Vingt-cinq heures à Paris
31st August & 1st September 2009
© copyright photographs by Colin Duff

 

To be fair to myself I do know more about French Railways than I can write on to the top of a pin, but probably no more than a short paragraph. So I treated myself to a copy of Platform 5's French Railways Locomotives & Multiple Units stock book and swotted up to be able to add data to the following captions.
TGV approaching Montparnasse Station The view from the top of La Tour Montparnasse also provides a grandstand view of the approaches to the large La Gare Montparnasse. I have a few interesting pictures of the complex track work of the approach but they do not display well at the resolution required for a web page (unless you want a large download time). However, you can get a good impression from the above shot of an arriving TGV Duplex.

 

Departure board at the Gare du Nord 14:02 1st September 2009

Ah, the romance of international train travel on mainland Europe! Above is the state of departures at the Gare du Nord at 14:02 on 1st September. Given Eurostar advertise check-in starting at 90 minutes before departure and we are booked on the 15:13 to St. Pancras International we should have been able to check-in by now! However, the check-in was closed until just before an hour prior to departure.

The good thing is that the station staff and the military patrols toting fierce looking automatic weapons are able to distinguish between a middle aged camera carrying railway enthusiast and a terrorist. An interesting thing for me was that despite the huge investment by the French in their railways there is still a wide variety and age-range of rolling stock running.

 

Gare du Nord concourse looking north west Two views of the relatively uncluttered ticket gate-less concourse at the Gare du Nord, here looking roughly north west .....
Gare du Nord concourse looking north east ..... and north east

 

High Speed Train line up at the Gare du Nord An interesting, well quuite exciting, line-up of high speed trains. Left to right a British Eurostar unit, a French Eurostar unit, a SNCF TGV, a Thalys TGV and another SNCF TGV.
Thalys TGV at the Gare du Nord

A close up of one of the Thalys PBA (Paris, Bruxelles and Amsterdam) TGV power cars. This is unit 4540 and vehicle number 380 079 (380 080 ought to be on the other end), based at Le Landy depot just down the line from the Gare du Nord. This is the last of a batch of ten TGV Réseau three voltage sets which are fitted with a special pantograph and Dutch ATB automatic train protection.

I forgot to check, but I assume this train will form the 14:25 to Bruxelles Midi. If so there is 44 minutes to departure.

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