Thursday, 21 September 2017

Beating the Blue Train

The Calais-Méditerranée Express was a luxury French night express train which carried wealthy passengers between Calais and the French Riviera from 1922 until 1938. It was referred to as "le train bleu" in French and the Blue Train in English because of its dark blue sleeping cars.

In 1930 a very unofficial race was held between a Rover car and the train. Although the car was stopped by heavy fog 5 hours into the run, the team decided to drive on to St Raphael (near Cannes, on the Mediterranean coast) and race the train back. This they were able to do, beating the train into Calais by 20 minutes. After that there were a number of other "races" notably involving Bentleys and Alvis cars.

 Yes please! A 1927 Bentley 4½ litre (the blue car, No2)
behind No3, a 1928 Bentley 4½ litre Blower (supercharged)

These days people who own vintage and classic cars can join the "Blue Train Challenge", a six day event from Deauville to Cannes. This year there was a scheduled stop at Angles sur l'Anglin, so on Sunday I collected Pauline in Célestine and we wandered off to see what was happening.

No23 is a 1937 Bentley Derby Open Tourer and No8 is a 1932 Alvis Speed 20.
The enormous cream coloured car is a 1938 Chevrolet Fangio Coupe

There was lots of cars (and spectators) and although Célestine isn't exactly a vintage GT machine people were just as happy to see us as they were to see the Bentleys, Alvises, Aston Martins, and a bevy of other 1930's, 40's and 50's exotica.

No8 Alvis passes a 1936 Buick Special Convertible (No18) and a 1934 Aston Martin MkII

No48, a 1954 Arnolt Bristol Bolide leads off a 1948  Bentley Le Mans 8

A full list of runners and riders is here.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks a bunch Simon.... I'm dribbling all over my tablet.
    There's some lovely horsepower there.....

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  2. There was some very very expensive tin there. Very nice tin though... Think I would go for the Jag...

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  3. There is a restaurant in Paris called Le Train Bleu (Corsican specialities) where you can dine in one of the old cars from the famous train.

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    1. When we came back from Milan on the train a couple of years ago we thought we'd eat there, but it was too expensive for us. So we ate at the Montreux Jazz Café, which was very nice, and also in Gare de Lyon.

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