Originally constructed to serve the four miles between St. Denis
Les-Martel and Martel, the 'Truffadou' Line first opened in 1889.
The railway proved to be an almost immediate success, and in
particular it managed to acquire a lot of the freight loads from
this stretch of the Dordogne. In spite of the line's apparent
popularity, the tracks had to be lifted in 1917 to help the Allied
forces with their First World War effort. The railway was almost
completely dismantled by American forces, who then helped to
reconstruct the line on the conclusion of the war late the
In many ways, the railway's finest hour was yet to come. Having to rebuild its infrastructure and traffic levels, the line then managed to secure a monopoly on transporting truffles from Martel's Market, one of the most important in France during the inter-war years. This gave the railway the nickname that has stuck with it to this day.
The 'Truffadou' Line continued to run services for decades afterwards, though traffic steadily declined as the 20th century wore on. The final scheduled services ran in 1980, and the line was closed later that year. Yet many locals were determined that the railway would prove to be a popular tourist attraction, and in 1991 the preservation society set to work on restoring the line to working conditions. After a lot of persistence and dedication, the first heritage train ran along the line in 1997. Today the volunteer-operated line continues to delight tourists, and remains one of the very few heritage lines to run at its complete original length.