1973 ... 2008

The CFV3V celebrates his 35 years ...

On the occasion of its 35th anniversary, the CFV3V sells a car limited edition, produced by Märklin.

It is a refrigerator car of the park "Interfrigo" of the Deutsche Bundesbahn, type Ichqs-u, dating from the end of the '60s ...

See more ...

(Both sides of the car are different)




Once upon a time ... ...

This is the way the best stories of our childhood begin.

In 1973, a group of people who were in love with de steamtrain railways wanted to revive this means of transportation that was disappeared for 7 years already.

Today, this dream is shared by more than 150 other people!

It has been a long way...

Birth of CFV3V
« Chemin de Fer à Vapeur des 3 Vallées » (Steamtrain of the Three valleys)

In the beautifull scenes of The Three Valleys, there were a bunch of collectors, that realised a crazy dream to revive there passion for steamtrains in real live scale!

The nonprofit association "Three Valleys Steamtrain" was born out of a crazy idea and the oppurtunity taken by the first president, Mr. Michel Pâques.

In 1972, when Mr. Michel Pâques was still eingine-driver with the SNCB, he was at the station of South Charleroi in a train waiting to leave for Brussels. While waiting the departure, he was talking to a railway service man. First they talked about the service of the train and then started talking about other things. That's when he heard that an old steamtrain from the coalmines of Pêchon in Couillet, was to be send to an old iron monger.

The opportunity.

Passionate by the railways as he was, he knew that this might be the opportunity he was waiting for to realise a dream that seamed impossible till now.

The next day, he took contact with Jean Ghislain, director of works at the coalmine and main batchelor Monceau Fontaine: Raoul Manfroid.

He explained that the locomotive was little more than once a fortnight and that other machines were perhaps intended for demolition .

Some time later, an appointment was made and Michel Pâques had the day of his life, when he got to drive the old engine. The engine-driver who used to drive the train told him all abaut it and let him in on all the secrets and history of the engine.

Now nothing could stop them anylonger. They had a few months of heavy negociations with the coalmines and the Belgian Railways which have welcomed them very friendly because of the presence of the "old ones" for wich the steamtrain railways represent a whole ancient period.


The research.

Now the parties had to find a place for the location that Michel Pâques wanted : revive for nostalgic reasons but also for the young. A railway for steamtrains on a normal track (1.435 m wide).

If this kind of attraction already excisted, they never made a real steamtrain in working order on normal tracks for tourists.

After a long search, and with the help of the Commisionary of Tourism and the Federation of Tourism for the Namur provence and a bunch of friends. Michel Pâques found a hangar for the machines.

After a study made by the SNCB, the final choise was made for the track Nismes – Treignes (who became later Mariembourg – Treignes), this is a beautifull track in the vallyes of the Viroin and is about 14km long.

With the voluntary help of there president and founder, a group of railway-people and railway-fans , finaly they made their dream come true. "Having a touristic steamtrain circuit in Belgium".


These volunteer members of the CFV3V, who are they?

Of course there are railway workers, former steam train drivers retired today, as well as more young Railroaders who have heard so much about steam that they finally want to know this mythical traction mode which was the source of the industrial revolution and the railways. But they are not alone, it is also a majority of members, railway enthusiasts, who want to give part of their leisure time to an actual operation. Without them all, nothing would be possible. Outside the CFV3V, these members are students, teachers, engineers, fitters, Turners, designers, employees, police, mechanics, dental technicians, pharmacists, musicians, bus drivers and same priests and notaries! Do not forget the number of wives who know how to get useful.

All are usefull according to their gifts and their aspirations, as the CFV3V needs everybody : mechanics and drivers of steam locomotives, drivers of railcars, diesel locomotivesl, maneuvers (to hang the cars and wagons, to assure the protection of crossings), guards and chief of the station, mechanics for the revision and maintenance of the steam locomotives or diesel engines, carpenters, electricians, painters, railwaycar bodyworkers, railway layers, piocheurs, pruners, bartenders and barwomen for the operation of the snack-bar, seller of souvenirs and we do forget certainly...

During the two years that followed the publication in the Moniteur Belge of the deed of incorporation of the association (December 20, 1973), the members of the association have worked in the obscure (for the public) but needed for the operation, as the deforestation of the line invaded by vegetation, removal of switches and rails and their reassembly in Mariembourg, the search for materials, the contacts and negotiations with the SNCB, the Federation of tourism of the province of Namur, the Commissariat général au Tourisme and the municipality administrations of the entities traversed by the line of the CFV3V.

It is on May 14, 1975 that an agreement between the SNCB and the CFV3V was signed granting  for a period of 15 years at the association of the Steam train of  the 3 valleys, the authority to operate a line for tourist purposes in the section Nismes - Treignes. An amendment to this agreement was signed early 1978 giving the CFV3V permission to operate the segment Mariembourg - Nismes (untapped by the SNCB since October 12, 1977). The CFV3V was then forced to build a platform for boarding in Mariembourg, close to its depot.

As you have read it before, the CFV3V took the legal status of a VZW (non-profit association). The management of this Association is entrusted to a Board of Directors composed of about fifteen people. Under the authority of a president (Mr Didier Mosseray), administrators share common management tasks. Administrators are active members of the association.

Active members are all volunteers and devote many hours of leisure to the CFV3V.