Sunday, December 30, 2018

Bordeaux to León

Today I will enter the 7th country on my trip - Spain.
Bordeaux St.Jean station in the morning
I'm taking the morning train to the border of France/Spain - the town Hendaye
Intercités train to Nantes is now an SNCF Class B 85000 Coradia Liner. When I travelled this route last time (back in 2017) it was a locomotive hauled coach train.

SNCF Class Z 51500 "Régiolis"
The train will split in Dax, where one part will continue to Hendaye, and the other one to Pau.

The train has both 2nd and 1st class, but except for the colour of the seats there is no difference.
If purchasing single ticket, there is a obviously a difference in price for 2nd and 1st classes. For Interrail passengers there is no extra charge for this train.

Lots of space for luggage on the train
The railway from Bordeaux to Irun is an important French 235-kilometre long railway line, that connects the southwestern city Bordeaux to northern Spain. The railway was opened in several stages between 1841 and 1864. The first approximately 145 km of its course runs through the Landes forest. (Wikipedia)

At Dax there is a longer stop due to de-coupling of the train. The front part is continuing to Hendaye
The railway Dax to Puyoô is to the left, Dax to Irun to the right.

Approaching Bayonne


Atlantic ocean is to the right

When approaching Hendaye, the line has dual gauge tracks (the right one)

Last stop - Hendaye. Unfortunately, no trains are continuing to Irun. Neither do the Spanish trains continue to Hendaye.

Outside SNCF station, there is a local Euskotren station.
Narrow gauge railway is the only option to travel between Hendaye and Irun (it is not included in Interrail).
On the other side of the bridge is Spain

When I checked the map, I saw that the only station connecting Euskotren and Renfe is Bentak.

Unfortunately, it was not as close as I thought, the train station for Renfe Cercanias train was too far to make it within 3-4minutes. I could see the Renfe train leaving just as I saw the station.
So, I had to go back to Bentak Euskotren station and take the next train, which was 30min later.

Freight train passing by
From Bentak I took the next Euskotren to Donostia Loila station
The station is new and it opened in 2017
There is a short walk from the station to the central part of Donostia or San Sebastian

Renfe railway

Urumea Itsasadarra river

La fachada principal (Geltokiaren eraikina) at the San Sebastian station (also know as estación del Norte or estación de Atocha).

Donostia Kultura concert hall

Plaza de la Constitución
At the local restaurant I'm eating the traditional pinchos

There is a lot of fish dishes around here
Basílica de Santa María del Coro

Estatua del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
Town hall

Train station
Cercanias trains are operating here between Irun and Brinkola
Long distance trains has services to Madrid and Barcelona
My next train would be a Media Distancia train or Intercity train. It has mandatory seat reservations and when booking a single full price ticket it is possible to choose a seat from a train seat plan.

Renfe Class 449 is manufactured by CAF between 2008-2011
Renfe Class 449 (MD), Class 120 (Alvia) and Class 121 (Avant)

The difference between Class 120 and 121 is that Class 121 include additional electrical equipment for redundancy (a requirement for trains using the Guadarrama Tunnel), and do not provide first class seating.
Renfe Class 447 Cercanias

Inside the Class 449 MD train

The railway line Madrid-Hendaye is also named línea General del Norte or línea Imperial, it was constructed in 1864.

61,4 m above sea level

Basque Y is the new high speed railway under construction, expected to open in 2023.

Many stations along the line for the Cercanias services

High speed line bridge seen here from the window
Older bridge replaced by the new one
Brinkola station is the terminal for Cercanias

Class 449 MD train has no bar, but there are vending machines onboard

A picture of a plane inside a train, hmm...
The train is climbing up higher and higher

Alsasua station is an important railway junction between Madrid-Hendaye and Zaragoza-Alsasua (vía Pamplona) railways.

Sierra de Andía
The railway to Zaragoza

Media Distancia train makes many stops along the way

Michelin factory in Araia

Approaching Vitoria-Gasteiz - the capital city of the Basque Autonomous Community

The official name of Vitoria-Gasteiz is a compound name of its traditional names in Spanish and Basque, respectively. (Wikipedia)
The current station of Vitoria-Gasteiz was built in 1934
Two different generations of Media Distancia, Class 449 from 2008-2011, and Class 470 from 1974
Madrid Chamartin is the destination for this train

Vitoria-Gasteiz has connections with Barcelona and Madrid among other destinations

Much warmer here in Spain than in France

I have about 1h before my next and final train today, so I'm taking a walk in the town

Matador on Calle Eduardo Dato

Euskotren Tranbia opened here in Vitoria in 2008
CAF Urbos 2 trams similar to the ones in Bilbao

Plaza de España
Parroquia San Vicente Mártir
Hornacina de la Virgen Blanca

Virgen Blanca Plaza
The monument to La batalla de Vitoria a battle which took place in the city in 1813 during the Napoleonic wars.

Florida parkea

Maria Sortzez Garbiaren katedrala

Plaza de los Fueros

My next train is Alvia train that will take me to León

Renfe Class 130

Preferente coach of Class 130

Talgo factory near Miranda de Ebro
New Talgo trains for Saudi Arabia

Miranda de Ebro

Complimentary Christmas drink
Burgos-Rosa de Lima station opened in 2008 replacing the old one in the central parts of Burgos
The station will serve both Iberian gauge and standard gauge railways.


Final stop for me is León

Class 252 locomotive

Temporary station in León was built in 2011
The old station on the other side of the road is closed
Plaza de Guzmán El Bueno
Avenida de Ordoño II on the way to my hotel
Plaza De San Marcelo
Casa Botines
Catedral de León
Plaza Mayor where my hotel is located

Sunny weather tomorrow

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