Online Booking
Online Booking

Le Train de La Rhune

Col de Saint-Ignace
64310 SARE (France)
Tel. + 33 559 542 026
Fax. + 33 559 47 50 76
All about the train History


1859: The Empress Eugenie de Montijo’s climb to the summit. A granite obelisk was erected to commemorate this event.

1908: The idea came about to build a railway.

1912: Works began.
1913: A public limited company for the Basque Railway, the Société Anonyme des Chemins de Fer Basques, was set up
1914: It took on the name of VFDM (Voies Ferrées Départementales du Midi).
1914: The First World War broke out – with tracks laid down up to Trois Fontaines – with no power supply. The works were suspended until 1919.

1919-1924: The works resumed activity: rapid construction, since there was no road structure.
7 January 1924: Accident during construction. The cogwheel on the steam locomotive came off the rack. It rolled down 100m and derailed.
25 April 1924: Inauguration of the 1st section (Trois Fontaines).
30 June 1924: Inauguration of the line up to the summit.

1930: Reforestation, 40 000 tree seedlings were planted, of 15 varieties.
1935: The train stopped operation during the winter.
1939-1945: Second World War: The soldiers occupied the land. Smugglers enabled the French to go across the Spanish border.
Weather radar equipment was set up at the summit. Tourist activity started up again.

1958: Due to the great affluence of cars, a car park was set up.

1960: The French national broadcasting company (ORTF) used La Rhune to relay television broadcasts for channel 1.
1966: An emitter – channel 2. The ORTF set up the emitter inside the former Imperator Hotel
1967: VFDM (Voies Ferrées du Midi) had a waiting room built as well as a pathway up to the summit of La Rhune.
1968: The ORTF erected a new building and a 60-metre TV mast.

1980: The French slope was listed as a "classified site".
1981: A 3rd train was brought into service.
1989: The SHEM (Société Hydroélectrique du Midi) became the concession holder.

1995: CFTA became the operator, with an 18-year contract.
1996: A 4th train was brought into service.
1998: More than 350 000 visitors took the “Petit Train”.
La Rhune became the most popular tourist attraction in the region!
1999: The “Petit Train de la Rhune” celebrated its 75th anniversary.

2003: The La Rhune Massif was given ecological recognition in collaboration with the LPO (Bird Protection League); la Rhune, Basque Mountain.
2004: The “Petit Train de la Rhune” celebrated its 80th anniversary.
2006/2007: An exhibition was devoted to rack railway technology.