Thursday, December 28, 2017

Aachen, Verviers, Bettembourg, Metz

Today I'm leaving Germany and continuing further south to France. 
It'a early morning, and I'm waiting for my train in Düsseldorf. Meanwhile several ICE trains are passing by.
ICE3 Class 403
ICE3 Class 407
My first train today is RE1 service between Hamm(Westf) and Aaachen, also named NRW-Express. It is one of the busiest lines in Germany (about 110,000 people per day).
I'm now travelling on the Cologne-Aachen line which was built in 1841 and was world's first international line. Next to the railway is E40 highway between Calais in France and Ridder in Kazakhstan near the  border with China.

Old turntable

My train is delayed with 20 min
Approaching Aachen

RE1 at Aachen. Traxx P160 AC2
Traxx F140 AC2 from Metrans
Thalys PBKA arriving from Köln

Aachen station

There are trains from Aachen to Belgium and busses to Netherlands

It's chilly here in Aachen today
Brunnen "Kreislauf des Geldes"
Aachener Dom

I have only 1 hour here in Aachen so I have to be quickly back to the station.
Belgian railways Regional train from Aachen to Spa-Geronstere. It is SNCB Class AM70
In 1966, Aachen Hauptbahnhof was electrified. Due to its proximity to Belgium, it was decided to implement the switching point from the Deutsche Bahn's 15 kV AC to the 3000 V DC used by the NMBS/SNCB in the station. Tracks 6 to 9 therefore have a switchable catenary and are used for international Thalys, ICE and RegionalExpress services. (Wikipedia)

I'm now taking Belgian railway line 37 which is a railway line in Belgium connecting Liège to Aachen in Germany. Completed in 1843, the line runs 47.4 km in Belgium and another 6.8 km in Germany. It is the first and oldest crossborder Railwayline worldwide. (Wikipedia)
Here is not only chilly, it has also been snowing
SNCB Class 18 with M6 Intercity coaches at Welkenraedt station


I get off in Verviers
I have another hour to visit the town before my next train

I10 coach

Intecity train Eupen-Oostende

The station was built in 1925

Eglise Saint-Antoine et Saint-Hubert

Verviers Cultural Center
I'm back to the station

My next train to Liège-Guillemins

Modern station in Liège opened in 2009 and designed by Santiago Calatrava

My next train is an Intercity to Luxembourg
CFL Class 3000 locomotive

Intercity Liers-Luxembourg has 4 coaches, three 2nd class I10B and one 1st class I10A (on the photo).

I'm now taking first line 43 between Liège and Rivage, also named "ligne de l'Ourthe", then switching to line 42 "ligne de l’Amblève" until the border with Luxembourg.
River Amblève
From Rivage the line was electrified with 25kV AC during the 90's
Meeting with another Intercity at Trois-Ponts

I was not expecting that much of snow here in Belgium, considering that there was no snow in Sweden (Stockholm area). On the other hand, this part of Belgium has an upland area called High Fens, and the highest point is located in this part of the country (694m above sea level).

Gouvy station is the last stop in Belgium
SNCB Class AM 08, Siemens Desiro ML

The first stop in Luxembourg is Troisverges
CFL Class 2300, Stadler Kiss
I'm now travelling along CFL Line 1 Luxembourg-Troisvierges


Bourscheid Castle

Approaching Luxembourg town

Last stop for this train

I'm changing quick to another train
I have now arrived to Bettembourg, still in the country of Luxembourg. The train I took was this double deck Regional Express.

CFL Class 4000, Traxx
SNCF Class Z 24500 arriving from Metz, it is the train I will take later to Metz
Z 24500 is part of the TER 2N NG family and Alstom Coradia Duplex (similar to X40 in Sweden).

Another Z 24500

CFL Class 2000
My last train for today
I'm now travelling on the former French line 3 "North" between (Luxembourg) Zoufftgen - Basel. The line is part of the European Corridor C (Antwerp - Basel / Lyon) and should be equipped with ETCS Level 1 by 2018 (Wikipedia).
Mosel river
Z 24500 has a very small 1st class compartment which was full when I boarded the train at Bettembourg, so despite having 1st class Interrail I had to sit in the 2nd class.
On the other hand, the only difference is the colour of the seats and the lack of a table/lamp between 1st and 2nd class on this train.
Z 24500 at Metz station
TGV Réseau 538
The station in Metz was built 1908 during the German annexation of Alscace-Lorraine which took place between 1871-1917. Its first aim was military usage and it had to answer a strategic need: For the success of the Schlieffen plan, the Kaiser had to be able to transport his troops from France to Russia in only 24 hours. This has resulted in a sizeable station with platforms large enough to accommodate troops on foot and on horseback. So the Metz railway station was directly linked to Berlin via the Cannons Railway. (Wikipedia)

The view from my hotel

Cathédrale de Metz
Christmas decorations outside the station

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