|CC72158 works the 16:42 Paris - Belfort seen here at Langres approaching journeys end.|
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.
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.|
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.
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.|
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.|
|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.|
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.|
|BB67419 and BB67431 at Saintes.|
|Y8101 is seen parked with some wagons at Lucon.|
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.|
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)
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.|
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.
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.|
|BB25650 pushes and RRR set for Rennes through Les Lacs.|
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.|
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.|
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.|
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.|
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.
|The interior of X5332 harks back to bygone days of the SNCF!|
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.|