SNCF’s magnificently engineered high-speed railways lines (known as the LGV) permit its TGV high-speed trains to reach speeds of approximately 200 mph on select portions of the network.
On 26 April 2016, I traveled from Brussels to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport where I met my father who was arriving from Iceland, and we continued by train to Bordeaux. This was part of a three-week railway adventure across central Europe.
I made these views with my Lumix LX7.
SNCF’s TGVs are among the high speed trains featured in my new Railway Guide to Europe published by Kalmbach Publishing.
It was two years ago today (22 April, 2018), that I made my second visit to Valenciennes, France.
Although it was dull, I worked with my Lumix to make these views of SNCF’s TGV high-speed sets at the Valenciennes former Nord railway station.
Not every day is bright and sunny; not every city is blessed with world-class wonders; and not every high-speed train is moving fast.
Valenciennes has a nice old station and a showcase small-city modern tram system.
Later in the day, I caught up with my Finnish friend Mauno Pajunen, and toured Belgian railway sites in the region.
Over the next few days , I made a high-speed railway journey to Bordeaux and and then through the Channel Tunnel to London—all part of my exploration that contributed to the content of my latest book; Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe.
Yesterday I received my copy of the January 2018 Trains Magazine that features my most recent column.
Using my Lumix LX7, I made the photo illustrating my text on-board an SNCF TGV high-speed service from Brussels to Lille back in April 2017.
Below is a view of the same train at sunrise in Brussels prior to departure. Although unstated in the article, this was part of a trip across Europe during my research for my up-coming book on European Railway travel.
Société National de Chemin de Fer’s Trains à Grande Vitesse is 35 years old.
Last month (April 2016) I made a series of trips across France on SNCF’s TGV, a means of flying by rail.
And, yes the speed is impressive: it makes the Acela Express seem like it’s coasting.
Here are just a sampling of my Lumix LX7 images from and of SNCF’s TGV and its stations.
I wrote about the TGV in my book Bullet Trains published by MBI in 2001.
Here’s an excerpt of the text on TGV:
In conjunction with the construction of the new high speed railway called the Lignes à Grande Vitesse (LGV), SNCF developed of the Trains à Grande Vitesse (TGV), an entirely new high speed train. When discussing the French system the LGV refers to the new high speed infrastructure, including the tracks, while TGV refers to the high speed railway technology, including the trains themselves.
The railways around Karlsruhe, Germany are some of the most versatile and most thoroughly integrated in the world.
Karlsruhe was the pioneer of the ‘Tram-train concept,’ which enabled trams to utilize the heavy rail network.
As a result, trams can travel on city streets and reach beyond using the DB network.
Rastatt, south of Karlsruhe is a busy place where you can see high-speed passenger trains, Intercity and Regional Express passenger trains, freights, and Karlsruhe tram-trains using the same rails.
I made these views of a French TGV and tram-trains in April 2016 using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. It was a bright morning and nearly ideal for photography.
The imaging challenge at Rastatt is making the shadows work for you and not against you. The curve of line, platform canopies and shadows cast by catenary masts and wires all result in visual elements that can make or break an image.
October 1, 2015 was a beautifully clear autumn day in northern France. Following my talk to the European Railway Agency, my host Mauno Pajunen gave me a guided tour of the Gare de Valenciennes.
Historically this region had been rich with coal, and this made for a busy railway. Today, the coal business is all but extinct, and SNCF appeared to be largely focused on passengers, although we saw a unit grain train, and a Vossloh diesel shunting the goods yard.
The station was built in 1906 by Chemin de fer du Nord (the northern railway of France) and has a handsome period exterior. Inside the station has been stripped of much of its traditional décor.
I was pleased to find one of the original TGV PSE high-speed sets outside. These trains defined France’s innovative high-speed rail in the early 1980s, but the design is now 35 years old, and the train itself was exhibiting the signs of heavy use.
In addition to these digital photos, I also exposed several 35mm colour slides. Although, I’ve visited France on various occasions, I have comparatively few images of SNCF.
I exposed this image of a Thalys at speed crossing a arched bridge over Hollands Diep minutes before the fading orange ball of the sun melted into North Sea coastal fog.
Thalys is an international high-speed train branding applied to services connecting Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris, and Köln-Brussels-Paris. Technologically speaking the train is a French-built TGV, but specially painted and decorated for Thalys services.
This was an evening run from Amsterdam to Paris. Hollands Diep is the coastal estuary fed by Rhein and Meuse Rivers. This bridge features a pronounced sweep up and over the water. Beyond it is an older (and busier) truss that has two main tracks for ordinary rail services (freight and passenger).
I panned this train with my Canon EOS 7D fitted with f2.8 200mm fixed telephoto. The light was fading rapidly, so I set the ISO to 800, adjusted the white balance manually and pre-focused in anticipation of the fast moving train. My exposure was f4 at 1/250 of a second.
Earlier in the evening I’d seen a Thalys fly across the bridge and I recognized that the structure of the bridge mimicked the paint scheme on the train, so I released the shutter to allow for an arching visual flow between train and bridge. This is accentuated by the low light.