17th March 2001
Hertfordshire Rail Tours
(Eurostar to Paris)
|Eurostars Used||3021/22 & 3229/30|
9021 : London Waterloo - Paris Gare du Nord
9053 : Paris Gare du Nord - London Waterloo
|3229 + 3230||London Waterloo - Brixton - Beckenham Junction - Bickley Jn - Petts Wood Jn - Orpington - Sevenoaks - Tonbridge - Paddock Wood - Ashford International - Channel Tunnel - (via TGV line) - Paris Gare du Nord|
|3021 + 3022||Paris Gare du Nord - (via TGV line) - Channel Tunnel - (revere of outward route) - London Waterloo|
The return run was delayed near Calais Frethun due to the Eurostar tripping a Hot Axlebox Detector.
Source : David Clark
(on the train throughout)
(by David Clark)
After a March without railtours but dubious alternative nights, it was back to the railtour scene with a railtour to Paris. This was supposed to be the first in a long line of tours to the French Capital. However, due to the success of the tours this was the third of six tours to Paris.
The train was due to depart Waterloo and 1053 and so we departed home at 5am. For how much longer can my body take these dubious departure and arrival times in my bed!!!! We encountered blizzards, van drivers with no brain power, and lorry drivers who had as much sense and competence as a 10 year old kid. We drove down to Hendon, and headed for the tube, but not before a lorry decided to explode and emit more clag on to Hendon high street than what many kettles and Deltics could ever achieve!!!
We got to Waterloo in plenty of time, and had breakfast, visited the Ian Allan shop, and awaited check in. No problems were encountered in check in, and we boarded the train around 1045. The set was 3229/3230. We departed at 1052, and headed through the South London Suburbs, and on to the Main line to Dover at Petts Wood Jct. Temporary speed restrictions were in evidence between Paddock Wood and Ashford. 375624 and 625 were seen at Ashford, and 60041 was seen at Sevington. We passed Continental Jct at 1257, and numerous 92s were seen at Dollands Moor including 92009 “Elgar” and an EWS liveried machine.
AU REVOIR L’ANGLETERRE ET, BIENVENUE A FRANCE
We entered the tunnel at 1201 / 1301 CET, and left the tunnel at 1323 (all times now are CET). We picked up speed pretty quickly and after having most trains stop at Lille we past through at 1350, and headed south west towards Paris. By 1430 we were approaching the Parisian Suburbs and by 1444 were passing Landy Eurostar depot with numerous Eurostars and TGV’s on display. We had heard that we were likely to get a different unit for the return, so with 3999 on the depot that would have been excellent!!!
We arrived Paris Gare Du Nord at 1447 with numerous Eurostars and TGV’s evident. We found the buses and went on to the top deck. Oh they were open top buses too, and it was forecast rain too!!! We finally departed and went round Paris with numerous Parisian women, tourists and clothes shops seen. Little did I realise but the French system of driving is totally unorganised and chaotic, and at most roundabouts it was a case of just going on to it and hoping for the best.
We passed the following (in order I think); Opera, Place de la Madeline, Palais De L’Elysees, Down the avenue des champs Elysees, Arc De Triomphe (and the first dubious roundabout), Eiffel Tower (more times than what we passed Clapham Jct on the Southern Suburban), Musee d’Orsay, Palais Du Louvre, Cathedrale Notre-Dame before returning to Gare Du Nord. We also saw the Courtrooms and also the resting place of Napoleon. The River Seine was very high and it was clear that numerous paths were under the water. We did not however, to my knowledge, see the tunnel in which Lady Diana Spencer (not the 47712) suffered her tragic accident.
With 20 minutes left, the heavens opened up and we got soaked. But we got a far better view from the top than underneath. We had enough time to get some tea (and find out the French had been given a lesson in Rugby by the Welsh) before checking in. Once passed Passport Control it was clear that there was no u-turn allowed. Security was tight, so how did the Illegal Immigrants get on to the eurostar???
Our set for the return was 3021/3022, but due to problems with catering we departed at 1850 (7 down). We picked up speed through the suburbs, the heavens looked bleak. However, a young child was heard singing on departure from Paris, and this got me concerned as the previous tour in which a child was heard singing on departure, was then time in which we ended up in Woking for two hours. We passed through Lille at 1946 but just outside Calais we were stopped. We had triggered a HABD, so we sat there 47 minutes, before heading in to the station for a further 16 minutes. It was found out that the detector was faulty!!!!! So its not only on Railtrack metals where it occurs. Anyway two Eastleigh drivers stopped and talked, and were discussing the Mid Hants Diesel Gala, and they had been on our open top bus.
BYE FRANCE AND WELCOME HOME ENGLAND
So here we were back in to English soil, England’s green and pleasant land, and the Foot and Mouth epidemic strife, and not to forget Gauge Corner Cracking!!!!!! We came out of the tunnel at 2052, passed Ashford, getting stuck behind a local as far as Tonbridge, and returned to London, the same route as we took on the outbound journey. We finally arrived at Waterloo at 2206. We got through passport control and o to the tube. After Leicester Square the tube was packed as a result of St Paddy’s Day (it sounds better than St Patrick’s Day). Quite a few drunk young men decided it would be fun to push each other off the tube at the stations. Hmmm. Not the behaviour one expects!!
We drove back from Hendon through more snow, rain and after a couple of stops, we arrived back in to Scunthorpe at 0300. On reflection, it was an excellent tour. Paris was very nice and even though the French people did not want MC Donalds there were plenty of them in the capital!!!
David Clark (2001)
Timings (booked & actual)
(by David Clark)
|KM||Timing Point||Booked Timings||Actual Timings|
|3||Nine Elms Jct||10:58||10:57|
|Linford Street Jct||10:59||10:58|
|Voltaire Road Jct||11:00||10:59|
|Petts Wood Jct||11:13||11:13|
|110||English Tunnel Portal (time change)||12:02||12:01|
|161||French Tunnel Portal||13:29||13:21|
|276||Sainghin (Fretun Sud)||13:58|
|363||TGV Haute Picardie||14:18||14:16|
|399||Ressons Sur Matz||14:26|
|474||Villiers le Bel||14:44|
|490||PARIS GARE DU NORD||14:53||14:47|
|KM||Timing Point||Booked Timings||Actual Timings|
|0||PARIS GARE DU NORD||18:43||18:50|
|16||Villiers le Bel||18:52||18:59|
|91||Ressons Sur Matz||19:10|
|127||TGV Haute Picardie||19:17||19:24|
|214||Sainghin (Fretun Sud)||19:38|
|326||Calais Frethun||20:06||21:04 / 21:21|
|329||French Tunnel Portal||20:07||21:28|
|380||English Tunnel Portal (time change)||19:29||20:52|
|400||Ashford International||19:41 / 19:43||21:01|
|Petts Wood Jct||20:23||21:41|
|Voltaire Road Jct||20:36||21:58|
|Linford Street Jct||20:37||21:59|
|487||Nine Elms Jct||20:38||22:00|
a : arrival time
d : departure time
/ : passing time
All distances, in kilometres, are taken from the timing sheet given out on the train. No attempt has been made to verify the distances given.
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