Volunteers needed to help on historic Belgian rail line

Are you a train buff with a bit of time on your hands perhaps?

If so, then the team of volunteers who run Le Chemin de Fer du Bocq, a scenic railway in the Ardennes, would dearly like to hear from you.

The not-for-profit organisation behind the service regularly runs tram cars and diesel trains, dating from the 1950s, along the scenic Bocq valley, which has been described with good reason as the “most spectacular” rail line in Belgium.

Regular passenger services ceased in the 1960s, but the line has been lovingly restored by a willing and hard working group of volunteers and will be open for visitors in July and August. There is still a 5km stretch to restore, however, and, as the association that runs the operation receives no subsidies of any kind donations are welcomed.

The Bocq Railway is also looking for volunteers to help carry out various projects connected to the service - and no experience is needed.

If you want to support their efforts action or maybe participate in the work of the association in some capacity, two possibilities are available:

- Moral and financial support through a subscription to their magazine “En Lignes” and/or

- Actively participate as a volunteer in the activities of the association.

It will also be possible to make a cash donation – of whatever size - to the association.

For those unfamiliar with it, the Bocq Railway is a tourist train that really does take you back in time to discover the old “Luxembourg line” between Ciney and Purnode (Yvoir).

Managed and preserved with passion by the volunteers of the Association Patrimoine Ferroviaire et Tourisme since 1992,visitors get the chance to traverse this picturesque line of the province of Namur, built from 1890 to 1907, while also enjoy the beauty of the lovely Bocq valley.

Services operate during the summer and you will get the chance to visit one of the most impressive lines in Belgium with no less than three tunnels and five viaducts, all passing through pleasant landscapes and rolling countryside.

The current team of exceptionally energetic and willing volunteers (who come from all over Belgium, not just Wallonia) who keep this visitor attraction going merit a lot of encouragement and praise.

They are particularly passionate people who give of their time free of charge and, clearly, love what they do.

It is thanks to their efforts that the line was put back into service.

From Ciney , the route follows the famous “Luxembourg line” as far as Braibant. Further on, it leaves the plateau of Condroz and plunges into the valley of the Bocq, a tributary of the Meuse, by a steep slope and an impressive trench.

At Spontin, where there is a converted station, two old Mitropas cars serve as reception point.

A visit here makes for a lovely day out, particularly during thee summer, and it is only a relatively short car drive from Brussels.

But, for those willing and able there is also the chance to play a role – as a volunteer or donor – to maintaining part of the country’s heritage.

Further info from www.cfbocq.be

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today. 

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

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