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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 4 (August 1, 1927)


One hundred years ago-two years after George Stephenson's great triumph on the Stockton and Darlington line-there was opened for traffic the first railway in France. This was a single-track line, twelve miles in length, connecting Saint Etienne with Andrezieux, in the Department of the Loire.

During the present summer elaborate contenary celebrations are to be conducted by the French Railways, headed by the Paris, Lyons and Mediterranean system, of which undertaking the Saint Etienne-Andrezieux line to-day forms a part. Built to what is now the standard French railway gauge of 1.45 metres, the Saint Etienne-Andrezieux Railway was originally intended for use exclusively as a mineral line, with horse haulage throughout. In 1832, however, the conveyance of passengers commenced to be undertaken, and twelve years later steam locomotives replaced horses as haulage agents. By French railwaymen the Saint Etienne-Andrezieux line is looked upon with equal reverence as is the Stockton and Darlington undertaking by Home railway workers, and the Christchurch-Lyttelton line by transportation folk throughout New Zealand.