A far cry from a common/standard train this is kind of a late catch of a thing that will soon belong to the past. Everything in this train is uncommon:
- The CC72000 series is almost gone with only 2 active units - not to be confused with the rebuilt pink and grey 72100 series that are also living their last years. The CC72100 haul 100 mph passenger trains on the Paris-Basel line. These services will probably come to an end when the new Rhin-Rhône high speed line opens in December 2011 (Dôle-Belfort) and TGVs will take care of the Paris-Belfort-Mulhouse-Basel trains.
- The #72084 is the last survivor still in the original blue livery. There is another 72000 survivor but it wears the freight green livery. Railfans are actively chasing the 72084 before a mechanical problem kills it forever.
- This looks like a passenger train and the 72000 do not haul passenger trains anymore.
- This is a long 18-cars passenger train and one single 72000 never hauled such long trains because with 3600HP they do not have enough power to reach the passenger train speed limit. Such heavy trains would come instead with two 67400 series units.
- This is the last trip for these cars. They will be scrapped once the train reaches Le Mans, even though some of them are not so old. The locomotive is older than the cars.
A blue 72000 with a passenger train today is a miracle. This train is typical of the current services still provided by the 72084 because it is used on uncommon duties thanks to a dynamic team of enthusiast railroaders. If I dare a parallel with a US railfan perspective, I imagine that this picture would rise about the same interest and emotion as seeing today a Rio Grande diesel in unpatched black and orange livery in front of a Rio Grande Zephyr passenger consist in the Utah desert.
Many thanks to the team : Lionel Henoch, Jerome Ansel and his father, Raphael Moreau, Guillaume Pourrageaux and other dedicated railroaders…
About the bridge: the 2178m / 7146 ft long Cubzac Bridge over the Dordogne river is a notable landmark on the Bordeaux - Nantes line. It was built in 1885 by Lebrun, Dayde and Pile, following the design of a nearby similar road bridge that had been built earlier by Gustave Eiffel, the builder of the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris.