As a child I remember counting the rail cars while stopped at a crossing, and it was a very special treat to see an old locomotive under full steam. Now as an engineer (and no, not the train type of engineer!) I find myself involved in various transit and light rail projects over the course of my career. The whistle of a distant train still evokes a smile on my face.
During our trip through Europe we thought it would be fun to ride the train from London to Paris. The Eurostar runs non-stop from the International Station in London (to which we rode in the "Tube" or London's subway. Yes, more trains!) into the heart of Paris, arriving about 2 hours and 15 minutes after pulling away in London.
|I think the caption for this picture is either "I've got a ticket to ride", or "I'm going to Paris!"|
|Paris' Gard du Nord station, our destination|
|The train schedule board in Paris. Every so many minutes the letters and numbers would flip and the changes would cascade down the face of the panel.|
|The Thalys train in Paris, going to Rotterdam|
|Inside the passenger car|
We chose First Class, partly because we were late in obtaining our tickets and they couldn't guarantee we would sit together, and we thought it would be cool. It was! The seats were very comfortable (two on one side and one on the other side of the aisle), a meal was included, as were glasses of wine.
|Arrival at Rotterdam station|
All the trains in Europe are electric. I took this picture simply because I was designing similar structures that support overhead wires for the new train out to Denver's airport.
I highly recommend riding the rails in Europe. As the old Western Airlines commercial (with the cigar-smoking bird) said, "It's the only way to fly!"