I have returned and survived my trip to Normandy. We spent most of our time in Rouen with side excursions to the coast including the D Day beaches. It was all very awesome and we hope to go back to France and see more of Europe in the future. We also took a day trip to Paris. The trip we made to Paris was by train. While Rouen is not on a TGV line the regular service ran very fast and often. The trip from Rouen to Paris is about the same distance as Milwaukee is to Chicago. The fares were very reasonable in fact by buying our tickets for a specific train before we left for France, we paid less for 1st class than we would of for 2nd class if we bought on the day we went. I think it was around $20 round trip each. The train to Paris had modern air conditioned stainless steel coaches with picture windows. This train originated in Rouen and left right on time. We made about five stops on our way to Paris but we cruised at over 100mph and made very good time. Outside Rouen there was a very large dead line of old locomotives probably headed to scrap. One thing that we have in common with Europe is that most of the freight cars are covered in graffiti, in fact I was very surprised at the amount of graffiti all over the place. Most every bridge, retaining wall, and noise walls along regular roads and expressways are covered in the stuff. This extends to suburbs, towns, and even out in the country. Anyway we pulled into Paris on time in one hour 18 min. We spend most of a unseasonably warm day on the upper deck of a tour bus. We did get to see most of the more popular sites but did not have time to enter them. We returned to Gare St. Lazaire the station we arrived at for our 5:45 departure back to Rouen. There seemed to be some sort of issue with the trains as some of them backed up 5 to 10 minutes. They were making constant announcements but they were a little to fast for my wife to make out. There were a lot of people looking at the departure screens looking for track assignment for their trains. I think they may have been having switching issues but I’m not sure. We finally were assigned a track but I noticed the train had been sitting there. We walked up to the train and I didn’t believe we had the right one. This thing was a double deck non air conditioned bomb with threadbare seats. I was really shocked. I thought all the trains in Europe were far superior to anything here. We went back and double checked and sure enough this was it. Really surprising was this train was going nonstop to Rouen then continued to La Harve on the coast. So we pulled out only a couple of minutes late none to soon for me as the train had been in the yard sitting in the hot sun all day waiting for me. The windows opened from the top down, then you could pull a screen/shade to cut down on the draft. Old as it was it was still clean and rode smooth, running over 100mph was interesting with the open windows. We made it back to Rouen in a little over an hour. We have a friend who is French and lives in Rouen, the next day when I told him about the trip back he was surprised. The train we rode on was used mostly on commuter runs and he described them with a colorful metaphor. I think it was a last minute substitution to keep the service closest to on time as possible.
BIG NEWS. We have a possible place to set up! The space is not free and would require a dues increase. We would ask all club members who can to come to the next meeting on October 27th so we can get your input. We could have a Antioch size layout close to home. For those of you who remember our days in Bensenville we could return to the weekly running session. This is a great opportunity if it works out.
Trainfest is November 10th and 11th. Set up will be on the 9th. As always we are looking for all the help we can get for set up and teardown along with running trains during the show. NOTE This is a return to the large size layouts of the past, not the puny thing last year. Final arrangements will be made at the October meeting.
World’s Greatest Hobby show will be in Schaumburg on January 5th & 6th with set up on the 4th. This is an official call for modules. We have a large space to fill and need all the modules we can get! I will be the coordinator for this show. I will have two co-coordinators Joe M. and Joe R. from Mantrak.
The N scale enthusiast show will be in Rosemont with set up later in the day on Wednesday June 26th. The layout will be up and running Thursday to Saturday June 27th through 29th. Tear down will be after running on Saturday.
Happy Model Railroading
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