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Blog : Posts tagged with 'station'

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Secret Passage

In which we look for some Parisian history


Every so often, search requests come in for things like “disused stations on the Paris Metro”. I’mk not entirely sure why, because this site doesn’t have very much content at all on that topic. All there is, in fact, is this post from a few years ago, which wasn’t really about disused Paris metro stations at all: it was more about all the various interconnection lines and mysterious secret underground depots that you can see from a passing train.

When I was in Paris the other week, though, I kept an eye out. Because there are the odd one or two disused stations on the Metro, even if there are fewer than on the London Underground. I kept my eyes open, and I spotted a couple.

Firstly, if you head north along Line 5, across the Seine and through Quai de la Rapée station, you will find that the line quickly disappears underground on its way to Bastille station.* Once in the tunnel, well-lit and easily spotted, there is a stretch of broad station tunnel, heavily graffitied like almost everything on the Paris metro. This is the remains of Arsenal station: off the top of my head, the only Paris Metro station to share a name with one on the London Underground.

Secondly, turn around back to Gare d’Austerlitz, then head westward on Line 10. Past Odéon, there’s a complex network of underground tunnels linking Line 10 to various other routes; the modern line has a complex history. And somewhere in-between all the various connections, past Mabillon station, there is another secret. Croix Rouge station, originally the terminus of the line. It’s harder to spot than Arsenal, but it is there.

Hopefully, then, if people come here looking to spot disused Parisian underground stations, here are a couple of hints. If you want to see what they look like inside, there are photos on the web, of course: where doesn’t have photos on the web nowadays? Alternatively, you might prefer it the other way: sit on the Metro, ignore the buskers and the beggars, and look out the window for a flash of abandoned platforms.

* incidentally, foundations of the original Bastille fortress are visible on the Line 5 platforms at that station.

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Photo post of the week

In which we go out in the snow


Another day with no morning bus services, and the roads gridlocked. I walked K to work, taking the camera with me, and watched a lorry get stuck on the hilly part of Bedminster Road. Trying to get towards Ashton, it stopped in a queue of traffic, then realised it couldn’t get started again without risking sliding back down the hill. It sat there, impotent, with its hazard lights flashing, as everyone else tried to drive round either side of it.

And then, I nearly broke a leg trying to take photos of the local station. Slipping at the top of the stairs, I grabbed the handrail frantically as my feet disappeared from underneath me. Best to stick to taking photos from the bridge, I thought.

Snowy industrial estate, Bedminster
Parson St station in snow

At least the train that came was – to a train geek – quite an interesting one. 2D04, from Taunton to Bristol, one of the services on the Taunton-Bristol-Cardiff route that runs with retro 1970s carriages restored to their original condition, although the engines are rather newer.

Class 67 no. 67016 hauling Mk3 carriages at Parson St station
Class 67 no. 67016 hauling Mk3 carriages at Parson St station

And finally: I’m sure it says in the Bible that the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Before we went to bed last night, we looked out of the window to see it snowing again, the street covered in a fresh pristine carpet. We couldn’t resist getting dressed again, and going out for another walk with the camera.

Night snow scene, Bedminster

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Photo post of the week

In which we visit the Bodmin & Wenford Railway


This week: it’s mostly trains.

Bodmin General engine shed, Bodmin & Wenford Railway Bodmin General station, Bodmin & Wenford Railway 4247 running on to its train, Bodmin General, Bodmin & Wenford Railway
4247 leaving Bodmin General, Bodmin & Wenford Railway Cab of 4247, Bodmin & Wenford Railway 33110 on shed, Bodmin & Wenford Railway

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Memories

In which we visit Bristol


A fortnight after our holiday, I’ve finally managed to start uploading our holiday photos. We went to Bristol, and photographed outlying parts of the large and rambling railway station.

Street furniture, Bristol Temple Meads Station, Bristol Temple Meads Station, Bristol Temple Meads Station, Bristol

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Scenes from the weekend

In which we describe the wintry countryside


Struggling, out of breath, up steep steps up a hillside; turning back and looking down to snap a quick photo. Reaching the top, and turning again to adore the view; gasping for breath in the cold January air. Wandering along the clifftop, past all the other Sunday walkers, and watching gliders taking off: the growl of the winch cutting out, then the whistle of the towline falling to ground, and the glider passing quietly overhead. A random dog jumping up my leg, as I stop to take a photograph of the glider.

A railway station in the depths of the countryside, with no trains, no trains at all today. The only village nearby is the single line of houses built because there’s a station here. It used to be a busy junction, but now it’s a quiet branch, most of the platforms decaying to grass, and rust on the rails. We wander along the platform, wondering if the people who live here now have spotted us. The signal at the platform end is red, and villagers are walking their dogs.

There are photos of all this, to come, but for now the ink polaroids will have to suffice.

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Neverwhere

In which we have a day out


On a hot summer day, there’s only one thing to, really: find somewhere dark to hide from it. So, I spent yesterday in the depths of London Below, or as close at least I’ve ever come to it. I was in the catacombs beneath London Bridge station, at a kind of floating market.*

It wasn’t really underground, of course. When the first railway into London was built, it was built as an elevated railway, entirely on a viaduct. Ever since, the arches and voids beneath the track have been rented out by the railway company, to dodgy car mechanics, mysterious fly-by-night businesses,** and nightclubs and event venues such as the one I visited yesterday, which was full of interesting-looking people selling interesting items, and giving talks on health and safety.

If there’s one thing that shocks and disgusts me, incidentally, it’s the prices in London nightclubs. The venue security staff did very thorough bag searches – not for security, though, but to prevent anyone bringing their own drinks in. Not just booze, but anything – they slowly built up a big pile of confiscated water bottles, bought as advised by constant announcements on every Tube station. Because otherwise, they would never have been able to sell 330ml bottles of water for a ridiculous £2.50. We sneaked out quickly to a nearby Starbucks whenever we wanted a drink – and nicked the Starbucks ashtrays to bring back with us, too, because the club didn’t have any of those either.

* It wasn’t actually bobbing up and down, of course. This paragraph will make more sense if you’ve ever read Neil Gaiman‘s Neverwhere.

** When the railway was first built the company tried to rent some out as houses, before discovering that nobody wanted to live in them.

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Wander

In which we walk from Islington to Bankside


I walked around London a lot last week. Wednesday, for example.

I started in Islington, along the canal, and wandered downwards. Past the remains of City Road underground station, through Clerkenwell and Farringdon to Smithfield, along Charterhouse Street and Grand Avenue. I walked under the restored Temple Bar to St Pauls. Then across the Millennium Bridge.

Some sort of film shoot was going on on the Millennium Bridge. A Bollywood movie, maybe, or a dance video. I lurked about with my camera, trying to work out what was going on.

Canal near Islington City Road station Grand Avenue, Smithfield Temple Bar St Pauls Millennium Bridge Millennium Bridge Tate Modern

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