Thursday, September 15, 2016

Day 5 – London to Bayoux

Todays adventure started out with a ride on the Eurostar, Train #9008 with new Siemens E320 equipment to Paris Nord Station. The ride on the equipment was nice, and being in first class we got a small continental breakfast along with our ride. The Wi-Fi was spotty on the train as it went into and out of tunnels and areas where the 3G modems could not get a signal, however the ride was smooth on the British portion of the route, and a bit more rougher in the French portion. A good fast speed was maintained all the way to the terminal at Paris and no delays were encountered. Upon arrival in Paris, we made our way to the RATP E line to take us to Paris Saint Lazare Station, at first we thought we would have to make a connection on the surface, however the station is connected into the “Magenta” station on the RATP E line. The connection is interesting, as it has fare gates, but they are not very wide so you have to be clever to bring your luggage though. plus in addition to the turnstile it has a gate at the other end, so I pushed my luggage under the turnstile, and when the gate unlocked after presenting my ticket I pushed the whole thing through including myself. Since we had time in-between trains, I did some photography on the street, and noted that Parisian traffic is crazy.

At Saint-Lazare station there is an offset road on the left side of the station from where we came out, and to continue straight a lot of vehicles, including buses had to block the intersection to make it through as there was no where else for them to go. Many other vehicles did similar maneuvers, staking up all sorts of ways to make it through the busy intersection. Bicyclists and scooters just kind of went wherever they felt like it. A couple interesting things about the RATP buses, is that they have a warning bell that the driver can activate (or is activated by the right turn) that sounds 4 times before the bus turns. Also saw some buses that were in some kind of dedicated service on a line 66, as they had the line 66 signs wrapped onto the coach. They were older coaches that only had a front destination sign  so the wrap signs may have helped fill the gap. The train to Bayoux consisted of about a dozen corail type coaches, and no food service as best as we could tell. After lugging the luggage onto the train, we took a seat. However new SNCF policy is that while you don't need a seat reservation, if you do get one, they don't post which seats are reserved and which are not. This caused some confusion on the parts of ourselves and other riders. It seems if you have the seat reserved you kick the unreserved occupant out of your seat.

The ride to Bayoux was nice, the equipment rode well and went around 120kph for the duration of the trip. Upon arrival in bayoux, we checked into the hotel and returned to the train station to watch a parade of local and regional trains, consisting of Diesel DMU sets in 3 car articulated, and 2 DMU coupled sets, Electric  4 car EMU sets and a couple of locomotive hauled trains pass through. After a while we decided to move on, passing y the large cathedral in town and having dinner. After dinner we walked though the old town and returned to our hotel.

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Eurostar E320 at London St. Pancras

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Paris RER “E” Line Train at Paris Magenta

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