The Ligne de Cerdagne is better known as the Yellow Train (Le Train Jaune). It runs between Villefranche-de-Conflent and Latour-de-Carol-Enveitg in the French Pyrenees.
The train’s yellow and red colour is a symbol of the region of Catalonia. Originally constructed from 1903 to provide access to and from the Catalan mountain communities, it is now a great way to explore the stunning landscapes of the Pyrenees.
The construction of the Yellow Train involved 650 separate structures, including tunnels, suspension bridges and viaducts. The 39 mile (63 km) long track includes stops at 22 stations, including Bolquère-Eyne, at 1,593 metres (5,226 ft) the highest railway station in France.
Travelling at 34 miles (55 km) per hour, the train climbs from an altitude of 427 metres to 1,231 metres through a spectacular landscape that includes UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The drive from Le Fort Pouzols-Minervois to Villefranche-de-Conflent takes around 100 minutes (81 miles, 131 km). The Yellow Train is a major tourist attraction and carries over 400,000 passengers throughout the year.
There are likely to be queues, especially in summer. If you’re on a day trip, the only option is the 10am train. Arrive at least 30 minutes before departure to buy your ticket. For more information, visit www.TER-sncf.com.
The journey to and from the Yellow Train takes up 3-4 hours in total, so you may find that you can’t combine it with anything else. But Villefranche-de-Conflent, the starting point of the railway line, is very much worth a visit in itself.
Depending on the time of year and subject to changes in the time tables, you need to leave Le Fort Pouzols-Minervois by 8am at the latest to be in with a chance for the 10am train, the only one in summer that goes all the way up. The train back leave at 3.20pm and gets into Villefranche-de-Conflent at 6.30pm.