Friday, 18 November 2016

fbb Makes a Mistake ... AGAIN

And is Put Right by an Audience Member?
Wednesday last was the evening of fbb's address to the Thorncombe Rail Activities Club (TRAC).
Part One (before tea and cake) was a quick-hop tour of Paris by bus, passing close to all but two of the railway termini that ring the city centre. The virtual tour joined gas-bus 24 at Bercy and followed the route along the banks of the Seine to Gare St Lazare..
The third "main line" station to record was just off the route on Place de la Bastille.
Here a monument commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison when an armed mob released just seven prisoners and began the process that became the French Revolution, The line, via Boissy St Leger ...
... opened in 1859 with a terminus just across the square from the monument.
On-line, fbb found an old postcard shown here:-
Note the title, "Gare de Vincennes, Place de la Bastille". Also dredged from the bowels of the internet was an old map of the Paris city rail network showing the circle line, La Petite Ceinture. fbb duly adorned this with a bright blue and white label by way of emphasis.
The red bit creeping into the bottom left hand corner is a tiny chunk of bus route 24, also added to the old map by your old blogger and old guest speaker.

As the talk progressed, came there a polite interruption from a chap near the back; comments had been invited by Mr Speaker. "I think the station was called Gare de Bastille NOT Vincennes," he asserted.

Collapse of stout party at the front. fbb was embarrassed and not a little flummoxed. It turned out that his critic has been there, actually used the station and was insistent that its "Gare de Bastille" name was "in the timetable".

fbb muttered something about a possible name change early in the line's history and moved quickly on. Yesterday morning, the day after the débacle, fbb did some more research.

The line now forms part of RER cross-city line A ...
... which shows a Vincennes station. But not the same as the former terminus. This chunk of a very old timetables explains.
In 1969 the project to incorporate this line into the new cross-city RER line A began with a diversion from Vincennes via a new tunnel which would eventually run through to La Défense.
The old line and intermediate stations at St Mandé, Bel Air, and Reilly were closed.
The terminal station Bastille was demolished ...
... and much of the approach viaduct turned in to a parkland walkway.
The Place de la Bastille site has been filled with an Opera House ...
... where you can dare (oser), desire (désirer) and tremble (frémir). Sounds a bit too scary for fbb!

So the question remains unanswered. Are the old map and the old postcards wrong? Was the station EVER called Gare de Vincennes? Did fbb look like a pompous idiot (no further comment allowed!)? Was his "agent provocateur" at Thorncombe totally correct?
The other (correct?) Gare de Vincennes has also changed quite a bit; from then:-
... to now - above ground just an entrance ...
... with all the rest hidden below.
Will the TRAC members ever forgive their guest speaker for his appalling error - if it was one? Here an alert member (?) wonders quizzically what his reaction should be.
But if you ask Google for pictures of Gare Vincennes or Gare de Vincennes, you get oodles of versions of the terminus on Place de la Bastille!
Curiouser and curiouser?

 Next Peterborough Blog : Saturday 19th November 

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