Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wednesday 4 January - Tramtrains

My plan today was to ride the T4 tram train from Aulnay sous Bois to Bondy then go on to Noissy le Sec and on from there.  Things did not work out that way however. RER line B took me out to Aulnay sous Bois from the Gare du Nord. As we arrived at Drancy the doors opened and I heard the air raid siren sounding off in the street - it was 1200 and the sirens are tested at this time. This terrible sound is the first thing I can remember and I have always hated it as it brings back unpleasant memories.
Tramtrain at Aulnay sous Bois

These are pretty nice trains made up of five units. There are just four sets of wheels, being at the front and back and in the second and fourth unit,  They are not articulated but the front and back units are "hung" on the second and fourth units. Service is good varying from 5 minutes in the peak to 10 minutes in the off peak.
When I arrived at Bondy I was treated to the unusual sight of a TGV for Reims standing in the platform at a signal. An ICE from Germany went through at a very slow speed.
This was not a good sign and the station announcements said there was a signal failure at Magenta which is close to the Gare du Nord. Bondy is on the outskirts and the suburban trains were all shown as being delayed.  With an enormous crowd building up on the platform I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and took the first tramtrain back to Aulnay sous Bois

At Aulnay sous Bois the only way was to catch a train back to the Gare du Nord which was chaotic.
Train to Amiens under Monet's train shed
I took a look at the street are outside the station.

Rather than fight my way through the Gare du Nord I walked to the rue Magentas with its wedding and formal wear shops and took the No. 30 bus back to Villiers.  The bus was very full.  There was a party of a dozen or so kindergarden kids all with yellow security vests.  They all got off at Place de Clichy where a party of similarly aged and equipped kids were waiting to get on.  Mass confusion while the supervisors were trying to separate the kids who were all wearing identical colored vests. The bus was full with women shoppers, nearly each one had a two wheeled shopping cart which took up a lot of room.

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