The Seagull Train set a new attendance record in 2023 with more than 47,000 visitors recorded compared to 45,000 last year. To support this momentum, the departmental council of Charente-Maritime has decided to grant an envelope of 10 million euros to renovate the 21 kilometers of railway tracks used by this tourist train operated between Saujon and La Tremblade.
“The infrastructure is worn out, tired. Previously, we were driving at 35 km/h. But the speed has been lowered to 10 or 20 km/h. After work, we will be able to return to normal operating speed for a journey time of one hour,” explains Pierre Verger, president of the Trains & Traction ociation at the helm of the Train des mouettes, one of the most popular attractions. most popular in the department.
Start of work in February 2024
The current rails and sleepers date from… 1876, the date on which this railway line was completed. “Everything will be changed, including the ballast,” rejoices Pierre Verger, who intends to favor the reuse of second-hand equipment. This project will last 6 years, between two tourist seasons.
The first phase will begin in February 2024 with the repair of 400 meters of track directly at the exit from Saujon station. “This is the place where the infrastructure is the most damaged,” underlines Pierre Verger. At the same time, the Train des Mouettes will also see its route increased by 260 meters at La Tremblade. This addition will allow it to stop its machines directly in the Tremblade marina and near the harbor master’s office which is itself… a former train station. This project will begin in the fall of 2024 and be completed in the summer of 2025 and represents a budget of 1.7 million euros.