Artouste Train, Laruns, Aquitaine, France 

The Petit train d’Artouste is a narrow gauge tourist railway situated in the French Pyrenees close to the Spanish border, some 55 km south of the town of Pau, and within the commune of Laruns. The line runs high above the headwaters of the Gave d’Ossau, and provides access to the Lac d’Artouste, a semi-artificial lake in the mountains at an altitude of over 2,000 m.

The line was originally constructed for the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Midi (CFM), the then main line railway operator in the area to the north of the Pyrenees. As part of a program of electrifying these lines, the CFM constructed a series of hydro-electric power stations in the valley of the Ossau between the years 1920 and 1932. Significant civil engineering works were required in order to provide access to these works, and included the line now used by the petit train. Once this work was finished, the CFM recognised the tourist potential of the line, and the first tourist trains were run.

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