Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Zürich to Girona

Today I will follow another classic train route (like yesterday's Transalpin) which has between 1969 and 2010 been promoted as Catalan Talgo. It was a service between Geneva in Switzerland and Barcelona in Spain. Today I have to take at least 2 trains (or 3 from Zurich) for the same route.
 My route is starting in Zurich and I have to first travel to Geneva. It's a morning rush hour at Zurich station, trans are arriving and departing frequently. Here is Re460 hauling Interregio train.
 RABe 511 (Stadler Kiss) EMU's. Soon we will see these trains in Sweden, for Movingo regional services.
 ICE1 train

 I was proposed by Interrail timetable service to take Intercity train to Geneva, but due a short change time, I decided to take an earlier one which would be a ICN.
 ICN service is operated by RABDe 500 EMU
 Passing by RABe 502 - the new EMU from Bombardier for SBB. The train is expected to operate both Intercity and Interregio services (with and without dining coach).
 The train has been delayed, the new expected time for entering the service is next year.
 IC and ICN services from Zurich to Geneve takes almost same time, IC is taking a route through Bern and Lausanne making only 3 stops along the way, while ICN is taking a route through Olten and Biel making 7 stops. On the other hand ICN trains are using the tilting technology, hence it is possible to keep a high speed even in curves.

 ICE1 train on the Aarau-Olten railway
 ICN was manufactured by a joint venture by Bombardier and Alstom.
ICN is using Bahn 2000 railway between Olten and Solothurn (the railway part between Mattstetten-Rothrist). It is equipped with ETCS Level 2.
 The train can reach its maximum speed here

 This train has 2 ICN sets
 Aare river

 Re420 and Re421 near Biel
 Many ICN trains here in Biel

 Lake Bielersee

 We have reached the french speaking part of Switzerland. A billboard announcing free roaming which has been very useful during my trip so far. Unfortunately Switzerland is not part of EU, so I have to pay much more here to use internet in my smartphone.
 Château de Grandson
 Be 4/4 train for narrow gauge Yverdon–Ste-Croix railway

 SBB Am 843 from Vossloh

 Genève-Cornavin is the 9th largest station in Switzerland

Platforms 7 and 8 have French and Swiss border controls. Long distance and regional express trains leave for France without making any stops in Switzerland. Another reason to separate these tracks are the different electrical standards of the relevant railway system on either side: The French system uses 25 kV at 50 Hz AC whereas Swiss system uses 15 kV AC at 16.7 Hz. (Wikipedia)

 My next train is a TER service to Lyon
 Service is operated with 6 Corail coaches and one BB 22000 locomotive.
 2nd class coaches are of type B7uh and 1st class of type A10tu

The BB 22200 is a class of electric locomotives in service with the French railways SNCF, built by Alstom between 1976 and 1986. They are a dual voltage version (1500 V DC and 25 kV 50 Hz AC) of the BB 7200 and BB 15000 classes (Wikipedia).
 TGV Lyria to Paris and TER to Lyon
 Corail coaches are manufactured in the 80's
 Bellegarde. The railway from Geneva to Bellegarde was electrified with 25kV in 2014, the rest of the railway to Lyon has 1.5kV electrification.

 SNCF Class Z 27500 (Bombardier ZGC)
 Rhône river
 Old TGV coaches
 Virieu Le Grand Belley

 Tenay Hauteville

 Passing under the bridge of LGV Rhône-Alpes high speed railway

 The train has arrived to Lyon

 SNCF Class X 72500 DMU
 The train continues to Lyon Perrache station
 SNCF TGV Réseau Series 38000 (4527) for service to Brussels
 SNCF Class B 81500 and B 82500 (BGC). The trains are powered both from diesel and overhead electrification (1.5kV DC for B 81500 and both 1.5kV DC and 25kV AC for B 82500)
 Lyon-Part-Dieu is the main station in town. The other main station is Lyon-Perrache.
 Regio 2N

 My next train is this Renfe AVE Class 100
 The service Lyon-Barcelona is operated by Renfe-SNCF en Coopération
 S-100 trains were manufactured for the line Seville-Madrid which opened in 1992. They were modernised in 2009.

 Leaving Lyon
I have so far not mentioned the cost of the trip by train. I'm using Interrail 10 days which cost about 500€ in 1st class, so 50€ per day. Using Interrail in different countries may cost different, for example in Poland and Czechia it may be cheaper to buy single tickets. But it is not the case for today's trip. When checking different price options for single ticket, I get 156CHF for the Zurich-Geneva trip.

Geneva-Lyon with TER is cheaper than Swiss trains, but still 42EUR
Tickets for Swiss and French TER trains are not dependent on the time of purchasing. Lyon-Barcelona train may be cheaper when bought in advance and expensive buying same day. Same day price here is 155EUR (but it can be as cheap as 39EUR). In any case when combining all the tickets together, it is still more than 50EUR.
We are now travelling on the high speed line with maximum speed allowed of 300km/h

 Passing by Ouigo train
 Valence TGV
 The line has TVM 300/430 train control system, which is very similar to ETCS

 Passing under the new Nîmes and Montpellier railway bypass (CNM) which will open next year
 SNCF Class Z 27500 at Montpellier
 Renfe-SNCF trains from France to Spain requires a seat reservation which has a very high price and for some reason impossible to purchase on the internet or through the phone. The price for a seat from Lyon to Barcelona is 26EUR. If buying through Interrail service there is an additional fee of 8EUR. So, it may be cheaper to by a single ticket if only travelling on this train during same day.

 Since Renfe and SNCF have different reservation systems, the seat allocation may be different. Renfe is using numbers with letters, while SNCF is using only numbers. Why to make is easy for passengers?
 Dining coach

 Passing by next to Mediterranean
 TGV 2N2 3UF 310223 (812) 3rd generation and TGV Duplex 29162 (276) 1st generation

 TRAXX F140 MS operated by ECR - Euro Cargo Rail SAS, Paris
 The train has an infotainment system

 Pyrenees mountains


 Girona in Spain. This where I'm getting off, since I'm heading to a small town between Girona and Barcelona.

 The old train station with Iberian gauge is located just next to the high speed station
 Media Distancia train Renfe Class 449 manufactured by CAF
 The train operates MD service Barcelona-Portbou(Cerbere)
 No seat reservation is required on this train

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