Monday, July 18, 2016

Lille, Strasbourg, Colmar

Today I'm taking train from Belgium to France, it's warm, it's sunny and there will be many trains photographed. My final destination today is Colmar in France, and the original plan was to travel through Luxembourg, but the direct Eurocity train Luxembourg-Colmar was suspended from April 2016 due to opening of LGV Est phase 2. Now the passengers are referred to TGV service through Paris or slower regional trains. Today I choose the first option.
 The first train I'm taking is to city of Kortrijk.
 Ticket hall with mural "Myn Landekyn ter Eere"
 I11 coach train is arriving

 There is a mixture of different Intercity trains, here is AM96 and SNCB Class 18 locomotive
 My train is an AM96
 Manufactured by Alstom and Bombardier
 AM80 EMU's

 It's a beautiful weather, even photos through the window are great.
 Bombardier Traxx F140 MS from Euro Cargo Rail
 The train is arriving from France
 In Kortrijk I'm changing train to another AM96 heading to Lille Flandres. AM96 exists in several versions, train number 449 is supporting both Belgian 3kV DC and French 25kV AC power systems.
 AM08 Desiro ML is arriving
 AM96 with numbers 545 and 532 (in the middle) are however not supporting 25kV power system, they can only operate in Belgium.

 My next train to France
 SNCB Class 13
 The last stop in Belgium is Mouscron (French) or Moeskroen (Dutch).
 Shortly after passing french border, there is a railway yard outside Tourcoing and I can spot a Eurostar train British Rail Class 373 or TGV TMST (TransManche Super Train).
 Tourcoing is the first stop in France
SNCF Class B82500, SNCF Class BB22200 and SNCF Class Z26500
 Class B82500 is a hybrid multisystem diesel and electric multiple unit.
 AM96 has arrived to Lille Flandres
 It is the main station in Lille, and it was renamed to Lille Flandres in 1993 to separate from Lille Europe station.
 Bombardier Regio 2N/Class Z55500 (to the left) and AM96 (to the right)
 Main hall of Lille Flandres
 The station is also used by TGV
 This TGV seems to consist of different liveries.

 Lille is the fourth largest city in France
 CCI Grand Lille and Opéra de Lille
 Vieille Bourse
 Place du Général de Gaulle
 Back to Lille Flandres train station
 While waiting for my next train, I'm taking 500m walk to the other station Lille Europe.
 Lille Europe station
 The station was built to serve Eurostar services to/from London and TGV trains to other destinations than central Paris.
 Unlike Lille Flandres which is a terminus station, Lille Europe is a through station.
 Back to Lille Flandres. Here is Z 24500 TER Nord-Pas-de-Calais. TER 2N NG is another name, 2N is for Deux Niveaux (two levels), NG is for New Generation.
 The train is a relative to Luxembourg 2200 CFL and Swedish X40 (Coradia Duplex). From Lille this train is operating to Rouen, Amiens and Valenciennes.
 Class Z55500 entered the service in 2014, and it is used in service for shorter trips.
 The train has two levels, with parts where the doors are places it has one level.
 The newest generation from Alstom Coradia is the Regiolis EMU.
 Regiolis has replaced previously Corail TER service Amiens-Lille Flandres, so it belongs to Picardie region.

 SNCF Class BB22200 locomotive with VR 2N coaches.
 The train is used for service to Lens among others.
 Finally my next train is arriving. This is a TGV Duplex first generation with Carmillon livery.
 Worth to notice is that for Interrail pass holders, there is a required seat reservation using TGV trains in France. It is possible to book these seats through SNCF webpage, however it is only possible for domestic TGV services. The prices may vary between 4.5EUR, 9EUR and 18EUR, depending on the availability.
 For my trip Lille-Paris, the trip with TGV is taking only 1h3min. There is a possibility to travel without seat reservation with Regional TER and Intercités, the trip will then take at least 2h more and with a change in Amiens.
 TGV trains parked outside Lille.
 TGV is taking the LGV Nord high speed line opened in 1993 and allowing speed of 300km/h. Below is the old line to Paris.
 This TGV train was rather empty, with some coaches without functioning air condition.
 Bistro coach was closed.
 First and second floor
 LGV Nord is used for Eurostar services
 Paris Charles de Gaulle airport
 We are approaching Paris
 We have arrived to Paris Nord station.
 At the station the TGV has been coupled with another one

 Recently launched low-cost service from Paris to Brussels is named Izy, with train tickets starting from 10EUR.
 Maybe there is a future for low cost train companies? In France at least there are already two: Ouigo and Izy. Both are however subsidiaries of SNCF, so I'm not sure about how they are competing with traditional railway services.
 Eurostar e320 or British Class 374 is the newest EMU for Eurostar services. The train is intended to be used for services from London to Netherlands and Germany. The service to Netherlands will start later this year, at the moment the trains are used for Paris-London services.
 The platform for Eurostar is sealed, due to that UK is outside Schengen area (and soon outside EU).
 Paris Gare Du Nord. Now I'm changing to another train station, just 5-10 min walk.
I'm now arriving to Paris Gare De L'Est
 The station building is decorated with this statue, and Strasbourg is where I'm going next.

 Painting "Le Départ de poilus" by Albert Herter from 1914.
 Paris Est is serving TGV services to Germany and eastern France.
 TGV 2N2 or Euroduplex are parked here.
 The newest ICE3 train is also operating here.
 SNCF Class BB 17000 and SNCF Class CC 72100
 SNCF Class CC 72100 is a diesel/electric locomotive used on Paris-Mulhouse line.

 My next train is ready for departure
 In contrast to the previous TGV from Lille, this one is almost full.
 The train is making Paris-Strasbourg route without stops in 1h48min. TGV is using LGV Est high speed line which is now 406km long.
 Bar service is available.
 Even though our train is not stopping until Strasbourg, there are some stations along this line, here is Champagne-Ardenne TGV station near Reims.

 Bistro in this TGV was open
Enjoying French/Belgian beer 
 Unfortunately the trip was longer than expected due to an unexpected stop along the way.
 LGV Est was the first line to use ERTMS and also the first one allowing speed of 320km/h
 Meuse TGV
Lacroix sur Meuse
25min delayed due to a defect railway switch
 River Mosel nearby Metz
 Lorraine TGV
 Some kind of fire near the railway
The last part of LGV Est opened as recently as 3rd of July 2016. Passing over the old railway nearby Sarrebourg
 Passing by a provisional station

 Passing by conventional railway nearby Wilwisheim.
 The opening of the new LGV Est phase 2 was delayed with 3 month due to an accident happening just nearby this bridge 15th of November 2015. TGV test train derailed causing death of 11 people.
 The derailment was due to a too high speed on this curve where LGV Est is ending and connecting to the conventional railroad.
 Final stop for me with this TGV is Strasbourg.

 Historic main hall of Strasbourg station
 In order to increase the total space area of the station, a huge glass roof was installed covering the old station building.
 It is possible to charge your phone by biking.
 Strasbourg station, looks like a space ship

Central Strasbourg with its trams

 Alstom Citadis 403
 Strasbourg Cathedral with its distinctive look with one tower. Lack of money was the reason to not built the other one.

 A big lunch for a little bird is served

Strasbourg Cathedral, completed in 1439 is one of the tallest in the world.

 Back to the train station. The old station can be seen inside the new glass canopy.

 Strasbourg is the prefecture of the Alsace region
 SNCF Class B82500
 SNCF Class X73900 operated on the line to Germany (Offenburg).
 My last train for today is a TER200 service to Colmar. It is operated with SNCF Class BB26000 and Corail coaches.
 TER200 stands for speed of 200km/h on most part of the route Strasbourg-Basel.
 After many TGV trips in France it is nice to take an older coach service. This train do not require any seat reservation for Interrail pass, just jump on any departure.
 The coach is from 1984
 TER200 has a 1st class coach
 TER200 and TGV at Strasbourg
 Another TGV is arriving

 The railway Strasbourg-Basel is located in a plain between the Rhine river and Vosges mountains in the west.
 It is a double track railway and the trains are travelling on the right (like in Germany) compared to the rest of the France where they travel on the left. The reason is the integration into German railways in 1870 (when the annexation occurred). After Alsace were reverted to France in 1945, it remained to be this way.
 My last stop for today is Colmar.
 Some of the coaches are approved to all neighbouring countries.
 The old station is decorated with some newer art.
 Besides TER200, there are also conventional TER services e.g. to Mulhouse

 SNCF Class Z 27500 EMU from Bombardier. The train has maximum speed of 160km/h
 This one has arrived from Mulhouse. The train series is named AGC (Autorail de Grande Capacité), where the electric unit is called ZGC, diesel unit is called XGC, and combined electric/diesel version is BGC.
There are over 700 units of this type of train in France, with different modifications for different regions.
 AGC trains has some similarities with Swedish Regina train, also from Bombardier. There are 100 units of Regina train in Sweden.

 SNCF Class Z 76500 is however a diesel version (XGC)
Another TER200 is passing. The frequency of this service at peak hours is once per 30min. Here is a map of TER Alsace.
The next day (and next post) I will continue on this service further to Basel.
 Waiting hall on the plattform

 The railway here is used by cargo trains. It is part of the TEN-T North Sea-Mediterranean Corridor 
 SNCF Class BB 37000 locomotive from Alstom, they are operating primarily on Bettembourg-Basel axis (Luxembourg to Switzerland).
It is for free to bring bicycles on TER200 except during the hours.
Bicycles can be placed in the control car Corail B5uxh. The name "Corail" stands for Comfort and Rail
 Colmar is a picturesque town with well preserved old town. This place is called La Petite Venise

 River rat or nutria in Colmar

No more trains for today, just beer.

1 comment:

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