We are just returning from a trip to England and France. As I was the chief planner and driver, it is perhaps surprising that there weren’t more railway visits along the road. Sadly, every such suggestion is met with universal eye rolling resistance. I did, however manage to “stumble upon” le Chemin de fer de la Baie de Somme at Le Crotoy, despite an actual ride getting voted down.

My darling chief eye roller and I discovered this railway on a trip to Normandy 20 years ago. We’d stopped in the very cute town of Ste Valerie sur Somme, and tripped over some narrow gauge tracks down the quai. As we were looking for dinner, along came a little panier tank with a consist of Belle Époque coaches to bustle about noisily amongst the tourists.

The Victorians knew better how to travel. Imagine arriving at a beachside town in a bijoux carriage, closing your book and stepping into your holiday. Me? After hours battling for parking in places such as Dieppe and Étretat, I need a vacation after our holiday!

As I was saying, a little planned stumbling put us in le Crotoy in time to watch the crew as they loaded their little engine’s bunker. This scene would have been repeated in Pembroke, where a similar platform provided coaling facilities.

Le Crotoy is an idyllic, compact model-worthy station, complete with engine house tucked onto the same baseboard as the station. I should say that the whole scene is perhaps 200 metres long. There are so many tempting things to model in the world, but a beachside French railway is near the top of my list of alternates.

2 thoughts on “Frinspiration

  1. Rene
    With a little extra research, it is often possible to find non railway attractions that are close to preserved railways which may help to reduce the eye rolling. For example, Sheffield Park on the Bluebell Line is across the road from Sheffield Park gardens. York railway museum is in a city that has 2000 years of history plus considerable opportunity for retail therapy. The list is lengthy and, if you let us know in advance of your next visit, those of us in the UK will be happy to offer suggestions.
    Best wishes

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