|A very shabby BB67626 passes Larronville, north of Rue with the 14:46 Boulogne Ville - Paris which it will work to Amiens.|
Friday 1st April
No trains today, but still the start of the trip.
Today was very much a positioning move, leaving home to drive down to Dover for the boat across to France and then on to Amiens. Fortunately the Easter holidays permitted the roads to be kind to us and our rather tight timings to get to Dover proved to be no problem at all. P&O were not doing quite so well and the 'Pride of Kent' was over 30 minutes late by the time it left on the 20:15 sailing to Calais. By the time we reached Calais it was gone 23:00 French time. Arrival at the Holiday Inn Amiens was shortly after 01:00. I've always had a good stay here in the past though there was a bit of confusion over my booking- I had booked a double? I don't think so... some sort of discrepancy between what the booking agency had booked and what I actually had booked. Anyway- it was sort of solved by separating beds and some extra sheets!
Saturday 2nd April
|BB15048 pauses at Longeau with the 09:10 Amiens - Paris Nord.|
15048 was taken on a quick hop down to Longeau on the 09:10 Amiens - Paris.
|The crew change over the light filters on 64634 while as it|
reverses back to wards Longeau depot.
|Although much of the line was shut for engineering works|
BB17069 was still one of two locos out between Creil and
Persan-Beaumont. Seen here at Boran-sur-Oise.
|Much work has taken place at Versailles Chantiers since my|
last visit, including a new northern footbridge. BB7608 calls
with a northbound working in gloomy conditions.
Down to Gare de Lyon to have a go on the 7200's out to Melun (we might as well get some use out of our Mobilis tickets!). This produced 7236 on the 14:49 for 7241 (my first dud loco of the day) on the 15:46 back from Melun. At Gare de Lyon was a long rake of older coaches forming some sort of 'Euro 2016' exhibition train. We couldn't get anywhere near it as the platform was fenced off, but it was something different.
Next move was to get across to Nogent le Perreaux for some CC72100's on the viaduct- however once we had got to Val de Fontenay to change trains it became apparent that the weather had now descended so much that it really wasn't worth the effort anymore. CC72177 was seen here with the 16:42 Paris - Belfort and CC72121 was seen shortly after with the 13:20 Belfort - Paris. Really it hadn't been worth bothering the light was now so poor.
There is now only one BB8500 booked out of Paris on a Saturday, on the 18:09 to Chartres so we thought we'd give this a go. Fortunately it was another winner with 8596 which was taken to Versailles. The station here has been completely refurbished since my last visit, and I must say looks superp (it certainly needed it). A new footbridge has been constructed separately at the country end of the station and looks to be almost finished (but not open yet). It hadn't been an awful day despite the weather and the failure of both plans A and B. We just needed to find a winner to get back to Paris now. 7606 should have been the answer but having sat on the train for a few minutes it appeared to be going nowhere... so we hopped off for a phot- during which time with no warning the doors closed and off it went! Fortunately it wasn't too long to wait for 27325 which also required the red pen.
|'Concrete' locos side by side at Paris Nord. Less 'ghosts' were seen on this trip.|
|BB22229 nears Longeau with the 08:04 Paris Nord - Amiens.|
Sunday 3rd April
|BB67609 passes near Conde-Folie (between Abeville and Amiens) |
with the 09:34 Boulogne - Paris finally in some good light.
Fortuitously we just made the 12:20 diesel run down to Cayeux with 351. It wasn't the plan but was quite enjoyable. Lunch in Cayeux before the return trip. We had expected this to connect into the steam train back to Noyelles- but the connection wasn't held (I'm sure if it had been essential to get it we could have shouted a bit as it only missed by 30 seconds!). Still- the car wasn't in Noyelles so no problem.
|Tank loco 101 on the Baie du Somme railway approaches |
St Valerie with the 11:30 departure from Noyelles
|Diesel loco 351 has just arrived at Cayeax-sur-mer with the |
branch train from St Valerie
Back to the big diesels and an extremely shabby BB67626 was photographed just north of Rue on the 14:46 from Boulogne with BB67609 passing shortly after on the 14:51 Amiens - Boulogne.
The next train was BB67408 on the 16:33 from Boulogne photographed near Ponthoile (north of Noyelles), before this 66228 was photographed with a southbound stone working.
|The sunshine has not held out for BB67408, photographed at |
Ponthoile (north of Noyelles) with the 16:33 Boulogne - Paris
All that was left now was to get back to Calis for the 20:25 sailing back to Dover with the 'Pride of Canterbury'.
|66228 with a Sunday stone train was a bonus shot for us as we|
waited for the diesels just north of Noyelles.
In conclusion the trip certainly had its frustrations, the missed connection, digging, and weather (well, I can't blame that one on SNCF!). However the Boulogne line is still great for photographers and like I said after my previous driving trip to the line two years ago I wouldn't rule out another visit, especially as the Regiolis units have been banished (for now). There are some great locations you can get to very easily with a car, Again I found some new ones in the Noyelles area and there are still many I've yet to explore between Abbeville and Amiens. There are some 'new' locos currently working out of Longeau with several of the examples we saw having recently moved up from Bordeaux or Chambery. On another note *almost* all the locos we saw in Paris on this trip were in actual liveries- the previous trip was plagued by most of them being 'ghosts'- particularly on the Paris - Amiens route only two 'ghost' BB22000's were seen with all others being in the original 'concrete' scheme. Also for the first time the Boulogne line failed to produce all three common BB67400 liveries with no appearance of 'En Voyage'. Security was more noticeable than on my previous trip with armed police and army at several stations- however there was never any problem with photography at all.
Thanks to Rhys again for the company and persuading me that we needed a trip of less than 48 hours to France!