Thursday, 9 May 2013

Trip Report- 5-6th May 2013 France (Paris and Picardie)

Sunday 5th May

A Eurostar speeds along the LGV towards Lille.
A reasonably early start in the car to make a morning shuttle over from Folkestone to Calais arriving shortly before lunchtime.
The first port of call in France was the LGV near to Calais Frethun to photograph a few Eurostars- this activity was somewhat called short owing to a slight mishap with my friends camera- but not before a couple of shots were bagged!
We then drove south to cover the 'busy' Sunday afternoon period on the Boulogne line photographing all of the hauled trains between 15:00 and about 20:00. During the week the line is covered by just two locomotive diagrams, with three on a Saturday and four on a Sunday!
The four locos listed by the departures viewed from Boulogne on 5th May were:
15:12- 67606 (Multiservice)
16:04- 67438 (Multiservice)
17:04- 67455 (En Voyage)
19:04- 67484 (Blue)
BB67606 in 'Multiservice' livery with matching Corail stock forms the 15:12 Boulogne-Paris.
Narrow gauge steam on the Somme Bay Railway.
A bit of a climb was needed for this one! BB67484 in the old
blue livery is seen heading the 17:04 Boulogne Paris.
There are plenty of pleasing locations between Rang du Fliers (where the the wires stop) and Amiens and with good weather and a nice selection of locos it made for a very pleasing afternoon. There is still very little evidence of any electrification work south of Rang du Fliers- though the telegraph poles immediately south of Rang du Fliers have disappeared since last year. Many locations can be walked from stations- though with so few trains it would involve a lot of waiting around- driving allows all of the trains to be photographed with some time to travel to a new spot between each one.
A call was also made at Noyelles for the two steam services on the Somme Bay Railway which meet the Paris train at 18:00.

Overnight accommodation was the Holiday Inn at Amiens. I have used this hotel before, it is highly recommended- right next to the station, good breakfast (included) and very reasonably priced as well.

Monday 6th May

Today the car was in Amiens as we took the train down to Paris for the day.
Before doing so I had a quick run down to Longueau to score a couple of locos.
22233 on 08:14 Amiens- Paris
67523 on 07:01 Creil- Amiens
It seems 67523 has decided to be my pet loco- which I have now seen or had on every trip I have made to this region! I wouldn't mind if somebody would clean the graffiti off of it!

We picked up the 08:50 for Paris (which arrived ex Boulogne with 67606). 22229 doing the honors on to Paris- there seem to be a lot of BB22000 'ghosts' around. What a pleasure again to be travelling in the beautifully smooth and comfortable Corail coaches of the SNCF.

BB7600 (refurbished BB7200 locos) now work on Transillien
 line N out of Paris Montparnasse. These have largely
replaced the aging Z5300 EMU's.
Once in Paris we purchased a 5-zone 'Mobilis' day ticket and headed to Montparnasse in the hope of seeing some Z5300 before they are all gone. Arrived at Montparnasse to find it was now raining (and yes- I know it was lovely back home!) and headed out to St Cyr where we did not see any Z5300- clearly it must be too late to see them outside of the peaks.
Plenty of the usual BB27300's were in action and also noted were 'new' (ex-freight BB7200)  BB7600's 05,07,12,13.
One freight was seen with a trio of 27000's as well as a pair of light engine BB26000 Sybic's and some form or test train with 66408 and 66401.
Finally before leaving 8598 was seen passing on what must have been the 12:09 Montparnasse- Chartres.

BB17011 on a service from Mantes-le-Jolie to Paris St Lazare.
I headed on towards Mantes-la-Jolie with 27315 (20 mins late), changing at Epone Mezieres to take 27365 back down towards Poissy in order to have a go at the shot at Villenes Sur Seine. Eventually after several hours I got what I wanted (minus the anticipated sunshine) with BB17011 producing on a train- it was the only one out on the circuit to Mantes la Jolie via Poissy.
A few 15000's and a Sybic on passenger also seen, though many of these intercities trains are now units.
Also saw a pair of silver light engine Sybics and a light BB60000 in Fret colours.
17036 and 17100 were seen on a very quick dash through St Lazare. Interestingly there seem to be a reasonable number of BB17000 on VB2N double deck on this visit- Previously I can only remember seing them powering RIO sets.
A pleasing and unplanned shot of BB15008 on  in 'Grand Confort' livery at Villenes Sur Seine.
Next it was over to Paris Est as the last two 'real' CC72000's which have not been re-engined (72049 and 72084- the latter in it's original blue livery) had been working trains on the line to Belfort- fingers crossed one would show up!
Photographed a few trains at Val de Fontaney (the sun having finally made an appearance) before heading back into Est.
I got a call from my friend to say that 72084 (the one we really wanted) had indeed arrived, but was to be dead in train on the 18:12 to Culmont Chalindrey- not ideal by any stretch of the imagination!!! Presumably the loco had failed (the windscreen wiper looked a little suspect) and was being dragged out back to depot for maintenance  We got an absolutely diabolical shot of the pair of locos at Pantin before heading back to Nord- the lack of a direct connection between Paris Est and RER line E is most unhelpful!
72084 had come tantalizingly close, but clearly it wasn't to be on this occasion- will I get another?

Better than not seeing it at all?? CC72084 will be dragged
dead in train on the 18:12 to Culmont Chalindry.
Paris Est Diesel departures:
16:42 Belfort            72157
17:05 Le Ferte Milon           unidentified BB67400
17:12 Troyes    72176
18:05 Le Ferte Milon           67406
18:12 Culmont Chanindry    72172 + 72084 (DIT)

15:50 Troyes- Paris Est was a pair of BiBi's (booked CC72100).

Finally it was back to Nord to pick up BB15009 on the 19:04 to Boulogne.
This gave way to 67455 at Amiens, as we left to rush back up the motorway to Calais!

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