The beautiful bay of the Somme in Picardy is famed for it’s picturesque harbours, miles of salt marshes populated by sheep, the genteel towns and villages with their authentic and timeless shops, bars and restaurants and ancient and historic sites.
The beautiful scenery can be enjoyed by bike, on foot, even by boat around the bay but for a very special view you can take the “sea-bathers railway” (Réseau des Bains de Mer). The route commenced in 1887 and was resurrected in 1971 and nowadays the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme (CFBS) operates these beautiful steam trains. The steam trains run on the scenic route of the Somme Bay, recognised as one of the most beautiful bays in the world, from March to September and for special journeys in November and December for the Father Christmas steam train.
These truly authentic steam trains, lovingly restored and preserved, travel between the towns and villages of Le Crotoy, Noyelles-sur-Mer, Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and Cayeux-sur-Mer in the region of Picardy, northern France.
Running beside streams bordered with willows, crossing fields and marshes, the rural charms of the Baie de Somme can be admired in all their glory from a seat on board one of the magnificent locomotives.
There are a number of theme days throughout the year – dinner on board, station festival at Cayeux-sur-Mer, Heritage days including visits to the workshop and engine room and a whole host more special events.
There are exclusive initiatives such as the day trips for visitors from Paris and Amiens by train – connecting with steam trains at Noyelles-sur-Mer at certain weekends. See site for more details and discounted fares.
For day-trippers to Calais and Boulogne, some train times are arranged especially to support the ‘Trains to the Sea ‘scheme to enable day-trippers to visit to Saint-Valery-sur-Somme and Cayeux-sur-Mer , thanks to connections Between CFBS and Intercity and TER trains.
Hire a private Steam Train
The Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme offers the opportunity to hire a steam train for private events. Meetings rooms, prestigious saloon coach, dinner on board – the visits can be customised accordingly; even a visit to the train workshop could be arranged. Details from the site about costs and which trains are available (steam or diesel).
The Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme website has details of all times, ticket costs, journeys, theme days and lots more information.
Fête de la Vapeur – The Festival of Steam
One of the most popular events the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme runs is the Festival of Steam – Fête de la Vapeur at Noyelles-sur-Mer.
This event, held only every three years, draws visitors from near and far, steam train fans of all ages. It is a rare chance to see the magnificent locomotives of the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme together with more specialist trains.
Trains will be on site, running on the route around the bay and carrying passengers. Loaned from museums and collections around France, including an old Paris Metro train from the early 20th Century which will run, to trains from the UK loaned especially for the weekend.
Taking place on April 27-28th tickets can be booked via the website for the Fete du Vapeur. Access to all trains at the weekend for an adult costs just €20. We’d advise that hotels should be booked in advanced in the immediate area as this is a very popular festival and accommodation gets very booked up.