Corsican railway history

From beginning to 1945

        It was constructed enough late, later than the main lines of the French continent, and also later than on the other big Mediterranean islands.

        Law declaring it of public utility was voted in June, 1878, in Paris Parliament.

        Works began in December, 1878. The first trains ran in 1888 on Bastia - Corte route.

        The line Bastia - Ajaccio was finished in 1894, and the antenna towards Calvi ended in 1890.

        On the oriental coast, Ghisonaccia was reached in 1888, and Porto Vecchio in 1935. Bonifacio, foreseen, ever lives no train.

        At first, exploitation was confided to the Company of  the Local Railroads ( Compagnie des Chemins de fer Départementaux : CFD ).

        In 1943, the oriental coast line was destroyed by the German army. And never reconstructed.

        During the 2nd world war, a lot of rolling stocks was destroyed also.

From 1945 to 2001

        From 1945 till 1965, the State managed directly the network through the Civil Department of Bridges and Highways. The most positive of this management was the order of railcars Renault ABH. But the deficit increased...

        In 1955, the government wants to close Balagne's line. A powerful movement prevented it. In 1959, they want to close the whole network. A new massive mobilization made put off authorities.

        Then, in 1965, the government decided to entrust the exploitation again to a private company. It was the SACFS (Auxiliary Company For the Secondary Railroads) who modernized : renewals of tracks, purchase on the French continent (and sometimes reconstruction) of numerous second-hand railcars (from networks which closed), creation of fast trains, and of the tramways-trains of Balagne. But the reliability was very bad, and the bankruptcy reappeared in 1972.

        The Corsican population demonstrated still .

        The CFTA (General Company of Railroads and Road Transport) was declared temporary administrator on February 1-st 1972. A reflation of the network took place. 5 new railcars of construction CFD were delivered in 1975, and 2 others in 1981. The CFTA has being improved the situation.

        Since 1983, the management is entrusted to the FNRC*, with a real flourish. In September, 2001, the CTC* has just signed with the FNRC a new agreement for 9 years, which arouses many hopes. (See this link)

             * French National Railways Company (State company).
             * Corsican local authorities

In 2002, French State retroceded the whole network at the CTC. During years 2000, a very important effort of modernization was done.

Since 2012 management is done by a SAEM (Société Anonyme d'Economie Mixte) whose Président is an elected member in the local Corsican Assembly.

Sources :

Les Chemins de Fer de la Corse

Author : Pascal Bejui

The reference book from these latest years

Editions La Régordane, published in 1987, new edition in 2001. (see this link)

Ed. La Régordane address : Le Villard  BP 3  F-48230  CHANAC  

Magazine Chemins de fer régionaux et urbains (of FACS - UNECTO)

N°270 in 1998/6

Special  number « Les chemins de fer de la Corse », around 40 pages and photos by Paul Carenco

Address of Chemins de fer régionaux et urbains : gare de l'Est, place du 11 novembre, cour souterraine porte 9,
F 75475 Paris Cedex 10 -

A few illustrations :
( click to enlarge )

  melero1.jpg     melero8.jpg     melero3.jpg   melero12.jpg     melero9.jpg

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