Saturday, December 30, 2017

Carcassonne, Cerbère, Portbou

Today I'm leaving France and continuing to Spain. Just like one year ago, I will cross the border between Cerbere/Portbou, but this time I will do it by foot.
 Toulouse Matabiau station early in the morning
 Alstom Coradia Polyvalent train
 SNCF Class B 81500 is a hybrid railway multiple unit capable of operating on diesel power as well as a 1.5kV DC electricity supply, BGC (bimode)

 I'm travelling along Bordeaux-Saint-Jean to Sète-Ville railway line which was opened from 1855 to 1857 by the Compagnie des Railways du Midi and Canal Lateral à la Garonne.
 Top speed on this line and for this train is 160km/h

 I get off in Carcassonne for a short stop. Today I have no trains that requires seat reservations, so I can choose which trains to take on the fly

 Intercité train at Carcassonne station

 Carcassonne station
 Canal du Midi

 Ryanair has flight to/from Carcassonne and destinations in UK, France and Portugal.
 Square Gambetta
 The reason for my visit here is this medieval citadel - Cité de Carcassonne
 Founded during the Gallo-Roman period, the citadel derives its reputation from its 3 kilometres long double surrounding walls interspersed by 52 towers. The town has about 2,500 years of history and has seen the Romans, Visigoths, Saracens and Crusaders. (Wikipedia)

I'm walking back to the station, here is Square Gambetta once again

SNCF Class Z 27500, electric version of the Bombardier AGC, also called ZGC

From Carcassonne my trip continues to Narbonne

Wine yards along my route

Inside TER ZGC

SNCF Class BB 26000
I have arrived to Narbonne

My next train is also a Z 27500, it has destination Portbou

Canigou mountain in the Pyrenees

Aeroport Perpignan-Rivesaltes


What a coincidence, I bought a sandwich "Suedois" with salmon

Checking the news from Sweden, the train traffic was suspended through Stockholm that day. But I'm too far away from that right now...
Cerbère is the last stop in France. According to French/Spanish agreement, all French trains are continuing to the first stop in Spain which is Portbou in this case. Spanish trains continuing to Cerbère. It is however, not possible to depart with a French train from Portbou, nor a Spanish train from Cerbère.
Last year I continued to Portbou, where I spent an hour waiting for the Spanish train. The timetable is a bit weird. French train is arriving 13:28 to Portbou, Spanish train is departing 13:27 from Portbou. I guess it was very difficult to align their timetables. Anyway, this year, I've decided to walk from Cerbère to Portbou.
According to Google maps, it would take 42min to walk this 2.4km long trail.
Train station in Cerbère

First there is a long pedestrian tunnel under the railway

Then another tunnel
By the time a reached the second tunnel, the French train is already back from Portbou

I'm climbing higher and higher

I've reached what was once a border station between France and Spain
Today it is obviously closed

I've reached the highest point of the hill, on the other side is Spain

It is much warmer and less windy on the Spanish side

Train station in Portbou

The trail is very narrow and sometimes passing very near someones home

Església de Santa Maria
Once this town was very important due to the railway line between two countries. Today, it looks rather abandoned. There are still railway services, but I guess the low cost flights as well as the new high speed line between France and Spain has lowered the status of Portbou.

I've made it perfectly for the next train from Portbou
Renfe Class 447 will take me further into Spain/Catalonia


Maçanet-Massanes station and the high speed line on the bridge
My last stop for today is Sant Celoni

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