The Tramway of Pithiviers to Toury
At the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1889, Paul Decauville transported visitors from the Invalides to the Champs de Mars using small steam locomotives and open coaches. All placed on the "portable" track with small spacing (60cm). This portable track system will find great success in industrial, agricultural and mining operations, for example. The principle of the portable track is to be able to easily assemble a network like today's miniature trains where it is enough to assemble track coupons, this system is the same. The so-called "portable" or "Decauville way" will unfortunately be famous for its military use, especially during the First World War where it served to supply the front and was dismantled then reassembled further to follow the advance of the battlefields.
It was in 1892 that a line connecting Pithiviers to Toury was built, for a length of just over 30km. The Pithiviers to Toury Tramway (TPT) was born! Note that the name tram is slightly different from the current name, the word tram was given to railways located by the roadside. In fact, the TPT line was on almost the entire route, placed on the side of the road.
The primary purpose of this line was to transport passengers between the two cities. It will be provided at the start by six Decauville "AB" coaches cars. Later, railcars will take over (see the preserved element: Crochat AT1). However, the company became aware of the potential for the transportation of beets between the Pithiviers and Toury sugar factories, which will become the main activity of the network. Several branches were present on the line so that farms could load their beets on the train to take them to one of the two sugar factories. The largest convoys transported up to 250 tonnes of beets.
The arrival of the automobile and later of the transport by truck will put an end to the passenger service in 1952 and to the goods traffic in December 1964 . Special trains will be organized by enthusiasts to bring the special atmosphere of this railway, so precious to them, back to life for the last time.
From TPT to AMTP
In 1966, the Association of the Transports Museum of Pithiviers (AMTP) was born to preserve part of the heritage of the secondary railways, without forgetting the TPT. Thanks to the Federation of Friends of Secondary Railways (FACS) and the Association of the Museum of Urban, Interurban and Rural Transport (AMTUIR) the General Council of Loiret, then owner of the equipment and the line, will give its agreement for the opening of the museum. Two steam locomotives, the Crochat AT1 railcar and wagons will be sold to the association, which will allow tourism to start.
The inauguration of the Pithiviers Transport Museum took place on April 23, 1966. The locomotive in charge of the inaugural train (3-5 Blanc-Misseron) had run on the TPT until the closure. The passenger cars designed on chassis of freight wagons are an evocation of the Decauville "KE" open coaches, notably present on the Royan seaside tramway. At that time, the train was terminating on the old Ormes siding, located 3.2 km from the museum. It was not until 1971 to extend the line to the current Bellebat terminus, thus adding 800 m of route.
The Bellebat site is not part of the network, since it is a former military training ground, with a station rebuilt from the ground up in "Sologne" style from the old Loiret Tramways. The original buildings will be preserved: the wagon painting workshop has been converted into a station counter; the wagon repair workshop in the museum; the store and the carpentry workshop where the volunteers live. The shed has kept its original function: it houses the machines and allows the maintenance and restoration of museum equipment.
Over the years, the collection has been enriched with new materials from France or abroad. Our association takes its name from "Museum of Transport" because in addition to trains, visitors could see trams and buses, today preserved by other associations.
Today, we continue to bring this story to life by expanding our collection.