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TGV spotted at Cherbourg, Normandy

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BigCj34

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I took the train into Cherbourg on Saturday, August 27, and I saw a TGV stationed on one of the platforms. It said on the train door that it was a special service, could anyone guess what it was doing? Given Normandy has no high speed lines, Cherbourg doesn't have any business having a TGV pulled up!
 
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richw

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I don't speak enough French to understand, but Google brings up there is daily TGV specials from Dijon to Cherbourg, Google search terms Dijon Cherbourg TGV if you have some French understanding in you.
 

endecotp

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Wikipedia mentions a "Pilgrim Special" to Lourdes on 18 & 23 July 2015.

I can't find any mention of that for this year, but who knows?

(No, there are currently TGVs to Dijon or anywhere else.)
 
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stut

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There's a bunch of TGV services to Normandy, more in the summer (mostly to Rouen and Le Havre, mind). Yes, there's no LGV there, but the point is to connect it (via the Interconnexion route round Paris) to the TGV lines towards the south, given the phenomenal traffic heading towards Mediterranean France in the summer. Much better than getting from St Lazare over to the Gare de Lyon.
 

CMS

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My best guess is that it would have been a chartered special. Normandy has just been granted a special status that will allow it to directly control the SNCF's services on five of its major lines, so perhaps this is a wishful-thinking TGV test run?

Unfortunately, Normandy actually only has 1 journey per direction a day run as a TGV and this is currently between Le Havre and Marseille. Indeed as abovementioned, this train is very well loaded during Norman school holidays but out of this, I have always found it particularly quiet and not particularly useful, apart from on Sundays when it is often the first train out of Le Havre. It is painfully slow, particularly along the shared RER section and it is generally no quicker, if you time it well, than a Le Havre-Paris (non-stop from Rouen), line 14 métro and a TGV which is first stop Lyon.

Having said this all, there still seems to be big political support in the region for faster Intercités trains with less stops, particularly on the Paris-Rouen-Le Havre and the Paris-Caen-Cherbourg lines, despite the SNCF saying they would be withdrawing trains from these lines due to lack of patronage at off-peak times.
 

HMS Ark Royal

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Perhaps a charter for French war veterans? The Battle of Normandy finished around this time, so a charter for them would make sense
 

BigCj34

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My best guess is that it would have been a chartered special. Normandy has just been granted a special status that will allow it to directly control the SNCF's services on five of its major lines, so perhaps this is a wishful-thinking TGV test run?

Unfortunately, Normandy actually only has 1 journey per direction a day run as a TGV and this is currently between Le Havre and Marseille. Indeed as abovementioned, this train is very well loaded during Norman school holidays but out of this, I have always found it particularly quiet and not particularly useful, apart from on Sundays when it is often the first train out of Le Havre. It is painfully slow, particularly along the shared RER section and it is generally no quicker, if you time it well, than a Le Havre-Paris (non-stop from Rouen), line 14 métro and a TGV which is first stop Lyon.

Having said this all, there still seems to be big political support in the region for faster Intercités trains with less stops, particularly on the Paris-Rouen-Le Havre and the Paris-Caen-Cherbourg lines, despite the SNCF saying they would be withdrawing trains from these lines due to lack of patronage at off-peak times.

I saw that SNCF mooted the possibility of closing Bayeux, Carentan and Valognes, which is bizarre logic. All this to squeeze the service to under 3 hours to Paris? I don't have numbers on hand, but I can't see how Cherbourg attracts substantially more patronage to the point in having an express service to Caen at the expense of the above three towns.

Unless there's a surplus of TGV rolling stock floating about, it does seem a bit pointless having a direct service in terms of time, but the change from Saint-Lazare to Gare de Lyon / Gare du Nord is a small mission even with a cabin sized suitcase, which would be even moreso with skiing luggage.
 

Taunton

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You do find odd TGV units all over France whenever some notable special or publicity is required. I recall one being up the single track branch from Cannes at Grasse when it reopened around 2005.
 
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