Brittany - journey to Cherbourg
A French journey
6 / 7 August 1992
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In August 1992 I paid a brief visit to southern Brittany. I had been picked up from Cherbourg on the outward journey - to return, I would make the cross- country journey by rail - and a most interesting trip it was. On the day before my return, I paid a visit to Questembert, and spent an hour or so on the station, on the basis of "let's see what's going on". Despite being an electrified main line - the route to Lorient and Quimper - traffic is in fact fairly sparse - but when the trains arrive or pass, they are substantial trains... My afternoon was made much more pleasant by the SNCF staff, who, after enquiring politely about my activities with the camera, asked "vous aimez le café?", and invited me into their bothy to drink strong black coffee (from a wine glass) while discussing the relative merits (with some difficulty on my part - and theirs, come to think of it) of British and French railways, alcohol etc. The following day, I was delivered to Redon at a seriously early hour in the
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
morning, and began my journey. Firstly, a diesel-hauled (loco no. 72066) train to Rennes (and the chance of a few photos), thence by DMU via such places as Dol-de- Bretagne, Avranches, Countances and St Lô to Lison, on the main line from Paris to Cherbourg. I should mention that the DMU was a most comfortable vehicle, with bay-type seating offering plenty of leg-room, and windows arranged so that the passenger can watch the very pleasant scenery pass by. While lacking the acceleration of a modern British unit, this was clearly design by railwayman rather than accountant... I had plenty of time at Lison to photograph a few passing trains, including the gas-turbine powered unit which hurtled through, and to grab a drink at the nearby cafe, before boarding my Cherbourg train, once again diesel-hauled, this time by a pair of locomotives, led by no. 67509 (the line has since been electrified). On arrival at Cherbourg, I grabbed one or two more photographs before walking to the ferry (I had plenty of time) for the journey back to Portsmouth.  
TGV at Questembert Classic French passenger train at Questembert (no. 25210) GTMU Questembert goods shed ...passing through Questembert 72066 - cold light of dawn at Redon Arrival at Rennes - warming up a little... TGV at Rennes Boarding a TGV, Rennes Rennes station pilot - Y.8251 My DMU - on arrival at Lison An earlier style - DMU at Lison Engineer's train - BB63571 at Lison Cherbourg train - 67509 leading Paris train at Cherbourg - 67472 On Cherbourg depot - BB66181 and 67534