Old level crossing
The evening before, I headed to Troyes. Not coincidentally, Troyes is a stop on France’s ligne 4… and Sundays were still a good day to watch the loco-hauled trains between Paris and Belfort. I was going to explore the stretch north of Troyes, south of Longueville, by then one of the last stretches of the line I hadn’t explored. I had seen some nice photos, buut I didn’t want to limit myself to those locations. I kept them in mind, just in case, and started driving. First stop would be Savières. The old house of the level crossing keeper was a good background for the first train to Paris.
Where time stood still
On this dark day, the photos could use some happy touch. This happy touch found shape in the form of autumn’s seasonal colors. Second actor on stage was the station of Saint-Mesmin, where time has stopped counting a while ago. Third actor on stage, making the picture complete, was the vintage train from Paris. I must say I enjoyed the show.
We want more
More autumn colors, please! We stay in Saint-Mesmin for the next train was scheduled shortly after the previous shot. The bridge north of the station was the perfect location to capture a train in between the abundantly colored foliage.
Where time didn’t stand still
When visiting ligne 4, I use the timetable and train numbers to determine which trains are hauled by CC72000 engines. That has proven to be an accurate method, but doesn’t work all the time. The next 2 pictures are proof of this. I was expecting quite a different train… but the surroundings still make for a nice photo. Here we see a train to Paris, passing the old station of Marnay-sur-Seine.
Next train was also a surprise. Well, it was not wat I had expected, like the previous one. Or was I the subject of some wishful thinking? Anyway, the location was nice enough to still make for a good photo.
Early clicking necessary
For the next photo, I wanted to make my version of some photos I had seen before. Location is Chalmaison, where a dog was doing his best to protect his master’s property… constantly barking at me. Note: I wasn’t trying to break into his master’s house, I was just standing on a public bridge.
So, I’ve had more enjoyable times waiting for a train. To make matters worse, sun and clouds were fighting for some place in the sky, with the clouds winning just as the train was coming. Early clicking resulted in the first sunny photo of the day. After which I happily continued to the next spot.
The castle of Flamboin dates from the sixteenth century. I got to see it from a distance from where I was standing, though I’m not sure the passengers got even a glimpse of it as the train to Paris raced through the station of Flamboin-Gouaix. The station is deserted for a while now, as is the railway line connecting Flamboin-Gouaix to Montereau. The switches on this photo still remind of the line’s existence.
148 years, 6 months and 0 days. For that long trains have been passing over the viaduct of Besnard in Longueville. I absolutely wanted a photo of this magnificent structure. It took me a while to find a good location, but I was way on time for the train from Paris.
A lost battle
It was getting darker and darker. The clouds had finally won the battle with the sun.
Only one bundle of rays of sunshine enlighted the forest behind the viaduct of Besnard. While I kept on hoping on some sunshine at the right time on the right spot, it soon became clear that the nice part of the day was over. The train to Paris passed in difficult light conditions, especially for a distant shot like this. The bright colors of the viaduct, and the grey train, luckily stand out in front of the dark forest in the background.
This is probably the last photo I made of these magnificent French diesel locomotives in commercial service. As the pack of clouds was getting thcker and thicker, and the sun was starting to set, I kept on going for that one final shot. On the bridge over the railway at Maison-Rouge I enjoyed for the last time the thundering sound at high speed of a CC72000 with an intercity train. At the time of publishing this article, part of the services on ligne 4 have been replaced by Alstom’s new Coradia trainsets.