Train of Abreschviller – Journey in the small forest steam train


The train of Abreschviller, here is an idea of a nice activity to do with the family which is located in our Lorraine neighbors, only 30 km from the border with Alsace. We are here in the Country of Sarrebourg in Moselle. The steam train allows a nice trip back in time by discovering what was one of the most important forest railroads in Europe.

Laurène is the blog's creator. Originally from Brittany but now living in Alsace, she has fallen in love with her adopted region and loves exploring its every nook and cranny to unearth great ideas to share with you!

History of the forestry train of Abreschviller

The construction of the Abreschviller forestry railroad dates back to 1884, when Alsace-Moselle was German, and meets the need toexploit the forests of the Donon Massif. These areas were previously little exploited because of the scarcity of communication routes to transport the felled wood: the decision was then taken to build a railroad instead of roads.

The first steam trains were put into circulation in 1892 and the railroads were extended and used until 1966. Both the tracks and the trains were worn out and would have required huge investments to restore them to good condition: it was therefore decided to abandon this railway for logging.

However, the option was quickly taken to keep a part of the line, the 6 km linking Abreschviller to Grand Soldat, to create a tourist train, which was done in 1968. Since then, locomotives and cars have been purchased and restored and stations built at the departure and terminus. A beautiful story for this train which allows to discover a part of the past of the massif!

Let’s go for a steam train ride!

The departure is from the forest train station in Abreschviller and the arrival is at the place called Grand Soldat, 6km away. The total activity lasts 1h30: about 30 minutes to go, 30 minutes break at Grand Soldat and 30 minutes back.

The train runs at about 15km/h in the forest along the Red Saar. With the sound of the steam locomotive, you quickly feel transported to another era! The railroad track goes through the forest, it’s really a beautiful walk.

The break at Grand Soldat then leaves (ample) time to watch a small film on a screen installed in an old sawmill, which explains the logging of the massif at the time, and to observe the maneuvers of the locomotive. I have to say that I found this break both a little long (the visit of the sawmill is quickly done) and a little short since it doesn’t leave time to really go for a walk in the surroundings. It’s a pity because there are apparently nice hiking trails marked by the Club Vosgien in the forest.

Another option is to take a one-way trip and hike back. That’s what I wanted to do at first but it was raining quite a bit when I went. So I gave up and I didn’t regret it because I would have found it quicker to do only the one-way trip by train. This steam train ride has a lot of charm, so enjoying it for 1 hour is not too much!

The different trains of Abreschviller

Please note that the locomotives may not be steam-powered, but diesel-powered. This is the case if you come in the morning. If you really want to be sure, I think it’s best to call and ask for confirmation!

On certain dates, there are also thematic trains with special animations: what to spend an even more special moment with the children! Visit the train’s Facebook page for more information.

  • Very nice railroad in the heart of the Donon forest
  • Charm of the steam train
  • Top activity with children
  • Thematic trains and animations
  • Website not very clear to understand when the different trains (steam, diesel and thematic) run and to book them

My pictures of the little steam train of Abreschviller