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Calais-Mediterrannee-Express, PLM Pacific no.6114, before WWI (old postcard)

Calais-Mediterrannee-Express Ventimiglia - Calais, PLM engine and teak/cream CIWL cars, Ventimiglia towards 1912 (old Italian postcard)

The Calais-Mediterranne-Express had been the train for “the rich and the beautiful” traveling from London by the way of Calais or from Paris to the Cote d’Azur. It consisted exclusively of CIWL teakwood sleepers and a diner, temporarily with a teak/cream color scheme. In 1920 the Calais-Mediterrannee re-emerged and in 1922 it was equipped with type S all-steel sleeping cars,series 2647-2677, wooden WR 1728-1732 and vans F1095-1100, painted blue. For the people it became the Train Bleu, the blue train, still unofficially. Traction on the Paris-Lyon-Mediterrannee railway long ago had changed from the 2-4-2, 4-4-0 and 4-6-0 types to elegant Pacifics. In 1929 came the WL type LX, series 3466-3555, the “Grand Luxe” type

The studies of 1905 envisaging a direct de-Luxe London - Paris with 12-wheeled CIWL day saloons had not materialized. The Fleche d’ Or CIWL “Pullman” day train Calais - Paris of 1926 later conveyed also the sleepers for the Rome-Express, Train Bleu and Simplon-Orient-Express. The only train ferried over the Channel was the Night Ferry London - Paris and Brussels, running from 1936 until 1980.

After WWII the Train Bleu was re-started, hauled by Pacifics and on the non-electrified sections by the slow 141R. But as an all-sleeper CIWL train, running in up to 4 sections, it was majestic. On its bar you could meet Winston Churchill or Brigitte Bardot (at least in the stories). The Salon-Bar cars were ex-WP nos. 4162 and 4164. During the last decades of the 20th century the luxury had gone. Only the renovated “Le buffet” in Paris Gare de Lyon has the splendor of the past - and is so “exclusive”, that taking photographs there was strictly forbidden. The Train Bleu at that time was not at all exclusive, it got even the cramped 6-berth couchette compartments. The diner and the bar had vanished and then the train was pushed out of the Gare de Lyon. In 2004 SNCF removed the glorious name and finally the last sleeper Paris - Ventimiglia vanished - once saved by Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.

Train Bleu
Nice, April 23, 1961:
141 R (Mikado)SNCFVentimiglia - Marseille
1 FourgonCIWLSan Remo - Paris
1 WL LXCIWLSan Remo - Calais
3 WL LXCIWLVentimiglia - Paris
1 Salon-BarCIWLVentimiglia - Paris
1 RestaurantCIWLVentimiglia - Paris
4 WL LXCIWLVentimiglia - Paris
2 WL PCIWLVentimiglia - Paris
2 WL LXCIWLVentimiglia - Paris
Easter 1962:
First section R10003 Paris - Nice, second section R3 (Calais)-Paris-Ventimiglia (-San Remo), third section R11003 Paris - Nice, all sections CIWL all-sleeper trains.
Colors: CIWL dark blue, WLP stainless, SNCF dark green, steam locomotives black/olive.


Literature:
Jean-Paul Caracalla, Jean des Cars: Train Bleu (Denoel)
Dr. Albert Muehl, Juergen Klein : Reisen in Luxuszuegen/ Voyager an Trains de Luxe/ Travelling in Luxury (EK-Verlag)


Simplon-Orient-Express and Train Bleu (?), southbound, Nord Pacific 3.1200, Foret de Chantilly c.1934 (Raymond Floquet)


Train Bleu (Calais-) Paris - Ventimiglia (- San Remo), SNCF class 141R, at the old Monte Carlo station, 1960 (WS)



Train Bleu (Calais -) Paris - Ventimiglia (- San Remo), Villefranche 1962 (WS)

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