Above pic: Nancy Station under a beautiful sunset
As a train fan we're always looking forward to hopping on a train, whether it be a commute, or something much longer, like a hop across the channel on the Eurostar and onto the north-east/east region of France.
If you've been following our instagram page, you'll have seen that we posted some pics of our journey and asked a few questions along the way. The shots were candid i.e. of the roof at St Pancras and an exit (depart) sigh, in the facade at Gare du Nord (congrats to instagrammer Fw.Kelly who somehow got that one). Boarding our train on Sunday morning meant that it was not too busy a journey, but the Eurostar was packed.
It was a speedy and uneventful sprint into the 50-odd km tunnel and then onto Paris. A quick 10-minute left-right walk then got us to Gare d'Lest, for about a 90-min trip to Nancy by TGV. Relatively flat and not that inspiring countryside flashed past on what looked like to relatively new line.
Nancy is a large-ish station with connecting services to Metz, Stasbourg and Luxembourg for example. We took the 30-min service to Metz a day or so after our arrival. Well, 30 minutes on the way there as we took the stopper on the way back which took an extra 20-min and was air-conditioned by opening the windows. Still this enabled us to see more of the sights, such as they were. The views of forested hill-tops and rivers were much appreciated and there were quite a few industries along the line with plenty of trackage and what looked like a coaling facility for coal trains (Mrs OfftheTracks was less impressed with the latter).
Nancy is worth a visit for the Place Stansislas - a UNESCO world heritage site. It is stunning and construction began in 1752.(more on this in a planned in-depth article in Off the Tracks (autumn issue). With easy connection from the UK and other points across mainline Europe we'd say go there!
Oh, there's also a model train shop just across from the station called Nancy Train... yep, we did go there too...
For more great travel, and railway related content - including art, jazz and people check out our Click here LATEST ISSUE,
Off the Tracks is created through social media for train fans, train travellers. Over fifty percent of our readers are under 40 and it's an equal male/female split by train fans.. .in case you are interested!
Our friends at TSG Multimedia (as featured in issue 2 of Off the Tracks) produce great prototypical, model railroad and fun train content. This Layout Tour video of Jack Burgess's Yosemite Valley Railroad is one not to miss. We watched it from start to finish and the attention to detail is incredible. The trackside buildings have fully detailed interiors, for example, and the model is as lifelike a representation of a prototype as you will find. Started in 1980 the layout was completed in 2011. There are over 100 structures on the railroad and all are representations of buildings that were located around the actual railroad. Such is the focus on detail that the 'date' being modelled is August 1939! You'll only find rolling stock that is therefore appropriate to that time period, most of that is scratch built or built from resin kits. All track is hand laid. Jack explains that when he started the railroad he was bringing up his family and did not have lots of money, so he hand laid the track to literally make his money spent on railroad purchases last. The Yosemite Valley Railroad is very much a labour of love. Check it out.
We are thinking of offering a print version of Off the Tracks. We've had a sample made up. Let us know what you think. This would involve quite a lot of expense and so we'd need to charge for this. Postal costs could also make this a difficult proposition. Are we being too negative? Let us know what you think. Initially, if we were to go ahead, the print version would be a copy of the digital one. In future we may design two issues a print and a digital one. Let us have your comments and indeed any comments on what we are attempting with Off the Tracks.
In our latest issue of Off the Tracks we report on this year's Nurnberg Toy Fair
We look at the latest products from Liliput, Bachmann, Marklin, Lux Modellbau, Kato, Faller, Hobby Train, LS Models and many more and pick our favourites!
Here's a couple of our reviews
In terms of motive power we saw and liked the new class 57/3, which will be available in weathered DRS livery; the class 47/0 which will be delivered in West Coast livery; the 3-car DMU in South West Trains livery; and passenger car MK1 TSO in Regional Trains livery.
For G-scale US outline fans we saw the "old timer' 2-60 setam engine "Eureka & Palisade". A highlight of these models were the two optical sensors, one in each cylinder, that allow you to adjust the timing of the count of the steam chuffs.
There were some very beautiful and well-built models on display from Kato, such as the SNCF TGV 10-car duplex Carmillion; the TGV Lyria; the Eurostar in the newer blue livery; and the stunning DB ICE4.
Arado ar234 b blitz
In keeping with the more open brief of Off the Tracks we includes planes as well as cars ... and art, jazz and people - intrigued? See our latest issue!
The Arado was the world's first operational jet bombers and reconnaissance aircraft.
The plane had a top speed of 459 miles an hour and was able to easily elude the piston engined planes of the Allies at the end of WW2. This example was captured by British forces in Norway and turned over to the US. In 1949 it was placed in the care of the Smithsonian, which restored it between 1984-89. AR234 B is the sole survivor of its type and is on display now at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Centre in the US (https://airandspace.si.edu)
Read more in the latest issue of Off the Tracks
Story by Peter Nagy
In the latest issue of Off of the Tracks TSG Multimedia's John & Dan talk in-depth about their YouTube channel, their videos and their passion for railroading - both prototypical and in model form. We also asked them some quick fire questions and here are their answers. Read the Summer issue to read more about the guys, see some great shots, and also watch them in action in one of their Chasing Trains productions
Off the Tracks: What are your favourite railroads?
John: Modern day: Union Pacific. Fallen flag: Southern Pacific.
Dan: Southern Pacific, Santa Fe, and Western Pacific.
Off the Tracks:Any favourite locomotive or locomotive type?
John: I like EMD’s GP and SD models (all variants).
Dan: I like everything.
Off the Tracks:What’s your favourite era?
Off the Tracks: What’s your favourite scheme or livery as we call it in the UK?
John: Santa Fe’s red and silver Warbonnet.
Dan: Southern Pacific grey and scarlet.
Off the Tracks: What’s your favourite location for railfanning?
Dan: Anywhere that is scenic, especially more remote places with fewer people around.
Off the Tracks: What’s your favourite camera for railfanning (video or stills)?
John: Canon XA series.
Dan: Canon XA35 for video and Nikon D7100 for stills.
Off the Tracks: Who would you like to take with you when chasing trains – famous person or otherwise?(!)
John: Billy Connolly.
Dan: I think it’s fun when we take anyone with us, as having another person makes the experience different than if it were just John and I.
Off the Tracks: What’s your favourite train journey?
John: Roaring Camp’s Bear Mountain.
Dan: I don’t think I’ve ever been on a train ride I didn’t like. It’s hard to pick just one.
Off the Tracks:What train journey would you like to take?
John: Amtrak’s Coast Starlight.
Dan: I’d like to get out to Colorado and ride the Durango & Silverton and Cumbres & Toltec. I haven’t done either of those yet.
For more on click here TSG
Issue 2 of Off the Tracks got the right of way last weekend and has been viewed all around the world! It's amazing how the www can bring people together with a shared interest. Hopefully people will share the link and here it is for you to do! http://pub.lucidpress.com/OfftheTracks2/
It was great to get so much support from the contributors... from the Ukraine, from the US, Turkey and Italy, for example. The magazine has attracted a younger age group than perhaps traditional rail magazines and that was part of the idea behind setting up Off the Tracks. Also around half of the readers are women. That's great. Speaking of the fairer sex That railway Girl will be writing an article for the next issue of the magazine. Do check out her blog for some great train related content and for a look at her model railway built into a coffee table!
It's that passion and the diversity of those who follow trains or ride them for enjoyment that we want to tap into and convey through our digital platforms and Off the Tracks. If you would like to contribute please contact us via the contact from on this site or via the Instagram page.