TRIVIA: Things you saw travelling on mainland European railways that you don't see today

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by AY1975, 30 Jul 2018.

  1. AY1975

    AY1975 Member

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    Following on from the long-running thread on things that you used to see travelling on BR that you don't see today at www.railforums.co.uk/threads/trivia-things-you-saw-travelling-on-br-that-you-dont-see-today.151953/ I thought it would be nice to have a thread on things that you used to see on the railways of mainland Europe that you don't see today.

    Here's one to start you off: coaches with different coloured upholstery for smoking and non-smoking accommodation. Until the 1980s or '90s Switzerland had green seats for non-smoking and red for smoking in second class, and first class had green/turquoise for non-smoking and orange for smoking. The former East German Deutsche Reichsbahn had red seats for non-smoking and dark brown for smoking.

    SNCF Corail open saloon coaches originally had pale grey ceilings in the non-smoking and dark blue ceilings in the smoking sections. When built in the mid to late 1970s, they had about half smoking and half non-smoking accommodation, but as the amount of non-smoking accommodation increased you could no longer always go by the colour of the ceiling. Today, AFAIK almost all trains everywhere in mainland Europe are completely non-smoking.
     
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  3. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

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    Locos on trains dropping their pantographs and coasting in to Venlo station, to be taken off by a diesel shunter and returned to their own Voltage end of the station. The Rhine Express was one of our favourite routes to Switzerland. Ex- BR DC electric locos in the Netherlands.

    Trains (especially overnight trains) made up of coaches in lots of different liveries depending on which destination country (or level of service/age) they represented- with loads of destination options, e.g. the couchettes that ran from Boulogne, Calais, Oostende and Hoek (I think) to lots of Swiss and other destinations.

    3-axle compartment/non-corridor passenger coaches in Italy.
     
  4. 306024

    306024 Established Member

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    Wheeltappers at Zagreb.
     
  5. MacCookie

    MacCookie Member

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    I watched them doing that with freight trains in Venlo when I was there a few years ago.
     
  6. Re 4/4

    Re 4/4 Member

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    RABDe 12/12 "Mirage" trains, where among other things the cab had a back window so you could stand in the vestibule and look out of the front - every now and then friendly train drivers would even invite you to sit in the cab.

    I remember the red/green seat covers for smoking/non-smoking too. According to various news sources, the SBB ban on smoking in all trains didn't happen until 2005, although the S-Bahn Zurich must have gone smoke-free earlier than that; I think the double-decker trains (DPZ, Re 450) were originally designed to have smoking compartments but then were built exclusively non-smoking. The first ones ran in either 1989 or 1990 if I remember correctly.
     
    Last edited: 30 Jul 2018
  7. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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    The Stasi taking trains to pieces on the East German border
     
  8. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    Mail trains. I amnot aware of any country that still has them.

    Border installations such as fences, cameras at stations. Freilassing could have used it during the refugee crisis.

    Windows which can be opened.

    Steam heated coaches.
     
  9. Hornet

    Hornet Member

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  10. DaiGog

    DaiGog Member

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  11. scragend

    scragend Member

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    Trains (I think they were ex-RER) running along the Côte d'Azur where you could have the sliding doors open while the train was moving. The external doors, that is, not between the carriages. The doors closed automatically before the train left the station, but once it was moving you could open the door from the inside and slide it back.

    They still had these in 2002 and 2003, but when I visited next in 2008 they had been replaced with modern units :(
     
  12. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    They are still there! And all over eastern Europe.
    I wonder what technical advance meant that they are not now needed in western Europe?
     
  13. citycat

    citycat Member

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    (Incorporating memories of childhood holidays to the South of France by train in the late 60's and early 70's)

    Traveling on a ferry from Dover Marine to Calais Maritime, with a blue hull and red funnel with the British Rail insignia. The ferry Invicta.

    Walking down a wooden gangplank to the quayside at Calais Maritime, while porters puffing on Gauloises carried our suitcases using leather straps.

    Going through customs and watching them chalk your suitcase after it had been checked.

    SNCF rolling stock in green, a few feet from the ship, with metal destination signs on the side.

    Climbing into our SNCF couchette coach marked Calais - Vintimille, with inward opening doors, with an adjoining FS coach in grey and blue CIWL sleeping car, both signed Calais - Roma.

    Walking to the front of the train with my dad during the stop at Amiens, to watch the diesel come off to be replaced by an electric loco.

    On arrival at Gare du Nord, watching one of the large blue shunting locos couple onto to the end of the train, and then transport our coach and the two Italian coaches to the Gare de Lyon via the Petite Ceinture, and leaning out of 'open' Windows, as the train screeched through Paris past Parisian apartment blocks, and families eating dinner.

    On arrival at the Gare de Lyon, walking with my dad onto the station concourse to get replacement bottles of water and a hot dog served in half a French baguette, while our couchette coach was shunted around to be coupled to le train 'Côte d'Azur', and the two Italian coaches I believe to the Rome Express.

    Walking to the platform and walking the length of the train to find our newly coupled couchette car with my mum guarding our belongings, and seeing the all sleeping car Le Train Bleu in the adjoining platform. Our train departed at 20:42, and Le Train Bleu followed us three minutes later at 20:45.

    Seeing the classic green SNCF electric locos before the raked nose versions arrived on the network.

    Listening to the sound of air brake blocks on the wheels as the train slowed, and lifting the blind a little to see the station names of Dijon Ville, Lyon Perrache, Valence and Avignon on the classic ligne, before the arrival of TGV's and high speed lines.

    Again, the pleasure of leaning out of an open window as the train skirted the coast of the Côte d'Azur on a sunny morning, and seeing the sparkling Mediterranean Sea breaking onto the rocks below.

    Arriving at our destination of Juan les Pins as the brake blocks screeched again, and then the sound of a real voice on the station tannoy as they announced "Juan les Pins deux minutes arret, Juan les Pins deux minutes arret".

    Having to wait on the platform until the train started to slowly creak and move and leave the station, before arriving passengers could cross the wooden crossing to the station exit. No subways in those days.

    A station porter, waiting with a barrow to transport your luggage through the streets of Juan les Pins to your hotel or apartment. Not many taxis in those days.

    On the main station platform, seeing the 'Compositions des trains' board, featuring the mostly overnight trains leaving the station for destinations such as Roma, Venezia, Hendaye, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Metz, and of course Paris.

    Taking day trips to Cannes, Nice and Menton on the classic red and cream diesel rail cars, and hearing their unique squealing brakes.

    Watching an express pulling into the station, listening to the sound of brake blocks on wheels, and seeing a 'La Postes' mail coach attached to the front behind the loco, with the mail workers leaning behind a single metal bar where the sliding doors were left open and having a smoke, with no other protection to stop them falling out of the speeding train.

    Seeing the stainless steel carriages of the TEE 'Le Mistral' speed through the station on its way from Nice to Paris.

    Seeing the cream, red and grey carriages of the FS TEE 'Ligure' from Marseille to Milan.

    Strolling down to the station in the evening and watching the departing overnight trains featuring SNCF and FS stock, plus the occasional charter train featuring cream and blue DB carriages and the destination plate stating exotic place names of Cannes - Ventimiglia - Genova - Milano - Basel - Dortmund - Hamburg. When trains ruled before low cost jets.

    On departure day, standing on the platform and watching the train approaching at speed, rounding the bend from Antibes, and repeating the whole journey back to London Victoria again.
     
    Last edited: 31 Jul 2018
  14. DaiGog

    DaiGog Member

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    That all sounds magic :)
     
  15. Cloud Strife

    Cloud Strife Member

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    I assure you that they still exist in at least two places that I've visited recently - the international platforms in Vilnius and in Terespol (Poland). Terespol is here - https://semaforek.kolej.org.pl/wiki/images/5/58/Terespol6.JPG - you go down those stairs, along a corridor and up into the international station for border control. Interestingly, the Brest (Belarus) international part of the station is far less oppressive.
     
  16. TheSeeker

    TheSeeker Member

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    On holiday by rail from Wales to Germany with my parents in the early eighties we had our passports checked on the train at the Belgium/Germany border. As I remember we walked off the ferry at Ostende and straight onto the train, not sure if this exists any more. The second part of Alexei Sayles auto biography gives an excellent description of traveling by train across Europe with his parents. I found it very evocative of my experiences.
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    They're less common, but you do still get trains with full-drop windows, particularly in eastern Europe but SBB and DB still have a good number of them.
     
  18. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Sadly this one went in the early 2000s, killed by first Eurostar (it was truncated to Bruxelles) then budget airlines and SNCB/NMBS's complete disinterest in anything outside their borders.
     
  19. TheSeeker

    TheSeeker Member

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    Agreed! I enjoyed reading that.
     
  20. rg177

    rg177 Established Member

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    The RE from Leipzig to Chemnitz still has compartment stock with full-drop windows although outrage from locals at having such ancient hauled stock means that such a sight might not be around much longer.
     
  21. AY1975

    AY1975 Member

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    You still get that today to some extent on some of the few remaining overnight trains. For example, the Zürich to Budapest, Prague and Vienna night train is formed of three portions each made up of coaches from the respective destination country.
     
  22. AY1975

    AY1975 Member

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    Yes, and in the days when they were the norm, you would often see passengers standing at the window talking to (and even holding hands with) their family or friends who had come to see them off before departure, and even as the train started to move. I guess this may still sometimes happen on the few remaining trains with full-drop windows.
     
  23. AY1975

    AY1975 Member

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    Berlin S-Bahn "Stadtbahner" EMUs had this too - they were still around when I first went to Berlin in 1993. I also seem to recall that when I went to Lisbon in 1991, the Lisbon Rossio to Sintra line still had EMUs with folding doors that you could open when the train was moving, and people would sit on the vestibule floors with their legs hanging out of them whilst in motion.
     
  24. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Certainly giving you the cold / hard look and the dog patrols / mirrors under the trains at the border going back into the Federal Republic. Most disconcerting.
     
  25. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    DB 2 axle open wagons in almost every siding in Europe (bar Iberia)

    Grey painted FS rolling stock , and chocolate brown 1930's railcars that looked like Dormice.

    Lunch boxes for sale at Italian stations conveying excellent cold chicken / red wine / bread and salad for not a lot of money.

    DR Mitropa diners on long travelling trains - e.g Hook of Holland to Berlin , with coal fired stoves , slightly dishevelled waiters (probably exhausted) serving excellent Pilsner and fried spuds / bacon and eggs.
     
  26. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    Trans-Europ-Express trains, with their specialized rolling stock, sometimes locomotives with dedicated livery, and specialized rakes like swiss Rae or german VTs.

    Night trains carrying cars.

    Passenger cars (sleepers, restaurants) owned and operated by CIWL.

    Pool-Europ freight cars.

    Long distance trains with restaurant cars where meals were really freshly cooked on board, rather than the airline style plastic food one can get today.

    CC or CoCo electric locomotives (SNCF CC6500, 21000, 40100, DB 103, 150, SNCB 20, CFF Ae6/6, NS 1200).

    Active hump yards.

    Goods shed with a few parked freight wagons in almost every station.

    Lots of railway lines that crossed borders (there were, if I remember well, 22 rail border crossings between Belgium and France, 6 remain active today).

    Diesel loco hauled passenger trains.

    Trains that exchanged locomotives at the border because multisystem locos were so expensive and hard to maintain.

    Bogies exchange under passenger cars at the France/Spain border stations.
     
    Last edited: 31 Jul 2018
  27. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    Any countries in Europe still allow smoking? Remember on a Budapest to Belgrade train in 2009 people were smoking .
    Always remember the wheeltappping at night and the torch flashes onovernights
     
  28. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    I was in Berlin HBF at about 22.00 a couple of weeks ago and there wasn't a single overnight train on the departure board.
     
    Last edited: 31 Jul 2018
  29. James James

    James James Member

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    These still exist, although they don't seem as varied. Fairly recently I've still seen trains with a mix of Ukrainian, and possible Hungarian and other carriages. I wasn't paying too close attention. OeBB+CD is certainly a daily occurence.

    Still got a few of those where I live. Lots of meter-gauge trains also. Thankfully they're going away, most train users (aka the people who fund these trains) would much prefer to have actual air conditioning on their daily commute.

    Quite a few of these are container trains, but they certainly do exist. They're primarily shuttling mail between the regional processing centers AFAIUI.

    Also something that lots of Swiss meter-gauge lines have, but also disappearing with the introduction of EMUs on most lines.
     
  30. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Interfrigo Wagons (yes - they even came to the UK)

    Block loads of banana trains

    Red capped Assistant Station Managers

    SNCF despatchers with "guidons"
     
  31. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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    There may still be a hump yard working in Munich North, it certainly was in 2009/10
     

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