The Aubrac Train: A Journey Between The Massif Central And The Mediterranean
The Train de l'Aubrac, which links Clermont-Ferrand to Béziers, was reopened in November 2021, after 9 months of work. This railway line crosses the Massif Central at low speed and allows to pass from the snowy plateaus to the shores of the Mediterranean.
A crossing of the Massif Central
The Train de l'Aubrac that connects Clermont-Ferrand to Béziers via Neussargues is not a very profitable rail line...
But it is unquestionably one of the most picturesque in the region. It crosses no less than six departments, straddling the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Occitanie regions.
This train, also called Train des Causses, connects the Auvergne country to the Languedoc south by piercing the Massif Central. It well deserves its name since it crosses the causses on the borders of Aveyron and Lozère.
This Intercity train climbs passes without faltering, sometimes at an altitude of more than 1000 meters, before descending into the valleys.
A picturesque and winding journey
The Aubrac line is unique in that it follows a very winding route with nearly 80% curves.
This tortuous route does not allow trains to travel at more than 55 km/hour. Taking the Train de l'Aubrac is therefore to experience a train journey like in the old days or a form of slow rail tourism!
You don't have to be in a hurry, since the total travel time is more than 6 hours between Béziers and Clermont-Ferrand. But this Intercity train offers a picturesque and economical alternative to the TGV to get to the Mediterranean coast.
An extraordinary journey
Taking the Train de l'Aubrac is not at all like an ordinary, fast TGV trip. Quite the contrary, this train that crosses the Massif Central at low speed allows you to rediscover very varied landscapes.
This line is dotted with exceptional engineering structures, the most famous of which is the Garabit Viaduct. This viaduct located near Saint-Flour is the work of Gustave Eiffel :
The line, also used for freight from the ArcelorMittal plant in Saint-Chély-d'Apcher, is a nugget to be discovered by tourists staying in the area.
The train runs along the Aubrac plateau and the Margeride, through the Causse de Sauveterre and Larzac, and past Millau and Bédarieux before reaching the Languedoc coast.
The railway line winds over 277 km and serves the following communes in particular:
- Neussargues en Pinatelle
- Marvejols, former royal city and capital of Gévaudan under the reign of Henri IV
- Millau whose historical and natural heritage is not limited to the famous Millau viaduct
- Bédarieux, a charming town located in the Haut-Languedoc regional natural park, about 30 km north of Béziers
A line with an uncertain future
The Train de l'Aubrac is a historic line whose equipment is sometimes out of date. It must be said that the line was opened in 1888 and electrified in 1932.
Many elected officials of the Massif Central have mobilized to save this railroad line and its only daily round trip.
The maintenance of this train is indeed vital for the inhabitants, in particular for freight and school transport. Even if the Causses line is not profitable, it contributes to the service of the Massif Central and its opening up.
A long-term program is planned between the State and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Occitanie regions to renovate this line as well as its Cevennes cousin.