1826. Seguin was chief engineer, chief of estates, maintenance and rolling stock at the same time. Despite all the natural obstacles he encountered, he drew up the plans for line, 56 km in length, with a slow descent towards Lyon. The first part of the line, between Saint-Étienne and Rive-de-Gier was laid at a constant descent of 1.2 to 1.4%. The following section, running along the Gier valley down to Givors, on the Rhône, was less inclined, with a slope of 0.65%. The last section of the line, to Lyon, was built virtually level.

To avoid difficulties in acquiring land, with no laws concerning compulsory purchase at the time, Seguin built several bridges and tunnels.

Between 1827 and 1830 he dug the first tunnel de Couzon à Rive de Gier, with a length of 977 m, a second tunnel, only 400 m long, was dug in 1831 in Lyon. A third tunnel, 1.5 km in length, was dug under Terrenoire.

Instead of cast iron laid on stone sleepers as was then the practice in mines, Seguin decided to use iron rails on wooden sleepers.

1829 The first two locomotives were built by George Stephenson but their speed did not exceed 4 mph and Seguin had to heavily modify them to make them usable.[1]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Practical Mechanics Journal 1851 p207