The story of "Le Meusien": The decline

War indemnities

Curiously, when the Meusienne Company recovered its network, she asked the Army to restore it in its pre-1914 state. Exit the improvements made by the military! In fact, in concert with the General Council of the Meuse, it had a fundamentally financial purpose: to make the most of the war indemnities owed to it ...

A real jackpot! It was a very plump sum: 12,773,000 Francs (equipment rental and toll). She even claimed she would have done as well as the Army with her 15 "small" locomotives and 300 cars.
L'équipe chargé de démolition du Meusien en 1942

The team responsible for the demolition of Meusien in 1942

The end of the network
And this without strengthening its network! The state did not hear it that way. After endless discussions, the General Council and the Company obtained 1,748,715 Francs in war damage, which they divided. All these negotiations were of the worst kind and, when the Government had to recognize the merits of the various means of transport made available to the fortified town of Verdun, the role of the Meusien was totally obscured ...


But never mind ! The department of the Meuse was bloodless and had to rebuild many villages. The railway of the Compagnie Meusienne and the line of the Woëvre were solicited to convey the materials necessary for this immense task which was accomplished until 1924-1925.

But the galloping inflation that prevailed then weighed down the efforts of the Company to restore an equilibrium of accounts. To try to reduce the deficit and limit operating costs, the department imposed the merger of the Compagnie Meusienne and the SGCFE, operating the line Woëvre, which was done from June 1, 1923. The Meusien had lived!

Un camion Latil restauré

The new company acquired more modern equipment, especially railcars, which could be seen running for some time between Montmédy and Bar-le-Duc. On the other hand, the competition of the automobile became rough: the trucks, in particular, which had proven their reliability on the Sacred Way were used with efficiency in our campaigns ...

The end of the network

From 1927, lines stopped all traffic or only ensured the transport of freight, despite the relentlessness of the General Council to defend its network.
But in 1936, the ax fell! All lines were closed to all traffic. Or still lives, here or there, especially on the line of Woëvre, some circulations for special needs until June 20, 1938. Then nothing! The liquidation of the property of the Meusian network was not completed when the Second World War came in 1939.

It was not until 1946 to see the complete decommissioning of the network ... In the meantime, the Germans had been using the rails for Russia or the Channel coast to build the Atlantic Wall.


- Written by Jean Boucheré -


Discover part 1 and 2

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Before the War

The War

The decline

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