Wednesday, 24 June 2015

How time slams by... 10 years since the end of South West Slam-Doors

The empty stock, led by 3CIG 1497 approaches Wimbledon on a gorgeous June morning. 4VEP 3417 is on the rear.
Heritage repaint 3417 'Gordon Pettitt' stands at Waterloo.
Where did 10 years go??!!
Actually when I think about it an awful lot has changed in the past 10 years, purely on a personal level I have started and finished University, got my first 'proper' job- and then my second 'proper' job! I've made a lot of friends, had a lot of fun and, of course, seen a lot of trains!
It somehow just doesn't feel like a whole 10 years have gone by since we had to say goodbye to the slammers though. After all these were the trains that got me into the hobby and I will never forget those early days for me, with my Platform 5 book, a handful of unit diagrams from long since deceased Yahoo Groups and a London Travelcard.
The format was simple- how many of the 'slammers' could I do in a day, and what were the best units I could get a ride on. Even in the dying days of the 400 series stock there were still CEP units around, and these probably got the most attention, then there were those units which were in unusual liveries- South Eastern had the green CEP 1592, the unique Connex CEP 1602, and still retained some CIG's and CEP's in Network South East colours (all be it very shabby!). On Southern there were the 'phase 1' CIG's- some still with string luggage racks in their compartments and 3514- the only VEP to receive the attractive green livery which came in with Govia taking the franchise. On the South West division four 4-VEP's lingered on in NSE colours, and of course there was 'Gordon Pettitt', VEP 3417 which received a stunning repaint into BR Rail Blue.
The blue/grey livery of 1497 is reflected in the windows of the
modern Northam traincare depot which would maintain the
replacement fleet of Siemens class 450 and 444 'Desiros'.
By the beginning of 2005 it was clear that the last of the slammers, condemned so many years previously, were not going to see out the year.
The first of the three operators to say goodbye to the slam doors was South West Trains. The final passenger service train was run in late May leaving just two 'Seaside Slammer' excursions, the first on the 11th June for staff, and the public outing on the 18th June to bring the curtain down.
Celebrity unit 3417 'Gordon Pettitt' together with 3-CIG 1498 'Freshwater' (overhauled and painted into Blue/Grey livery for its retirement on the Lymington Branch, which would remain as a 'Heritage' slam door operation) were turned out for the public tour. The weather could not have been better for the run down to Weymouth which ran outwards via the Guildford New Line and the Portsmouth Direct before rejoining the mainline at Southampton. The return was a run straight up the mainline concluding with a 'fast' run up from Bournemouth to Waterloo.
This was a fitting end to slam door operation in the South West, and now left just two operators to battle it out for the honor of running the last Mk1 slam door train later in the year.
VEP 3417 in the sunshine at Brockenhurst on the outbound run to Weymouth.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Anglian class 47 Swansong

47818, once a regular locomotive in the area and even painted into 'One Anglia' colours during it's Cotswold Rail days heads
away from Acle with the 12:36 Norwich - Great Yarmouth. DRS have recently supplied Mk2 coaches for this train.
Diesel loco hauled trains have been incredibly scarce across the UK since the wholesale arrival of 'Sprinter' and 'Super Sprinter' DMU's in the 1980 and 1990's. Despite this, somehow the class 47 has maintained a presence, all be it on a very limited basis, in east Anglia.
For many years class 47's have been used on Summer Saturdays to drag selected trains from London along the diesel-only line from Norwich to Great Yarmouth. Locomotives also saw use each year on additional trains for the Lowestoft Air Show until this sadly ceased in 2012. The locomotives have also seen use on 'thunderbird' duties, on some occasions getting the chance to work intercity services from London to Norwich instead of the booked class 90's and have also helped out with diversions during engineering works. 
47813 'Solent' arrives into Acle with the 11:17
Great Yarmouth to Norwich on 15th June 2015.
More recently Norwich has seen a shortage of serviceable DMU's to run it's local services which have on several occasions led Anglian operators to resort to loco haulage on a 'short set' of 3 vehicles split from one of the rakes of coaches usually used on the Norwich to London route. This first happened from 2003 to 2005, but in 2010 Norwich once again found itself short of DMU's forcing the 'short set', top and tailed by class 47's to be pressed into use. It was used on an ad-hoc basis to cover for DMU's (and even saw a class 20 enjoy a day of front line passenger work during 2010) until the workings became more permanent with a fixed Monday to Friday diagram.
47818 speeds towards Haddiscoe with the 14:55 Norwich - Lowestoft on 15th June 2015.
On 15th June 2015 the class 37's had already arrived to take
over duties on the 'short set'- they are seen parked with 47805.
Towards the end of 2014 a deal was reached to retain the loco hauled set to the end of the current Abellio Greater Anglia franchise in October 2016 to cover for a continued shortage of DMU's. The current traction provider, DRS, was however going to implement some changes. The class 47's which had continued to work on the region would be replaced with a class 37/4 from it's expanding fleet, which would work in push/pull mode with a converted DBSO. The date for 37's to start came and went several times, but finally on June 16th 2015 class 47's were removed from the train, and 37405 and 37425 took up their duties. Class 37's will now be the staple traction running with the 'short set' on the beautiful Wherry Lines between Norwich and Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft- for now running in top and tail formation until further DBSO vehicles become available.
15th June 2015 was, therefore, the final full day of class 47 passenger operation in the Anglia area, and for the moment at least, the UK. With new class 68's now on the books of DRS and with class 37/4's in favour for their passenger trains it is unclear what, if any future the remaining DRS class 47's will face.
One of the last class 47 departures from Norwich- at least for now. 47818 waits
to leave with the 17:36 Norwich - Great Yarmouth on 15th June 2015.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Comment: Charter Expectations

Many within the hobby, and indeed outside, enjoy the opportunity to travel by special charter trains. They can offer the chance to travel over interesting or 'rare' track, behind steam or heritage locomotives, in traditional rolling stock, or a pleasant day out often with full dining services being offered.
The charter market has suffered some ups and downs in recent times, but always seem so to re-surge with a quality product for those who enjoy these trips. 
I can't say that I travel on a huge number of charters- usually just a handful each year, but I almost always have a good day out. One promoter which I travel with, and almost always sing the praises of is UK Railtours. They run regular trips and really know what they are doing. They offer good value days out usually with sensible itineraries and reasonable start/finish times. The company is professional and always provides great service- in short, their trains deliver exactly what they say they will. 
Last weekend I travelled on UK Railtours 'Alpine Sunbeam'- a charter mostly aimed at enthusiasts with class 73's at the helm and a handful of unusual routes. As usual, the company deliver what it said it would (With the exception of the Newhaven Marine branch which was unaccessible and out of UK Railtours control). However the trip did fall slightly short of what I would expect from an enthusiast tour with the class 73's so far from my seat that I could neither hear or see them, the locomotives being off the end of almost every platform the train stopped at, and the lack of breaks during the trip (the only break being for half an hour at 11am).
At just gone 20:00, passengers of the 'Alpine Sunbeam' finally get a chance to see and photograph the locomotives, 73136
and 73128 which have been hauling the charter all day. The tour is now over and the locos have been shut down.
There were no other opportunities during the day to see the 73's because of short platforms and very limited stops during the day.
This got me thinking- what reasonable requirements do I have, or even expect from a heritage traction tour? 
I think all tours should, wherever possible, offer the following:
- Comfortable seating
- A hot food service in all classes
- Sensible start times from main stations
- At least one break of a decent length (minimum one hour- with time to leave the station)
- A chance for passengers to stretch their legs- ideally a short break every 4-5 hours as this is quite long enough to be sitting in one place for.
In addition if the main selling point of the tour is the traction:
- There should be a good opportunity for tour participants to see and photograph the locomotives during the day.
- The locomotive should get a chance to work at both ends of the train to give both standard and 1st class passengers a chance to hear and experience it working. 
Charity Railtours 'Four Triangles' tour suffered a loco failure which resulted in a loco swap and a lot of shunting during an extended
stop at Norwich. While this was unplanned and caused delays for the rest of the day- could a loco swap be a feature which could be
scheduled into future tours offering extra traction and an opportunity to view the engines hauling the tour?
I understand that providing everything on my 'wish list' may not always be possible. By virtue of some longer trips early starts and late finishes cannot be avoided. Similarly having a locomotive work from both ends of the train requires run-round facilities to be available and the time to shunt the train.
Also of course trains need to run to their maximum length to make them viable which may often result in the train being longer than many platforms.
I had a thought about the 'Alpine Sunbeam'- how might some of these ideas hypothetically have been incorporated?
With it's sensible start and finish times, the tour could have perhaps been extended. Maybe a break in Brighton could have been added (the train traversed the Preston Park Curve/Brighton avoider in the early afternoon)? This could have given passengers a chance to get off the train and have, say, 90 minutes in Brighton. During this time the stock could, perhaps, have run into Lovers Walk Depot for a double run round. Of course this would also have given passengers a chance to see the locomotives as well- before the tour was over.

Monday, 1 June 2015

SNCF Trip report- 23rd - 28th May 2015

Saturday 23rd May-

CC72158 works the 16:42 Paris - Belfort seen here at Langres approaching journeys end.
It was up early to head to Dover to get across to France. The plan to go the 'traditional'  way to Paris was already in tatters as engineering works had the Boulogne blocked for our chosen train down to Paris. South Eastern's service from Victoria to Dover Priory was a bit of a stagger but with an on time arrival we decided we just about had time to walk to eastern docks for the boat. We were right- we did *just* have time. The bus to the boat  leaving minutes before our departure.
It was a grey crossing over the channel on board the 'Pride of Burgundy'- this is however a  sedate and pleasant way of travelling.
Less sedate and pleasant was the dash across to Calais Ville for our TGV into Paris. We knew  that we had not allowed a huge amount of time, but with the boat arriving around 10 minutes  late and then the usual faf to get onto land we had only around 18 minutes from clearing  customs to the departure of the 13:25 from Calais Ville to Paris- I knew I could just walk it  in 20... so we ran it. Arrival into Paris Nord was on time now in beautiful sunshine.
There was a bit of time to kill, photograph BB22333 and BB22244 and to stock up on supplies before heading over to Est. Note that one side of the nice old 'Solari' board at Nord has  been covered up- maybe the beginning of the end for this nice old display?
CC72176 was on the blocks, with winning CC72158 provided for the 16:42 Paris - Belfort.  Settled into a comfy bay in the steaming hot first coach for the run. Clearly there was a  problem with the A/C and about 30 minutes into the journey the chief du train came round and  opened the windows- a little bit more noise from the loco then!
On time arrival in Belfort and about an hour to explore the town and get some food before the sleeper. There was some sort of festival going on by the river- clearly Belfort was the place  to be. Unfortunatley the kebab shop across from the station was not the place to get dinner.  I had incorrectly assumed that getting food here would be fast- this was not the case. 25  minutes after having first stood behind the counter and just 5 minutes before the sleeper was  due to leave I was finally handed my food. No chance for a shot at Belfort then!
Loco was another winner- CC72147. Usual farce settling into our beds- door to the compartment  was locked from the inside and once the incumbents had finally opened it we were greeted with a rammed compartment with 5 beds occupied with bodies and the sixth stacked full of luggage.  I don't think our presentation of reservations for the bottom two went down too well! A  little while later and some re-arrangement of the compartment and our beds were cleared-  though no room for our bags. We were tired and fortunately the compartment was a reasonable  temperature. After the diesel had left at Culmont-Chalindrey it was time for some shut-eye.  Didn't check the electric loco as I could of course see that at Marseilles in the morning.

Sunday 24th May-

BB22374 basks in the morning sun with the Strasbourg/Luxemborg to Nice
overnight sleeper at Marseilles St Charles where it reverses.
A reasonably good night's sleep considering I can't sleep on sleepers! Plan to check the loco at Marseilles could have gone better... BB22326 was on the front of Sybic BB26165, which was clearly dead. But was it dead leaving Culmont-Chalindrey? Can I underline it??
BB22374 lead the train out to Nice before an odd 'definitely not in the UK' move where the broken-nose pushed the dead Sybic out of the station- nobody in the cab of the leading loco!
Time for a brisk walk down to the harbour and back, and then a rather bad photo of BB7258 and the AVE bound for Madrid. Also sighted a Regio 2N set which looked to be testing. First time I've seen one in the flesh. 08:06 to Mirimas was a unit- the first bowl out of the trip.
Got into position at Niolon for the 07:59 ex Mirimas. Everything crossed that it would produce a loco, and very pleasing to see BB67568 cross over the viaduct- especially given our disaster on this line exactly a year ago when the whole day fell into chaos due to a PACA strike!
A quick dip in the Med to celebrate having finally got the shot. Expected the same loco to work back on the 10:36 Marseilles- Miramas but of course it didn't- even more graffitied BB67560 however was a winner and suitable substitute.
BB67568 crosses the viaduct at Niolon with the 07:59 Miramas - Marseilles 'Cote Bleu' service.

Infra liveried BB67433 at Miramas.
AGC unit on to Nimes for lunch and back to the station in time to try our luck at Le Cevanol to
Cleremont Ferrand. We had discovered about a month before our trip that the line was blocked
in the middle... but would loco and stock work the two portions? It was worth a go. The squeal of brakes as we came up the stairs confirmed our fears- it was to be an AGC to La Bastide. The replacement coach between La Bastide and Langeac was prompt and no hassle- but the 1hour 40 + journey was really not idea for a rail trip. Less ideal again was another AGC waiting at Langeac to continue to Cleremont-Ferrand. Cevanol still very much required.

Alstom Prima diesels BB75059 and BB75005 pull away
from the yards at Miramas.
Not a lot at Cleremont-Ferrand, no diesels out and just BB26055 on a Paris train so retired to a shower and a good (if slow) meal at our favourite Crepe restaurant.
Stayed in Hotel Les Commerciates across from the station as last year- Very creaky floors and
unable to connect to WiFi- but got the job done.

BB26055 at Cleremont-Ferrand with a Paris service.
A PACA AGC unit at La Bastide with the curtailed 'Cevenol'

Monday 25th May-

A single coach X73500 works the daily train to Le Mont Dore seen at Laqueille.
A Bank Holiday, so as usual for my trips to Cleremont-Ferrand, no diesel loco action. Wandered
round the town and took an AGC up to Volvic because, why not? Friendly crew invited us into
the cab for the journey back down the line- we were the only passengers on the train anyway!
With the line climbing straight up almost the whole way to Volvic, I'd like to come back and do it loco hauled!

X2907 and X2844 at Cleremont-Ferrand with a L'autorail
Limousin excursion to Montlucon. A pleasant surprise!

Between Laqueille and Ussel the only option is to take a bus.
Vermillion BB26037 at Cleremont on an arrival from Paris, then- a surprise! What is this appearing from the south??? A L'autorail Limousin excursion to Montlucon using X2907 and X2844. Not the best of places to photograph it and it had started to rain, but a very nice surprise and break from the monotitny of AGC's and 'flying bananas'. Todays main move was to Bordeaux via Ussel and another bus. We had worked out that taking the (once daily) train to Le Mont Dore would cut down the bus journey significantly and this worked well with a 'flying banana' taking us up the pleasant branch. You can continue all the way to Le Mont Dore, and then return to Laquille by TER bus, conecting with the TER bus to Ussel. We didn't risk it but it would have worked as the bus connection made. Boarded the reasonably busy TER branded bus to Ussel (never did find out what happened to the two cyclists who were refused boarding) and  contemplated our fate- would we get another long distance unit bowl out? Not this time. BB67432 + 3 was provided for the twice weekly 16:11 Ussel - Bordeaux running on the Monday vice Sunday due to the Holiday.
BB67432 is a pleasant sight at Ussell with the twice weekly
train to Bordeaux Saint Jean.

An uneventful journey (nobody seemed to be bothered that there was smoke coming from
underneath one coach at Tulle during the run round). Arrival in Bordeaux roughly on time.
BB67455 + BB67542 arrived with 3378 17:05 Nantes - Bordeaux
BB67477 + BB67475 arrived with 3839 19:05 Nantes - Bordeaux

Trains reverse, and our loco must run around at Tulle.
As has been mentioned before there is a massive re-building program at Bordeaux St Jean with the north half of the station totally obliterated by scaffolding. It is going to look stunning once the work is complete, but in the mean time the station is a total mess until at least 2017!
A Regio 2N set was seen in service.
Turns out it's a long walk into town- should have got a tram! Ended up eating by the station. Stayed in Hotel Fasian, right opposite the stations main booking hall. Creaky floors and a tiny bathroom with a translucent door which, if shut too far (not closed) would then not re-open from the inside! A useful feature! WiFi only seemed to work down in the foyer. Other than that ok and can't be faulted on price or proximity to the station.
BB22331 stands at Bordeaux Saint Jean with a northbound service.

Tuesday 26th May-

BB67419 and BB67431 arrive into Rochefort with the 06:11 Quimper - Bordeaux.
A day out on the Nantes- Bordeax line.
BB67419 and BB67431 at Saintes.
A plan was devised working with the limited service of 4 Intercities trains each way. Not many booked for pairs on a Tuesday from the diagrams I had, but with it being a 'Sunday' on the holiday Monday there was hope of some extra pairs returning south. First move was out to Rochefort on the 07:55 unit. Another long run on an AGC- if only these trains were as smooth as Corails they would almost be quite pleasant (oh, and if they could sort out the automatic sensor taps to give you a second dose of water)! Unfortunately they rattle and don't ride jointed track too well at speed making postcard writing somewhat tricky.

Y8101 is seen parked with some wagons at Lucon.
Once on the line it is not so difficult to devise moves to cover most of the trains, though getting photos as well without a car is challenging.
Shunter 8101 was sighted on some ballast wagons at Lucon-it had gone by the following day.

A matching pair of locos, BB67436 and BB67442 on the 10:55 Bordeaux - Nantes.
Southbound trains-
13899 05:56 La Rochelle - Bordeaux Unable to ID (single loco on short train)
3830/1 06:11 Quimper - Bordeaux BB67419 + BB67431 (taken Rochefort- Saintes)
3835 13:05 Nantes - Bordeaux BB67424 + BB67578 (taken Lucon - Jonzac)
3837 17:05 Nantes - Bordeaux BB67442 + BB67436 (taken Jonzac - Bordeaux)

Northbound trains-
3842 10:55 Bordeaux - Nantes BB67436 + BB67442 (taken Saintes - Lucon)
3854/5 14:55 Bordeaux - Quimper Not seen
3856/7 16:55 Bordeaux - Nantes BB67445 + BB67477
3888 18:55 Bordeaux - La Rochelle BB67549

Of course the sun went in for our photo of the 16:55 Bordeaux - Nantes (we'd only been
waiting 90 minutes for it) however found Jonzac to be a pleasant town and eventually had a
very good burger and chips for dinner.
Into Bordeaux for the evening- taking the tram this time to actually find the city centre.
Not a bad day at all but a shame only one of the loco pairs was in matching livery (BB67436 +
67442 in Multiservice). All others being an En Voyage/Multiservice pairing.

BB67424 + BB67578 at La Rochelle with the 13:05 from Nantes. 

BB67442 stands next to BB27014M at Bordeaux Saint Jean.

BB67445 and BB67477 head north towards Jonzac with the 16:55 Bordeaux - Nantes.

Wednesday 27th May-

TGV 334 leads 321 under classic Midi catenery at Allouette-France on the line from Bordeaux to Dax and Hendaye.

The 06:00 Hendaye - Bordeaux with BB7404.
With plenty of non-diesel action around Bordeaux we headed down on the line towards Dax and
Hendaye ending up at Allouette-France shortly outside Bordeaux, this line having the attractive
Midi catenery. The most interesting train seen was BB7404 (with cast numbers) on the 06:00 Hendaye - Bordeaux. Of course the photo was obscured by a tiny cloud which cleared 30 seconds after it passed. A few freights were also seen (Primas BB27009, BB27013M and BB60019) as well as a Regiolis working TER services.
Back to Bordeaux for the 10:55 to Nantes which was now dud pair BB67424 and BB67578, taken

BB67578 and BB 67424 run around their train at Nantes ready to form the 17:05 service back to Bordeaux.

X2200 railcars still work with trailers on some local services
from Bordeaux. X2225 is seen departing ECS.
My companion for the week left here by TGV to Paris. Thanks Rhys for the company, I continued by unit to Rennes in search of some BB25500's. The diagrams I was working with dated to 2012, but with these I made a plan to get in 5 locos during the evening. This soon went wrong after the first two departures I was expecting to be hauled produced units (several Regiolis working in the area).
A few locos did eventually appear:
BB25643 17:35 Rennes - Montreuil sur Ille
BB25590 17:49 Rennes - La Brohiniere
BB25689 17:40 Rennes - Vitry
BB25650 18:01 Vitry - Rennes

BB26107 passes Rennes with eastbound freight.
I took the 17:40 to Vitry and then made a massive error. I bailed at Les Lacs planning to pick up the 18:01 return from Vitry to then do a few more moves from Rennes. Unfortunately this station has only the level crossing to cross between platforms and the barriers were already down for my return train! No matter... I could take the BB25689 back to Rennes on it's return- only it doesn't stop!!! A quick panic and look at my Interrail journey planner revealed that I had indeed made an enormous balls up- the next train anywhere was the 19:23 to Rennes, and that missed all the remaining loco hauled departures! Oh dear- lesson maybe learnt about doing short desperate leaps at shacks?!

BB25650 pushes and RRR set for Rennes through Les Lacs.
Went for a wander around the pleasant town and had a very nice meal to commiserate.
Accommodation was Hotel Magenta, just round the corner from the station. More than I ideally wanted to pay, but there was nowhere else cheaper without a massive trek- glad I paid the extra to stay near the station in the end. No creaky floor here but still no luck with WiFi!

Thursday 28th May-

BB25689 on the banks of La Vilaine near to Guichen-Bourg-des-Comptes between Rennes and Redon.

It was up very early this morning to try to make up for the previous evenings disaster!
It didn't start well with the 06:15 to St Breiuc producing a unit- I had even seen the diagram that should have formed this hauled the previous night! Still I persevered to Montauban de Bretagne to pick up the return 06:10 from St Breiuc to Rennes. This had to be a loco, and was BB26590.

BB25590 arrives into Montauban de Bretagne.
Took a unit to Sesson Cevigne to pick up BB25689 on a fill in move back to Rennes on the I had worked out fairly confidently by now that only diagrams 8-12 were still loco hauled, with 1-7 all being units.
BB25650 arrived for my next move, the 08:26 to Messac Guipry, then BB25681 arrived with the
07:20 St Malo - Rennes, diagram 1, just to ruin my assessment of what was running!

BB25590  06:10 St Breiuc - Rennes
BB25689  07:26 Vitry - Rennes
       08:05 Rennes - Messac Guipry
       08:50 Messac Guipry - Rennes
BB25650  08:26 Rennes - Messac Guipry
       09:45 Messac Guipry - Rennes
BB25681  07:20 St Malo- Rennes

Happy with a very nice photo of BB25689 (all had been right into the sun the previous evening) I boarded the 10:35 TGV for Paris.

BB25681 arrives into Rennes from St Malo.
The afternoon plan was to head to Melun in search of some 'Pettit Gris' Z5300 units. All was nearly
thwarted when my line 6 metro train slammed on the brakes and went very dark on leaving a station on the way towards Gare du Lyon- I needn't have feared the worst as the driver soon had the unit back into life and I had plenty of time to make the unit down to Melun. A little wait for the Z5300 units to turn up during which time 26007 passed with a Corail to Cleremont-Ferrand (only the second 'ghost' photographed on the trip- a very plain looking train when coupled with 'Vermillion' corails). Also BB26078 and BB64633 on freight.
The X5300 still work peak hour services from Melun to Monereau and Juvisy. 3 were seen  
in my short visit, the highlight being original (ish) condition Z5332 with a Juvisy service- complete with brown interior and smoking passengers! A real blast from the past!
Back at Melun 66205 passed with a freight and I boarded BB7241 with a train from Laroche Migennes back into Gare du Lyon.
En Voyages liveried BB25650 approaches Guichen-Bourg-des-Comptes with a train from Messac-Guipry to Rennes.
Just time to cross to Paris Est for the 17:05 to Le Ferte Milon. I queued up patiently for some time to obtain my 'billet contremarque' to access the Ile de France platforms. Got the ticket no problem and then found an open gate...

BB67451 17:05 Paris - La Ferte Milon
BB67470 18:05 Paris - La Ferte Milon
CC72147 17:12 Paris - Troyes
CC72074 18:12 Paris - Culmont Chalindrey (presumed)
CC72176 19:42 Paris - Troyes

BB26078 with a southbound freight at Melun.
CC72074 was viewed on rear of stock heading into Paris Est at about 17:08 (viewed from La Ferte Milon train) with BB17102 leading in. Presumably stock for the 18:12 departure?
CC72049- totally caught me by surprise when my unit back to  Paris passed it LE outside Trilport just where the line from La Ferte Milon joins the electric line. Lights were on and lpoked Paris bound- presumably to Pantin? But where from and why? Unfortunately I didn't have time to see what it did next.
Maybe one day I'll actually get a photo or a ride with one!

I had a leisurely wander across to Nord, with a McDonalds to finish the trip before boarding 3215 on the 20:40 Paris - London.

The X5300's are remarkable survivors. X5332 prepares to
depart Melun for Juvisy in the Paris suburbs.
Overall generally a very good and successful trip- excursions such as these are always subject to the perils of the weather, delays, unforeseen muck ups and of course SNCF itself. While Cleremont-Ferrand was once again disappointing, generally the weather was kind to us and to give them fair credit SNCF performed admirably. The largest delay encountered was about 5 minutes, and that was only once. Even the 'TER Car' services which unfortunately had to be endured were punctual. Once again no problem with photography anywhere- staff and the French in general being very polite and pleasant.

The interior of X5332 harks back to bygone days of the SNCF!
Travel was by Interrail one country pass. Journey log filled in religiously but never looked at or requested by the grippers- it provides quite a good record of the moves though. The journey log is clearly not designed for desperate moves to shacks with long names though, or even rather larger shacks such as Cleremont-Ferrand which does not fit in the box.
Until next time- thanks for reading, thanks to all those who post gen and diagrams and I hope I haven't rambled on for too long!

BB67470 approaches Trilport with the 18:05 Paris Est - La Ferte Milon.