The birth of the PLM
The “Compagnie de chemin de fer de Paris a Lyon et a la Mediterranee” (PLM) owns the majority of the six main French lines, including the famous “ligne Imperiale”.
This line got its name from the period in which it was created (the Second Empire) and from the prestigious trains that use it: The Orient-Express, the Paris-Rome, La Malle des Indes and the “Blue Train”.
The Migennes-Laroche station
Put into service in 1849, the train station was called “LAROCHE (yonne)” up until 1918. Afterwards it was named “Laroche-Migennes”. For a long time this station was called a general stop: a stop for all trains to stop and refuel with water in 5 minutes and to change driver, etc...
Many professional groups benefited from the development of this station, including the peddlers authorized by the PLM, and between the tracks was situated the Buffet de la Gare.
A book called “de la vapeur au TGV, 140 ans du chemin de fer dans l’yonne” is available at the Tourist Office
The Tacot bridge (1887-1951)
(The old Serein valley train line that connected Laroche-Migennes to L’Isle-Angley).
The train line that transported travellers, owes its longevity to the transport of goods: cement from L’Isle Angely, stones from the quarries of Massangis, mining and heating wood from the forestry installations of Noyers-sur-Serein and wines from Chablis. This freight was then transhipped in the barges on the Migennes riverways to Paris or Le Havre.
The Tacot bridge, has now been converted into the ideal location for walks.
The turntable, that is used for the locomotives, along with the referral station is the most specific railway building. It is comprised of a group of tracks situated on a circular turntable. Depending on the needs, only a portion of the tracks are used forming a fan shape.
In Migennes, in 1876, the depot project decided to build the first 30 track turntable (the “Eastern Turntable”) with a diameter of 80m, which could accommodate 48 trains. It was inaugurated in 1880. The form of the site changed completely: offices, guards, shops, lamp workshops, lifting platforms, loading zones for coal, repair workshops and pits were added to the turntable.
The project on the 24th March 1920, led to the construction of a second turntable West of the existing one (the “Western Turntable” or the “Central Turntable”), comprising of 45 tracks that are connected via the lifting platform; then a 3rd semi-circular partially covered turntable was built. This turntable, in the shape of a crescent moon, is comprised of 32 tracks suitable for 23 engines. It is the only one that survived the bombing in July 1944. A hangar for the engines called “de Pompadour” is attached to the East of the strategic link. The large coal reserve with coal screening and a locomotive loading system completed the new design. It’s a vast railway dedicated to the steam locomotives which are mainly kept at the depot in Laroche, the Pacific 231 as head of the fast trains and the Mountain 241 at the head of the heavy freight trains.
In Migennes, there is only the Crescent moon shaped turntable (made of concrete). At the time of the three turntables it was called the “le Parc”. It was used to store the foreign express trains in Laroche depot.
To find out more, take a look at these articles in the Tourist Office: “Chroniques Migennoises” 1st and 2nd by George Ribeill, “le parler du cheminot” by Alain Vincent
Favourite : The railway city, a city within a city
The railway city represents everything the railway company envisaged, especially the PLM. For the director Noblemaire (the promoter for the “grande famille PLM”), it is a question of meeting all the needs of the households that lived in the so-called City. The city was very helpful in terms of integration for newcomers to the railroad industry. The PLM gradually built an apprenticeship center and a work center led by the members of the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Brotherhood, which included a private school, a health department, a home economics school, a teaching center and a chapel. The company gradually developed a real small town with its own educational network and a commercial distribution network (PLM Cooperative)