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France, June 2014

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I finally got around to uploading photos I took during my trip to France back in June...

 

These first two shots are of BB 22000 electrics at Gare de Bercy in Paris, which I took while waiting to take a loco-hauled Intercités service to Clermont-Ferrand:

 

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A quick snap of some TGVs I took from the train window shortly after departure. I'm guessing the left-hand set is a Reseau rather than an older (but almost identical) Atlantique, while the other two are Duplex sets. The 'Lyria' branding on the centre set denotes that it's used on services to Switzerland.

 

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A few minutes later, my train was overtaken by this BB 22000 heading a push-pull set of Corail coaches on a TER Bourgogne (Burgundy regional) service...

 

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Three-and-a-half hours later, I stepped off the train in Clermont-Ferrand and took the this quick (poor) photo of a RRR push-pull driving tailer:

 

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While in Clermont-Ferrand, I took a visit to the nearby Puy du Dome, an extinct volcano which has some spectacular views from the top. I've been there quite a few times, but this was the first time I used the rack railway to the summit, which was built just a few years ago. Check out the V-shaped sleepers...

 

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Meanwhile, back in the town of Clermont-Ferrand, there's a tram system which is fitted with pneumatic tyres and guided by a central rail - a direct influence of Michelin, whose headquarters are in the town! It's the first tram system in the world to use this particular set-up...

 

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After a few days in Clermont, it was time to take 'Le Cevenol' south to Nimes. Although its name sounds grand, it's a rather down-at-heel service consisting of a veteran Sulzer-powered BB 674000 diesel and three unrefurbished Corail coaches. The journey took over five hours, but it was completely worth it because of the spectacular scenery on its route through the Cevennes... definitely worthy of its place in lists of Great Railway Journeys! Unfortunately, SNCF neglected to wash the windows, so although I could see through them OK, the film of dirt ruined any photos I tried to take.

 

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While waiting to depart from Clermont, this Y8000 locotracteur (shunter) appeared on pilot duties, releasing a loco which had just arrived with some Corails a regional service.

 

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The interior of an unrefurbished Corail coach. Surprisingly, I found it more comfortable than the modernised version... although like a lot of SNCF stock, including some TGVs, the air conditioning is mediocre (I'd much rather have a 22k on a hot day!)...

 

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Edited by Garfield
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As I said, it was impossible to get decent shots of the scenery along the way, but I thought I'd throw in a few photos of some interesting rolling stock I spotted from the coach window. The first is this old graffiti-covered 'Inox' coach. A lot of these coaches still find use on permanent way trains, where they are used as mobile workshops and staff accommodation.

 

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As well as Inox coaches, many permanent way trains seem to have at least one wagon-mounted 'portacabin'. Often windowless, and with air conditioning units bolted onto them... I'm still trying to work out what they're used for.

 

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This next wagon really only finds use during the winter months. It's propelled ahead of a locomotive and the 'brushes' on top of the central structure are used to knock icicles from tunnel ceilings, removing the risk of them crashing through a cab window or punching through a coach roof...

 

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Just after I alighted on the platform in Nimes, a pair of X73500 'saucisse' (sausage) single unit railcars arrived. The lead unit is wearing the old 'regionless' TER livery.

 

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After an overnight stay in Nimes, it was time to take a TGV back to Paris. There is assigned seating on TGV services, and LED-lit boards like this one show passengers where exactly their coach will stop at the platform.

 

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Seems a lot of rail users in Nimes are heavy smokers...

 

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A glance towards the far side of the station led to an encounter with an old friend... BB 67574, which I travelled behind the previous day, was waiting patiently to leave with a service back to Clermont-Ferrand.

 

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And then my train arrived... A TGV Duplex (double-decker) heading to Gare de Lyon in Paris.

 

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Nimes is in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, so it's no surprise that the train passed by vineyards along the way...

 

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In less than three hours the TGV had made it all the way from the south of France to Paris. As it rolled into Gare de Lyon, this 'La Poste' TGV set was sitting outside a running shed, ready for its next duty carrying mail and parcels to some place or other. Behind it is a Duplex set.

 

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A line-up of TGVs and suburban EMUs at Gare de Lyon:

 

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After arriving in Paris, it was time to transfer to a TER service to Beauvais, from where I flew home...

 

One for JHBachill171...

 

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Another quick/poor shot of an RRR push-pull driving trailer... this time an unrebuilt version in 'Transilien' colours.

 

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A permanent way siding with a private contractor's train stabled in it...

 

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...And a siding on the approach to Beauvais. The bufferstops are a standard design found all over the country.

 

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Et voila! The end! :)

Edited by Garfield
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looks like you had a ball of a trip! love this little baby...

 

They're a favourite of mine, too. There's still plenty of them in service, despite the fact they're older than our own 071s! I have a Jouef version in 'En Voyage' livery, but I need to pick up a few more...

 

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Excellent pics Pat. I think a trip through Continental Europe by rail is something I will have to do some time. I think I would arrange a trip including a return on the channel tunnel as I have a soft spot for St Pancras. I love the model by the way how long has it been in production. The scenery is breath taking. No need to ask if you had a good time.

 

Rich,

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In less than three hours the TGV had made it all the way from the south of France to Paris. As it rolled into Gare de Lyon, this 'La Poste' TGV set was sitting outside a running shed, ready for its next duty carrying mail and parcels to some place or other. Behind it is a Duplex set.

 

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Great shots Garfield. Did the Cevanol myself last year and can agree that the scenery is spectacular, but that the quality of the coaching stock leaves a lot to be desired. I read in Today's Railways Europe that the French post office is to stop using the postal TGVs from June 2015 so you captured an endangered species in this image!

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