Take a Ride on SNCF.

On 21 April 2016, I had my First Class France Rail Pass Flexi validated at Basel, Switzerland.

My goal was by the first evening to reach Valenciennes (a city in northern France near the Belgian border) using only regional trains, rather than the TGV (plenty of opportunity for high speed travel later in my trip).

I found the challenge as in making local connections since these days SNCF focuses long-distance passengers onto high-speed routes. All very well, unless you want to experience secondary lines and ride trains off-the well-beaten path.

Thanks to Stephen Hirsch and Denis McCabe who helped with my planning, I traveled on a series of TER trains.

After four train-changes reached my destination 15 hours after I boarded the first train on the French side of Basel’s main station.

My first SNCF train was a loco-hauled push-pull service from Basel to Strasbourg. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.
My first SNCF train was a loco-hauled push-pull service from Basel to Strasbourg. Exposed with my Lumix LX7.
Among the benefits of SNCF's secondary trains are large windows, ample space for luggage, and no requirement for advanced reservations which allows for spontaneous travel.
Among the benefits of SNCF’s secondary trains are large windows, ample space for luggage, and no requirement for advanced reservations which allows for spontaneous travel.
I made good use of my pass, and proved a much better value than buying single tickets.
I made good use of my pass, and proved a much better value than buying single tickets.
Old school comfort. Proper 1st class railway travel. Lumix LX7 photo.
Old school comfort. Proper 1st class railway travel. Lumix LX7 photo.
Lumix LX7 photo; focus setting on 'manual'.
Lumix LX7 photo; focus setting on ‘manual’.
A rolling panorama of the French landscape.
A rolling panorama of the French landscape.
Plenty of locomotives and trains to be viewed from the window of the train.
Plenty of locomotives and trains to be viewed from the window of the train.

SNCF_View_from_train_at_Strasbourg_P1440869

Tracking the Light posts every day.

One comment on “Take a Ride on SNCF.

  1. Anonymous on said:

    Riding trains in France is so much fun!!