Dunes Les Blancs

Tramway du Baye de la Maye

Se, French,  4 by 1 foot




Description      Why Se     Tramway du Marquenterre

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On either side of its Estuary the River Somme laid down the Marquenterre an area of flat land rarely rising above 10 meters criss-crossed by drainage ditches, canals and windbreaks. It is famed for its dairy farming and aggregate extraction. At the end of the nineteenth century tourism started developing round the Somme Estuary but due to poor transport not in the area west of Rue. Frederic Delaitre a banker released that by using Decauville’s new system an inexpensive narrow gauge rural tramway could be built across the Marquenterre. He formed a company to build a tramway from the coastal line at Rue to le Maye and Quend-Plage les-Pins. The tramway headed west from Rue for four kilometres to Marquenterre Junction were le Maye line turned south-east into le Champ Neuf (the New Field) and after four kilometres reached the Baie de Maye. From Marquenterre Junction the Quend-Plage les-Pins line turned north west passed through le Bout des Crocs and St. Quentin en Tourmont as only the first six and a half kilometres was built it ended at Dunes Les Blancs a temporary terminus in the middle of nowhere. Given the tramways speculative nature costs were minimised with limited station facilities and signalling only at Marquenterre Junction. Train control uses baton pilote, the equivalent of a British train staff system, with sections from Marquenterre Junction to Rue, le Maye, and Dunes Les Blancs. The tramway rapidly found that seasonal tourist traffic was far from a money-spinner, local passenger and freight traffic were helpful but wouldn’t keep the tramway afloat. So every effort was made to develop sand and gravel traffic enabling the tramway’s to survive the 1920’s and 30’s despite the decline in other traffic due to competition from motor vehicles. By the 1950’s the tramway had become largely a sand and gravel haulier with limited other traffic. The layout is inspired by the Tramway du Marquenterre.

Why Se

The layout is built to S scale (1:64) on 9mm gauge track the combination is known as Se. The advantages are it scales the 9mm track up to 576mm or very close to 600mm and at 1:64 scale the Jouef skips are almost the correct scale size. All other stock and the buildings are is scratch built


Tramway du Marquenterre

The tramway connected the mainline at Quend to the English Channel tourist resorts of Quend Plarge [beach] and Fort Mahon Plarge. It formed a Y with a ‘mainline’ line from Quend to Quend Plarge and a north westerly branch from Monchaux to Fort Mahon Plarge. The line was prompted by the Society Immobiliere de St Quentin Plarge’ a firm of speculative builders who needed the tramway to bring in building materials and purchases. They used the Decauville 600mm [24”] tramway system due to its low cost and suitability for civil engineering works. In 1914 the line was lifted for the war effort re-laid in 1919 and continued in operation till 1928.

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