They had a brass band on platform 4 of the Gare de l’Est (East Station) in Paris on the morning of June 10, 2007, to give us all a big send-off on the first regularly scheduled TGV train from Paris to Strasbourg on the new high-speed railway line.
In addition to the brass band, there were also several ladies who gave flowers to all of us passengers. Just before we left, these poor press photographers got herded up and down the platform. At least some of them managed to get some good shots, however, because the French papers were full of photos the next day.
TGV means “train of great speed”, and it really is, because it runs at 320 kilometers per hour (nearly 200 miles per hour) on the newly built tracks. In 2007 it only took two hours and twenty minutes to get from Paris to Strasbourg, instead of four hours. Since then they have built another new section of tracks, so as of 2018 they have got the time down to one hour and forty-five minutes for the fastest connections. Each day they run about fifteen of these non-stop trains in each direction.
For several years the square in front of the central train station was one big construction site, both because of improvements to the tram system and in preparation for the new high-speed rail line TGV Est.
Now the station now looks strikingly different. The old station building is still there, but it has been thoroughly cleaned and renovated and is now completely encased in a huge glass roof, which allowed them to increase the capacity of the station and protect the historic façade from the effects of storms and pollution. The idea is similar to the new glass entrance hall of Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, but on a much larger scale.
Location, aerial view and photo of the Strasbourg railway station on monumentum.fr.
My photos in this post are from 2006, 2007 and 2015. I revised the text in 2018.
See more posts on Strasbourg, France.