Steel train, with a bit of luck

How much luck do you need to see the only weekly freight train, if you don’t even know when it is scheduled? A lot… and the resulting photo is usually a panic shot, while out of breath trying to frame decently ánd get the settings right.

No different on April 11th of this year when after shooting an intercités from Paris to Belfort, one member of our group of three suddenly noticed something in the distance. Someone else thinks it looks like a train, informs the others of his conclusion… that must be about the process before you all start running like a bunch of… Anyway, out of breath we managed to get a rather decent shot of the weekly train connecting Blainville and Port d’Atelier.


For those of you wanting to be prepared: we made this shot at Montureux-lès-Baulay on a Saturday around 11.15am. Good luck with a more controlled shot!

Deciding what to do next was easy: try to get a better shot of this train! It’s destination is only a short drive from our current location, so the decision was quickly made. In Port d’Atelier, the locomotive was already pushing the train towards it’s client, the Conflandey Industries site.


Dropping of the train and hooking up a new one happened quickly, but we managed to get a couple of shots of the train between the rolls of steel wire, and while exiting towards the station.

AKIEM 75102 (CFLCA)D150306 AKIEM 75102 (CFLCA) Port-d'Atelier-Amance 11.4.2015

The station of Port d’Atelier has obviously seen a lot more activity. Today though, the number of tracks seems more than sufficient for the few passenger trains and single cargo train.

D150311 AKIEM 75102 (CFLCA) Port-d'Atelier-Amance 11.4.2015

The CFL staff put the engine on the other side of the train very efficiently so it would be ready to leave after the next passenger train to Paris. We would try to get a photo of both, but not before making a photo including some more French national pride.


The desired scenario played flawlessly: after shooting the intercités to Paris at vintage looking Rosières-sur-Mance we didn’t have to wait long for capturing the steel train heading to Blainville.

D150319 AKIEM 75102 (CFLCA) Rosières-sur-Mance 11.4.2015

Sometimes, all you need is a bit of luck. Besides the massive amount of patience, of course.

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