History of the line
The Saint-Omer – Boulogne line is 56 km long. It is a double track line up to Arques and single track beyond with a passing track in the stations of Blendecques, Wizernes, and Lumbres until 1916.
1837-1868: study of the Saint-Omer Boulogne sur Mer line
May 22, 1869: concession to the secondary company of the North-East Railways
September 15, 1871: declaration of public utility
February 1874: completion of the construction of the Lumbres and Wizernes stations
May 25, 1874: official inauguration of the line
June 1, 1874: commercial start of the line
September 1874: inauguration of Arques station
December 17, 1875: Treaty by which the Compagnie du Nord-Est entrusts the operation of the line to the Compagnie du Nord
November 20, 1883: final handover to the Compagnie du Nord
1894: construction of the Blendecques station
1916: construction of a second track to Lumbres. The Lumbres-Desvres section remains single track.
1937-1952: use of the line by omnibus trains
1953: omnibuses replaced by railcars
July 15, 1959: closure to passengers of the Saint-Omer section in Desvres
November 4, 1968: closure to travelers of the Desvres section in Boulogne
November 30, 1969: closure to freight trains of the Lottinghem to Lumbres section
Today, the Lumbres-Arques section is used to serve the Eqiom cement works in Lumbres and for the Tourist Train. The speed is limited to 40 km/h.
The Saint-Omer-Boulogne railway line, which in those days caused much ink to flow, had been studied in 1837. controversies.
Finally, it is the case to say, the project fell through. The Saint-Omer Boulogne railway line had been the subject of an investigation opened on April 28, 1855 at the Pas-de-Calais prefecture. It was recognized as being of strategic interest.
A Franco-English company represented by Mr. Westoby, British personality had been authorized by decision of October 3, 1864 to carry out a study of railway between Saint-Omer and Boulogne. It proposed to build this road without subsidy or guarantee from the State.
The studies took place, no observations having been made during the investigation. The parts and plan of the preliminary construction project. the reports of the control engineers and the minutes of the conferences held between the civil services and the military engineers were transmitted on September 16, 1865 to M.M. the ministers of agriculture, trade and public works. The declaration of public utility was never pronounced and we heard no more of the Westoby Company.
The project was taken over by the Compagnie du Nord and welcomed with great satisfaction in 1868, because all the factories and mills were obliged to pick up their raw materials at Saint-Omer station and for the shipment of their products. finished, it was the same. All the municipalities consulted gave a favorable opinion on the route and a wish was expressed that the project be classified among the priority files of the legislative body.
The line will be established provisionally with a single track, but the land acquired and the works of art have been designed to allow the construction of a second track which will not be carried out until 1916 by the British army as far as Lumbres. Between Lumbres and Nielles-les-Bléquin, the line always remained single track. The second track between Arques and Lumbres was dismantled in 1945.
According to a report from the Prefect to the General Council, an imperial decree of May 22, 1869 approved the agreement between the Ministers of Commerce, Agriculture and Public Works and the Compagnie du Nord.
The railway will have to connect Lumbres, Setques, Fersinghem, Esquerdes, to Hallines and cross the Aa between Hallines and Wizernes before continuing towards Blendecques, Arques and Saint-Omer. The mayors of Saint-Omer and Boulogne-sur-Mer requested an audience with the Emperor to discuss the interests at stake. Some personalities wanted to modify the route and have the line pass through Saint-Martin-au-Laërt, Moulle, Tournehem, Caffiers. The General Council was called upon to arbitrate. On March 30, 1870, the final concession for the line from Saint-Omer to Boulogne, which presented great difficulties, was completed as a field study. We are busy gathering the last information to submit the project to the government in the first days of April.
On June 8, 1870 Mr. Derbesse, municipal councilor of Saint-Omer, filed a counter-project, which provided for a route through Nielles-les-Bléquin Bayenghem-les-Seninghem, the imperial road n°42. Boulogne Saint-Omer and the construction of the Lumbres station opposite the Route d'Acquin. Then the way followed the road n°42 Until Setques, bifurquai