Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday 23 December 2012 - Longueville Roundhouse

After this glass of Calvados I found I was able to discuss compound locomotives and valve gears with the French speaking staff at the roundhouse
 I decided to go to Longueville to visit the roundhouse run by AJECTA which has the largest collection of steam locomotives outside Mulhouse.  I bought a 5 zone mobilis ticket and took metro line 2 to Barbes Rochechouart.  Line 2 has the newest, most comfortable trains but it seems to have more than its share of beggars and performers.  Today it was a barefooted unintelligible man who crawled and crouched his way through the train.  Yesterday it was a violin and guitar duo who murdered some Christmas carols and finished up with a sickening rendition of Guantanamera. A couple of days ago it was a Muslim woman who had a baby (probably drugged) latched on to her bare breast.  Until recently these people used to infest line 4 through Gare du Nord but the attraction of the new line 2 trains is that, with the continuous corridor connections, they can work the entire train without having to hop off and back on again.

I arrived at Longueville and spoke to the Engineer who told me that the changeover between traction modes takes place at 140 kmph.  He liked these trains and took the time to point out that they were Canadian - built by Bombardier.  My arrival little more than an hour before the Musee opened gave me me a chance to look around.  There's not a great deal in the place - two boulangeries, two cafe-bars and a charcuterie and everything else was pretty much boarded up, including a pretty large foundry or metal working factory.  However, the Mairie was a large, well-kept building and all the road markings were well painted and quite recent. There is an impressive viaduct on the approach from Paris.

To kill some time I went into the Buffet de la Gare across the road from the station.  I started with a glass of red wine and finished with a glass of Calvados.
The steam locomotives are all kept in the roundhouse which protects them from the weather.  One group of stalls has been turned into a workshop and the public does not have access to this area. The only working steam locomotive, a tank engine, was in there - it had been lifted for axle repairs.  This work has to be sent away.
I found this to be the most interesting.  A Nord 4-cylinder 4-6-0 compound with the high pressure cylinders outside and the low pressure cylinders inside between the frames.  It was, until recently, on the Nene Valley Railway in England.
The two throttles/regulators are in the centre.  They control the admission of steam to the high and low pressure cylinders although the engine can be run as a compound.  There is independent control of the cut-off to the high and low pressure cylinders.
The Musee is interesting but it seems that the society is severely underfunded and there are many more restoration projects than they can handle.
There is a lot of this feathery vine growing in this area.  As a kid we called this "Old Man's Beard".  Some of us would cut a piece of the thick stem and try to smoke it.  It look an age to light and didn't taste too good.
The train ride back was uneventful.  An interesting day. Back in Paris, I returned to the apartment via, Porte D'Orleans, Porte de Versailles and T2 tramway to La Defence.  A great use of a mobilis ticket.

Click below to see pictures taken at Longueville in slide show format

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