First Find Your Station??
But, even before that challenge ...
... we take a sort-of cab ride from Saint-Germain-en-Laye to Saint-Cyr using stills from a YouTube video. Readers should be warned that the quality is poor. The originals were shot through two layers of glass and using a "long" lens which leads to significant foreshortening of the picture.
From the point of view of the video, this has the effect of making the tram's speed seem about the same as fbb's walking pace on a good day.
The journey takes about 30 minutes and we start from the Saint Germain terminus. fbb will concentrate on the "tram" section as the reconstituted rail route is, apart from the minimalist "stations", very "ordinary".
Saint Germain depart travelling north
Long station-less run along Route des Loges
There are loads of crossings, both footpath and roads, all of which lead into the forest on the right. They are all protected by tram and path/road signals.
Sharp Left to travel west
Right handed "tram" running is confirmed!
First stop - Camp des Loges
Sharp left again - travelling south
VERY complex and busy road junction!
Voltage change! Railway signalling. Change to left hand running.Entering the former Saint Germain Grande Ceinture station now renamed. Note low tram platforms replacing high train platforms (above, lower left) Left hand running confirmed!
St Leger Viaduct
Here the foreshortening effect of the camera lens is very clear - it is actually quite a long viaduct! Forqueux-Bel-Air, up on the viaduct's approaches L'Etang Les Sablons
Just an ordinary tram-stop! No previous station.
It is in the Foret de Marly.
There are plenty of crossovers to allow flexible working in case of breakdown or track repairs.
Junction at St Nom
This offers a link with the terminus of the Transilien line L branch. Remember, it terminates at St Nom?
So, in theory, you could drive a tram all the way to Gare St Lazare in Paris - although passengers could not alight at any of the many high platforms!
We move quickly on to near the St Cyr terminus.
Former Saint Cyr Grande Ceinture station Junction - turn left for depot
followed by a sharp right ...
... a steep climb (the vandals have already been at it!) ...
... a splendid scissors crossover and ...
Arrival at Saint-Cyr
With a smattering of passengers already waiting.
A Closer Look At Saint-Germain-en-Laye ...
... and the terminus of RER line A. And here it is!
No, no, fbb that is a bus
station! Can't you tell the difference?
It used to look like this with a splendid semi-circular booking hall ...
... with the station in a cutting beyond.
Google earth begins to give us a clue as to what has taken place. Look at the circular pathway in the parkland (photo above, upper right). Now look at a Google Earth shot.
Station gorn! But look at the finely manicured lawns ...
... and there is a subtle change of grass colour where once was a railway cutting. The railway is still there ...
... but the whole station has been moved underground.
Google maps shows the last stages of the cut-and-cover process.
So tram T13 runs in a brand new tunnel and terminates at new platforms as part of the new underground RER line A station?
So what does it do?
The terminus of T13 is there (yellow box) well short of the RER station.
But surely ...?
Well, before you burst with aghastness, SNCF have thought of that and, lo and behold ...
There is a covered walkway which takes tram passengers direct to the big train platforms.
S N C F claim the walk is just 2.5 minutes:-
... as explained in the pre-tram publicity.
Les quais du terminus offriront une correspondance directe avec le RER A, accessible en 2 minutes 30 grâce à un couloir éclairé doté de tapis roulants.
Traveolators as well!
Située en contrebas des terrasses du château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, votre future station sera à l’abri des regards depuis le château. La station vous permettra de rejoindre le Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, l'Hôtel de Ville, ainsi que le piscine intercommunale.
From "tapis roulant" and platform level it is up escalators, lifts ...
... and stairs to where there be loadsa buses.
Whilst not quite as super-duper as it could
be, it is a very good interchange facility. And, all the buses are there, waiting ...
... plus the "richesse"
of the town centre.
C'est magnifique, tout alors!
Next Variety blog : Saturday 30th July