On Facebook, a volunteer from Train 1900, Albert Wolter, discovered a photo taken on the Petange – Fond-de-Gras railway line. Taken by the Nero family, the photograph shows the house built near level crossing 37, which has since disappeared. Albert met with the family to learn details about the context, location, and local life.
Each level crossing (intersection between railway and roadways) at that time required supervision and thus a shelter for the personnel. The Petange – Fond-de-Gras line was a sparsely used industrial line (in 1955, 7 round trips per day), and the level crossing quickly became unattended. It was equipped with the required road signage (St. Andrew’s cross and a chain blocking the way). Normally, houses at inactive level crossings were rented to railroad employees.
Due to the heavily deteriorated condition and the location deep in the forest, nobody was interested. The small house was then rented to local residents. Until 1950, a family with four children lived there, and then the Nero-Mentz family for 7 years from 1951 to 1958. This house had no toilets, plumbing, and insufficient water pressure. The family renovated the house themselves: the facade, roof, gutters, and the interior. The house had four rooms: on the ground floor, the kitchen and the living room, and upstairs, accessible by a very steep staircase, two bedrooms. Railway safety required the entrance to be at the rear of the house.
The house was on the route of many miners going to work. Since Mrs. Nero was quite well-known, the miners did not refuse a good “Drëpp” (liquor) on their way. The same applied to maintenance and locomotive personnel. In exchange, the couple occasionally received a locomotive brick. Unfortunately, this did not suit the stove, which overheated and clogged the pipes.
In 1958, the Nero family vacated the house as they found accommodation in the center of Lamadelaine. After them, one last family occupied the house, and then the house was partially demolished to recover materials but also fell victim to vandalism. Today, only a few stones and a piece of wall about one meter high remain.
To read the full article (in French), click on this link: PN37 barrière AW.