The Chodkowski Chronicles – 3. Inside the beast

As a train driver, a part of my work is to prepare the train before the departure. This is a series of tests (brakes, signalling systems) and verifications conducted from the cab. And with “before electronics” rolling stocks, there is a visual inspections of the “insides”. In fact, I have to check some hidden circuit breakers, if there are no leakages and how various fans, motors or wires look like. This is the visit of the hidden belly of the train that is the subject of this photo essay.

3 –  the unseen, dirty secrets of a Eurostar Class 373 set

The set (37)3217 is pictured during its stop in Ashford Intl station on a Paris to London move (train #9055). Some pictures of today’s essay have been taken inside this unit.

Portrait of a pioneer

The Class373 sets are the first passenger trains used for the TransManche link. They have been built in the early 90s by Alsthom in various factories around Europe. They are also known as the TMST, TransManche Super Train. These units have a British gauge that can easily be noticed. At the beginning of the Channel Tunnel service in 1994, they were able to run on tracks with 25kV, 3kV or 1.5kV wires or with a 750V third rail! This last feature was abandoned at the opening of the British high speed line (HS1) in 2007. Today, the Class 373 sets are slowly written off and replaced with the Siemens E320 Velaro trains.

The pictures of this article have been taken from an iPhone 6 using the Hipstamatic app. The film is Blackeys Supergrain, the lenses James M and Penny.

Hipstamatic, a tool for people in search of creativity

Many photographer friends are blaming me for the use of Hipstamatic, an iPhone app. It’s a kind of virtual camera where the user can select through a collection of lenses and films. The final result is a JPEG file that can hardly be post-processed. I really like to use it to train myself and improve my “photographic eye”.

I sometimes have a little voice inside me saying : “there’s a great picture to take around here”!

In fact, the picture has to be good after the shot … just like with an analogue camera. It forces you to move around, to concentrate on the framing, etc. Days after days, using this apps helps me to get a kind of “instinct” in front of a scene or a subject. I sometimes have a little voice inside me saying : “there’s a great picture to take around here”!

The distinctive shape and British gauge of the TMST set can be seen on this picture taken in Paris-Nord station.

An interpretation of the reality.

After these words, you’ll be able to discover this photo essay. Be aware that it is not a pictorial showing technical details of the hidden areas of the train. Also you won’t find any explicative descriptions of the things pictured here. It’s more a global portrait. I tried to render in picture what I could feel inside this small and dirty place. Like American photographer Jack Delano said : “It’s not the reality but an interpretation of the reality.

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