Old 09-30-2007, 05:01 PM   #1
Wizzo
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Oxford, UK
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Default French Trip

Spent a week in deepest France and managed to do some photography while there (note most of the photos here have been resized and saved at lower qualtity to improve loading times)

After doing some research I found there was a large viaduct (designed by Eifel) at Busseau sur Creuse near Gueret so spent an afternoon around there. The weather was good, but I couldn't find a decent spot for the westbound loco hauled service due in the early afternoon. Eventually I settled on taking it at the junction with the branch for Felletin

http://usera.imagecave.com/dancest01...028_upload.jpg

Unfortunately its backlit, but the loco (BB 67400) was still in original blue livery, and there aren't too many of them left these days.

After moving up to the best location above the viaduct, I had a disaster when the eastbound loco hauled turned up - the auto focus just would not lock onto the viaduct, and the resulting shot was bad and I had to settle for a shot of the next westbound train which was a single car autorail. This shot got accepted to RP

Image © Stephen Dance
PhotoID: 203470
Photograph © Stephen Dance


The next opportunity for some rail action was at a small town called La Souterraine which is on the Limoges - Toulouse main line. It was lunch time, so the sun was quite high, and the only train seen was a local formed by 2 Z2 type EMU's. The sun was directly aligned on the nose of southbound trains, so an added bonus was that this service arrived wrong line and then crossed back to the other track in the station

http://usera.imagecave.com/dancest01...044_upload.jpg

I'd found from a French railfan site that there were still some workings formed by X2800 autorails in the area. If you don't know these units, they're impressive, with a throaty, very loud MGO engine and hydraulic transmission. In full cry up a gradient, they are far louder than most locos. One unit was supposed to be stabled in Gueret station most of the afternoon each weekday, but when we called in, all we found was an X2200

http://usera.imagecave.com/dancest01...045_upload.jpg

Gueret station area is not particularly photogenic, but manual signalling survives as seen in the picture

The branch to Felletin is the truncated remains of the line from Busseau sur Creuse to Ussel. The section south of Felletin closed in 1980. The remaining section is supported by timber traffic, the yard at Felletin being full of loaded wagons when we visted.

Passenger traffic consists of 1 train each way a day, but on weekdays they are early morning and evening, so the light is not good except in summer. On Saturdays however, a train leaves Felletin around midday.

The weather was not kind - full dull and rain in the air, so B&W looks better than colour

http://usera.imagecave.com/dancest01...048_upload.jpg

The line passes through another small town at Aubusson, where it tunnels under a ridge of land before reaching the station. The light was even worse here, so I had to switch to ISO 400

http://usera.imagecave.com/dancest01...050_upload.jpg

Another visit to the Busseau sur Creuse viaduct gave me the opportunity to shoot that loco hauled again, but this time the sun wouldn't come out

http://usera.imagecave.com/dancest01...100_upload.jpg

Finally, on the way back to the ferry we stopped at a station called Sees as we had time to kill. It had been pouring with rain, but with bright sunshine between the showers.

2 trains were due within an hour. The first a local passenger service for Alencon turned up formed of an X4750 autorail. Light was bad, so here I've used 2 exposures from the same RAW image and combined them



By the time the next service arrived - a loco hauled for Caen, the rain had stopped and the sun had come out. The lighting was dramatic, but the sun had dropped too low to shine on the train, but the station building is attactive with alternate colour bands of brickwork highlighted.



There was also a rainbow, but again, it wasn't possible to get a really good shot as the sun was too low

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Last edited by Wizzo; 10-01-2007 at 03:49 PM.
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