The Anonymous Widower

By TGV Est From Strasbourg To Paris

This was a two hour twenty minute trip on the top deck of a TGV on the LGV Est, which is one of the fastest lines in Europe. It cost me around £57 for the nearly 400 km. And that was a walk-up fare. London to Newcastle would probably cost me about £121 booked off-peak at a walk-up.

The train was regularly cruising at just over 300 kph.

February 23, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Still Remembering Charlie!

I passed through Republic and took these photos in the square, that I visited soon after the atrocities a few weeks ago.

I haven’t changed my stance, that there was nothing that could excuse the murder of the staff of Charlie Hebdo.

February 19, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

A Quick Crepe And Then The Eurostar Home!

I’d booked myself on the last Eurostar back to London and I just had time for a crepe and some cider at Cafe Breizh, near the Metro station of Saint-Sébastien – Froissart, which is just two stops south of Republique on Line 8.

A Quick Crepe At Cafe Breizh

A Quick Crepe At Cafe Breizh

I made the mistake though of trying a new route to the Gare du Nord using Line 4. It didn’t take any longer but I spent twenty minutes finding my way to the Eurostar terminal, as the signage from that line was poor to say the least.

Of the three direct Eurostar destinations that I have used in Europe; Brussels, Lille and Paris, the French capital’s terminal seems to have been designed with the sole purpose of persuading passengers, that they are better off staying in the city. I can’t wait until direct services to Marseilles start!

February 19, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Diversion In Paris

As I had some time in Paris, I went to look at their first tram-train line, T4.

I didn’t ride the tram-train, as it was very crowded and I couldn’t find out how you bought a ticket.

But as it appeared the tram-trains were the same as those in Mulhouse, it was an experience I could pass.

The trams run from Bondy on RER Line E to Aulnay sous Bois on RER Line B.

 

February 19, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Strasbourg Station

Strasbourg station is unusual in that they’re put a glass canopy on a magnificent nineteen-century station.

I liked it. The design also allows the Strasbourg trams to be in a tunnel under the front of the station and be accessed by lifts and escalators.

As the building of these glass or plastic canopies and roofs is getting easier and cheaper, due to the work of structural engineers, I think we’ll see a lot more Strasbourg-style stations.

February 19, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Lunch On A Clothes Line

I had a nice gluten-free salad for lunch at a restaurant called La Corde a Linge

The salad was called le corset, as a lot of the dishes were named after clothes as the restaurant had once been a laundry.

They knew their gluten-free and also sold a decent cider.

It was also delicious and good value.

February 19, 2015 Posted by | Food | , , | 1 Comment

Petite France

Petite France is an area of Strasbourg, that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

I walked around for an hour and had lunch there.

 

 

February 19, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Exploring Strasbourg

I didn’t have much time in Strasbourg before I needed to catch the TGV Est, so I used the excellent tram system to explore the city.

The trams are all low floor, which as a Londoner, you appreciate, as all the buses are going that way. The New Rputemasters are totally flat and no-one should have to accept anything less.

Strasbourg’s successful introduction of trams has been credited with helping to start the tram-revolution in France. Like Nottingham, which was an instant success in the UK, both networks are 100% low-floor. This doesn’t apply tro all UK tram networks.

As a Londoner, you appreciate this, as all the London’s buses are going that way. The New Routemasters are totally flat and no-one should have to accept anything less.

February 19, 2015 Posted by | Transport, World | , , | 1 Comment

From Mulhouse To Strasbourg

After exploring Mulhouse, I took an early evening train onto Strasbourg. Theation journey was done without any trouble, but as there was no information system on the train and station names were not too visible, I was worried about being taken to Nancy.

But a fellow passenger put me right.

Surely, in these days, it should be a European law that all trains have good information systems and that station names are clearly illuminated.

At Strasbourg the station wasn’t a problem, although in common with most European stations, the lighting levels, weren’t at the levels you get in the UK.

After a little bit of searching, I found that the tram to my hotel was in a tunnel under the station and with assistance from a helpful local, I was able to purchase a ticket and go the two stops needed.

Often the pasengers’ experience of a train, tram or metro journey can be improved significantly with clear signs and good lighting.

February 18, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

A Quick Exploration In Mulhouse

On the way from Basel to Strasbourg, I stopped off at Mulhouse to have a look at the city and ride its tram-trains.

The line is a good bit short of its planned length and rather infrequent at the moment, but compared to the two German systems in Karlsruhe and Kassel, it is a step up in design quality.

I should also say, I was impressed with both Mulhouse and its trams and tram-trains.

There was a lot of information maps everywhere and this was an order of magnitude better than anything I’d seen in Germany.

The Germans could do a lot worse than hop over the border with a camera and pinch the designs used in Mulhouse.

I particularly liked the red finger on the finger post, which always pointed to the historic city centre. So simple, I wonder why I’ve not seen it before!

If you look at the proposal for the extension of the Sheffield Supertram to Rotherham using a tram-train, it has similarities to the system in Mulhouse.

The Siemens S70/Avanto tram-trains used in Mulhouse are dual voltage capable of running on 750 V DC or 25kV AC. The Class 399 Sheffield tram-trains which are being made by Vossloh are said to have a similar capability. You could argue that being able to run on both these voltages is akin to the dual-voltage Class 378 which run on both voltages. The Class 378 halts for the changeover at places like Acton, but surely modern electric systems can be designed that handle the changeover between voltages automatically.

February 18, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 6 Comments