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the Little Yellow Train
Starting point at Villefranche de Conflent, in the eastern
50 km inland from Perpignan.
In the Roussillon part of the Languedoc
900 km by road .
Perpignan, 50 km
: Villefranche-de-Conflent (Vernet les
bains). (Mainline connection).
access from Paris
: TGV train to Perpignan, then connecting
local train service.
► Tickets and booking:
Though a historic scenic railway, The Little Yellow Train,is part of
the French state rail network, run by the French train operator SNCF.
Consequently, tickets come at standard French train rates, and can be
booked online through the normal websites.
key in Villefranche
Vern as your
departure point if you wish to leave from the main departure station,
as Villefranche-de-Conflent – Vernet les Bains.
Book Yellow Train tickets
About-France.com recommends Trainline.com ... but read this first.
The most popular trips are to start from Villefranche-Vernet
and travel to one of the highest stations at Mont Louis
, a bit further to Bourg Madame
or through to the end of the line
SPECIAL PRICES !!
Train tickets are on special offer at the start of 2022 at just 5 € per
€ return) AND they can now be booked normally in English, with the
discount, on the Trainline website. For the full route use
Villeneuve-Vernet-les-bains as departure station, and Latour de Carol
Note that there are
no reserved seats
on the Yellow Train. Your ticket is valid on the date for which you
purchased it. You are advised to get to the departure station half an
hour before the train leaves, to ensure a good seat.
About-France.com is an affiliate partner of Trainline and may receive a
small commission on ticket sales. This does not affect ticket prices
which are fixed by the train operator.
tickets for France
►Trainline.com French train
Best rates, no extra fee,
worldwide for print-your-own tickets or e-tickets.
.. As the line is part of the SNCF network, it is also possible to book
through ticket from, for example, Perpignan or Toulouse.
Both ends of the line can be reached by standard-gauge train, the lower
end by electric train from Perpignan, the
higher end both by Spanish Railways (RENFE) line from Barcelona and
Ripoll, and by SNCF trains from Toulouse and Foix.
For rail enthusiasts
A great do-it-yourself rail tour.... Villefranche-Vernet to
Latour de Carol: then to Barcelona (with possible extension to the
Spanish railway museum at Vilanova i la Geltrú), back to Perpignan by
the coastal line or by TGV, and on back to Villefranche-Vernet.
Two countries, three gauges, and spectacular
scenery all the way.
to Barcelona: Catalonia
R3. Five trains a day... buy at the
station, as for many local services in Spain and France. Barcelona to
Port Bou (connect to French trains): Rail service R11
Tickets not available online.
summer and at weekends, it is strongly advisable to book in advance, as
the trains can easily be full. At other times, booking may not be
essential, but remains advisable since all it needs is a couple of tour
buses, and all the available places in any given train can easily sell
out. The best time to go is in Sping or in September or
many trains travel half empty, specially on weekdays.
Little Yellow Train runs from Villefranche de Conflent, 50 km from
Perpignan, to Latour de Carol, well up in the Pyrenees
Spanish town of Puigcerda.
The most spectacular part of the route is the section from the start
at Villefranche, up as far as the small town and ski-resort area of
Odeillo – Font-Romeu. Hugging the sides of the deep valley of
the line winds up between forests, chasms and gushing streams. From the
start up as far Mont Louis, near the summit, passengers are treated to
spectacular views of the rocky mountainous scenery, including villages,
two historic fortresses, and a precariously perched old hermitage.
The line, which was begun in 1903, is a spectacular feat of civil
engineering, and apart from the dozens of mostly short tunnels, it
many bridges and small viaducts, plus two remarkable viaducts spanning
wider valleys. These include the remarkable Pont Gisclard, or Pont de
Cassagne, which is the only railway suspension bridge in France.
After Mont Louis, the line continues to rise for a kilometre or so,
before reaching a broad high valley, which it skirts along for seven
kilometres as far as the station at Font-Romeu– Odeillo.
From here, it then descends some 300 metres down to a high valley on
the Spanish border, and the frontier town of Bourg Madame. The station
at Bourg Madame is just a few hundred metres from the Spanish border,
and it is easy to walk to the old Spanish town of Puigcerda.
The line terminates a few kilometres further on, at the small town of
Latour de Carol, where it connects with the French railway
from Toulouse, and the RENFE Spanish line from Barcelona.
walled city; a UNESCO world heritage site. The entire old city, crammed
into the narrow valley floor, is circled by walls which were
strengthened and fortified by the great military architect Vauban in
the 17th century, after the area passed from Spanish to French
Fort Liberia, another Vauban fortification, perched on the mountainside
above the town.
6 km. Vernet les Bains, an attractive small old town, up a side valley;
starting point for routes and trails to le Canigou, the emblematic
mountain of the Eastern Pyrenees.
► Mont Louis
Another Vauban fortified town and UNESCO world heritage site. Smaller
and less impressive than Villefranche de Conflent
► Odeillo – Font-Romeu
is a small Pyrenean mountain village, best known nowadays as the home
of one of the world's very first solar power stations.
Opened in 1970, the solar power station was one of the first
serious renewable energy plants. Run by the French National Research
Centre CNRS, the “Four
Solaire" is within easy walking distance of the station.
The villages of Odeillo and Via can be reached on foot from the station.
is one of the more popular ski resorts in the Pyrenees.
a hiking trail (sentier de randonnée) leaves from the
village of Via,
just below the Odeillo train station; it is an easy 9km hike
to the station at Cabanasse – Mont Louis.
Small and not particularly interesting town; but it is only a kilometre
or so on foot from the station at Bourg Madame to the historic centre
of the Spanish town of Puigcerda
Travellers coming up on a morning train and back on an afternoon train
have time for a quick trip into Spain.
interest to rail buffs; the station at Latour de Carol is the only
station in Europe, possibly in the world, to serve three different
"normal" railway lines operating with three different gauges*.
The metre-gauge Train Jaune, the European standard gauge SNCF
line to Toulouse, and the Spanish broad-gauge line to Barcelona.
The station at Montreux in Switzerland also has three gauges, but these
include special rack-and-pinion tracks).
© About-France.com 2007 - 2022 except where otherwise stated.
Little Yellow Train
of the Pyrenees is one of the great railway journeys of the world
metre-gauge electric railway in the French Pyrenees, opened in 1909,
and still going strong. The line rises through dramatic scenery from an
altitude of 427 metres
at its lower terminus at Villefranche de Conflent, to a summit at
Bolquère Eyne, France’s highest railway station,
lying at an altitude
of 1592 metres (5226 ft) above sea level. It then drops down to a high
Pyrenean valley, to its terminus at Latour de Carol.
Pont Gisclard - rail
The Yellow Train is located at the yellow circle at the foot of the map.
The closest hotels to the main departure point are at Vernet les Bains,
km from the station at Villefranche.
Click hotel names for online booking and more details.
. A good quality three star hotel with restaurant.
on the line:
Cabanasse-Mont Victor: Hotel
Les Mélèzes - family hotel
located 200m from the
Auberge la Chouette – hotel and restaurant in a village
metres from the station. Online booking only for week-long stays.
: For a night in Spain, but just a kilometer from Bourg Madame
station, the Hotel
del Prado on the edge of Puigcerda gets lots of good reviews
in the area
a choice of more hotels in the vicinity of the Yellow Train
Check out a choice of cottages
and gites in Languedoc-Roussillon
: 62.6 km, almost 39 miles.
Electric 850v DC third rail.
Electric train units
seven out of ten of the original units are still operating.
are also two modern panoramic multiple units, built by Stadler in 2004;
these have air-conditioning, toilets and electric doors.
three independent braking systems on each axel
One of the 2004
air-conditioned Stadler units.
Approaching the summit
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and photos on this website
© About-France.com renewed 2022 except where
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except view of
Villefranche de Conflent: GNU licenced photo by Balakao