The Journey Home
June 2 2003

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The journey home was basically the journey out in reverse with the exception that back in the UK Eurostar at the HST to Bath took the normal routes and not diversionary routes.

Paris dawned damp and overcast, the first bad day of the entire trip. However by the time it came to walk across to Gare du Nord it had at least stopped raining.

The view over the country end of Paris Est station from room 116 of the Mercure Gare de l'Est. June 2 2003

The view over the country end of Paris Est station from room 116 of the Mercure Gare de l'Est. June 2 2003

We caught the 10:19 Eurostar bound from London Waterloo International. After a typically punctual departure we ran well until somewhere before Lille. First we slowed right down only to get back up to line speed. Then yet again the brakes came on and we were looped of the mainline. After a stand for several minutes we were off again. Just why this happened I don't know.

Hoping that we would now get a clear, trouble free, run didn't do much good. Before entering the Channel Tunnel we again slowed down markedly, but at least we kept rolling. Since the fire in the tunnel trains are regulated so as not to stop in the tunnel unless absolutely necessary. So to have two lengthy stops not far short of the English mouth of the tunnel was most unusual. Eventually we found out why. On a train going in the other direction an emergency alarm had been activated stopping the train. In such circumstances all trains in the tunnel are stopped. Not surprisingly this event was causing chaos. Three Europe bound Eurostar services were queued up between the English mouth of the tunnel and Dollands Moor yard waiting to get a run. A forth was seen at Ashford International.

The delays inevitably meant a late arrival in London. We arrived about 12:50 rather than the booked 12:09. This did not mess up our onward connections as we were booked on the 13:45 service from London Paddington. Having negotiated immigration and customs we took the Bakerloo line back across London to Paddington. Here things seemed to be out of place thanks to signaling problems. Fortunately this didn't delay our train that seemed to come in empty from Old Oak Common depot.

Bumping along on UK track (why can't it be as good as the French or Swiss track ?) we arrived in Bath a few minutes down. There was just one more thing to do - get off the platform. Despite two ticket checks on the train over zealous rules meant we had to yet again show our tickets to get out. This of course was not easy as the tickets were not conveniently located. No amount of reasoning seemed to get through to the staff, who stupidly stand at the top of the stairs right in everyone's way. With this hurdle negotiated it was home and time to recover !

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