Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

stripeyman

Lille/Albert

Recommended Posts

stripeyman

I am thinking of getting to the Western Front by a means that I have not done before. Flying from Manchester to Lille and then getting the train to Albert. Any chums have thoughts on this, problems or advantages?

Thanks

Bob G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gareth Davies

Lille - Albert takes just under an hour by train.  Are you going to pick up a bicycle in Albert? Or use buses?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hedley Malloch

I used to live in Lille and have taken the train from Lille to Albert many times. What I would strongly recommend is that you take the train from Lille Gare Lille Flandres to Miraumont in the northern sector of the Somme battlefield and then walk to Albert and catch the train back. There are so many different routes to take. You can walk to:

 

Serre, then Sheffield Memorial Park, Redan Ridge, Beaumont Hamel, up to Ulster Tower via St. Pierre Divion, thence to Thiepval, through the fields to Lonsdale CWGC, through Aveluy Wood and then crawl into Albert. If you time this right you will arrive just in time to see the 17:30 train to Lille depart from Albert SNCF. Damn! This means you will have wait two hours for the next train, time to be spend in your watering hole of choice in Albert. There are many variants on this route which you can take depending on your interests.

 

Courcelette, over OG1 and OG2 to Pozières, lunch in Tommy's, sunken lane to Casualty Corner, Fricourt via Contalmaison, the Willow Patch, over the fields to Bécourt, then down the road to Albert. Again, there are many variants.

 

You will need 4 maps for this lot: IGN Serie Bleue 2408O, 2408E, 2407E, 24070.

 

These walks require that you follow Alfred Wainwright's maxim: breakfast well and breakfast early. Not all trains on the Amiens-Lille line stop at Miraumont and you will need an early one. Do not attempt these walks from Albert to Miraumont. You will find yourself racing for the last train from Miraumont to Lille.

 

There are many things I miss about France, but the ability to put some sandwiches in a rucksack, set the alarm for 06:00, walk down to Gare Lille Flandres and catch the milk train to Albert, ranks very high up the list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fattyowls

Bob

 

I'm very interested in the flight schedule from Manchester to and from Lille Lesquin; do you have to change or is it direct? It's probably not much help but there is a post on the forum of a video showing the whole route which I'm struggling to find. I'll have another look a bit later.

 

Pete.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hedley Malloch

I am sorry if the initial post provoked such a nostalgia fest on my part, much of which was not entirely relevant. The short answer to your question is that trains do run between Lille Gare Lille Flandres and Albert. You can find the timetable here:

 

https://cdn.ter.sncf.com/medias/PDF/hauts_de_france/FH1_du_26_aout_au_13_octobre_2019_version_du_9_septembre_tcm77-226442_tcm77-228475.pdf

 

There is a shuttle service between Lille Lesquin and Gare Lille Flandres. It runs every 20 minutes or so.

 

Note that airline services between Lille and the UK are severely restricted in order to keep the market for  Eurostar safe. In the past there have been air routes, the last one being Lille-Yorkshire International (Leeds/Bradford) and Edinburgh. But they don't last long, so take advantage of them whilst they are in business. Welcome to France.

Edited by Hedley Malloch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fattyowls
2 minutes ago, Hedley Malloch said:

I am sorry if the initial post provoked such a nostalgia fest on my part, much of which was not entirely relevant.

 

I found it really interesting and I wouldn't mind trying that someday.  Hopefully Bob will be interested too, his post is throwing up some valid information. I've done Lille Europe to Arras and Arras to Lille Flandres, but not on to Albert.

 

Pete.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hedley Malloch
3 hours ago, Fattyowls said:

 

I found it really interesting and I wouldn't mind trying that someday.  Hopefully Bob will be interested too, his post is throwing up some valid information. I've done Lille Europe to Arras and Arras to Lille Flandres, but not on to Albert.

 

Pete.

 

One of the finest feelings in battlefield walking is to stand on the platform of Miraumont station at 08:00 on a cold Sunday morning in January watching the rear lights of the Amiens train disappear into the murky, frosty gloom, knowing that there is 12-mile hike between you and Albert. In the early 2000s, before Newfoundland Park had been rendered fit for the tourist industry, and when Thiepval had not been gentrified for the 4x4 SUV with dinner-plate sized poppies in the radiator grilles, when the only shelter was to be found in CWGC cemeteries, and the only warmth around the brazier of the watchman guarding Newfoundland Park. On a Sunday there as no-one to be seen. There were no Visitors' Centres anywhere en-route, not toilets, Ulster Tower was closed ...

 

Fades out to the strains of Hovis advert music.

 

Nostalgia - it's not what it used to be.

Edited by Hedley Malloch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fattyowls
10 hours ago, Hedley Malloch said:

Fades out to the strains of Hovis advert music.

 

...and if you try telling kids that today they just won't believe you........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
helpjpl
18 hours ago, Fattyowls said:

Bob

 

I'm very interested in the flight schedule from Manchester to and from Lille Lesquin; do you have to change or is it direct? It's probably not much help but there is a post on the forum of a video showing the whole route which I'm struggling to find. I'll have another look a bit later.

 

Pete.

 

Traverse the Lille - Amiens battlefields armchair style

JP

Edited by helpjpl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fattyowls
12 hours ago, helpjpl said:

JP

 

Thanks JP, I wouldn't have found that in a month of Sundays - seriously smart searching on your part as usual.

 

Pete.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stripeyman

Thank you one and all. My investigations reveal that it is not cheap and the timings are not great.

Therefore I will be doing the following. train from Wigan to Euston, tube to St Pancras, Eurostar to Ashford. Here I will be picked up by my compatriot, and onto the Channel tunnel. Come Monday 21 Oct, take the train from Albert to Lille to catch the Eurostar back to London, thence home. Total cost £125, I can live with that.

BTW I thought the  video from the train cab towards Albert good, I recognised many of the locations, odd to see it from this aspect

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fattyowls

Have a good trip Bob, I did a little digging myself about the flight thing and that seemed to be the conclusion. I remember finding the video of the train trip fascinating, partly because of the locations you pass but also because I still want to be a train driver........

 

Pete.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stripeyman
On ‎19‎/‎09‎/‎2019 at 11:03, Hedley Malloch said:

I am sorry if the initial post provoked such a nostalgia fest on my part, much of which was not entirely relevant. The short answer to your question is that trains do run between Lille Gare Lille Flandres and Albert. You can find the timetable here:

 

https://cdn.ter.sncf.com/medias/PDF/hauts_de_france/FH1_du_26_aout_au_13_octobre_2019_version_du_9_septembre_tcm77-226442_tcm77-228475.pdf

 

There is a shuttle service between Lille Lesquin and Gare Lille Flandres. It runs every 20 minutes or so.

 

Note that airline services between Lille and the UK are severely restricted in order to keep the market for  Eurostar safe. In the past there have been air routes, the last one being Lille-Yorkshire International (Leeds/Bradford) and Edinburgh. But they don't last long, so take advantage of them whilst they are in business. Welcome to France.

Hedley

As you have used this service can you help with the timetable? I don't quite understand it, nor do I speak French, I need to catch the Eurostar at 18.35. What is the best time to board the train at Albert  to give me some 'wriggle room' so I don't miss it? BTW is it the same station ?

Thanks

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hedley Malloch

Trains from Albert to Lille to catch 18:35 to LIlle

 

Monday to Friday: 15:58

Saturday: 15:23

Sunday: 12:59 (only 6 trains on a Sunday)

 

These times are good until 13 October when the timetables change.

 

There are later ones but they all rely on Usain Bolt-like sprinting qualities, a perfect knowledge of the terrain between the two stations, and possibly tolerant border police. Check the book-in time before you make final arrangements. It used to be 30 minutes, but it may have changed.

No, the two Lille stations are different. Lille-Albert arrives at Gare Lille Flandres, the Eurostar uses Gare Lille Europe. There is a 250-metre walk between the two.

This conversation touches on the the search for the Eldorado, nay The Holy Grail, of Western Front battlefield walking. Is it possible to catch the first Eurostar from LSP to Lille, walk down to Gare Lille Flandres, catch a train to Miraumont, walk to Albert, return by train to Gare Lille Flandres in time for the last Eurostar to LSP, and a pint in The Dolphin?

Just a thought - but what a beautiful thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sassenach

Sounds good, but you'd be relying on every train running on time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stripeyman
17 hours ago, Hedley Malloch said:

Trains from Albert to Lille to catch 18:35 to LIlle

 

Monday to Friday: 15:58

Saturday: 15:23

Sunday: 12:59 (only 6 trains on a Sunday)

 

These times are good until 13 October when the timetables change.

 

There are later ones but they all rely on Usain Bolt-like sprinting qualities, a perfect knowledge of the terrain between the two stations, and possibly tolerant border police. Check the book-in time before you make final arrangements. It used to be 30 minutes, but it may have changed.

No, the two Lille stations are different. Lille-Albert arrives at Gare Lille Flandres, the Eurostar uses Gare Lille Europe. There is a 250-metre walk between the two.

This conversation touches on the the search for the Eldorado, nay The Holy Grail, of Western Front battlefield walking. Is it possible to catch the first Eurostar from LSP to Lille, walk down to Gare Lille Flandres, catch a train to Miraumont, walk to Albert, return by train to Gare Lille Flandres in time for the last Eurostar to LSP, and a pint in The Dolphin?

Just a thought - but what a beautiful thought.

Thanks Hedley. My return trip will be on Monday 21st October and you say the timetable will change on the 13th. When you know these times could you post here? BTW sprinting is not what I do nowadays.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hedley Malloch
2 hours ago, stripeyman said:

Thanks Hedley. My return trip will be on Monday 21st October and you say the timetable will change on the 13th. When you know these times could you post here? BTW sprinting is not what I do nowadays.....

I'll keep my eyes open.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michael Thomson

What a fascinating topic. Thank you for posting it! 

 

I'm very interested in those walks, would absolutely love to do some of the routes mentioned. 

 

The winter months are fantastic in the Somme, much quieter and not many crops in the fields. 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hedley Malloch

The winter timetable for the Albert/Lille line has been announced. See https://cdn.ter.sncf.com/medias/PDF/hauts_de_france/FH1_du_14_au_27_octobre_2019_version_du_30_septembre_tcm77-228988_tcm77-230181.pdf

 

What it means that the only Sunday train on this line which will deliver you in Lille in time for the 18:35 to SJP is the 12:59. The next train is the 16:59 arriving in Gare Lille Flandres at 17:58 which is cutting it close - too close for comfort.

Michael is right - this is a great time of year for battlefield walking on the Somme. I would sometimes do one of the walks described above and even at this time of year I would find poppies growing. And there is nobody there. You'll have the place to yourself.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stripeyman
On ‎13‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 11:14, Hedley Malloch said:

The winter timetable for the Albert/Lille line has been announced. See https://cdn.ter.sncf.com/medias/PDF/hauts_de_france/FH1_du_14_au_27_octobre_2019_version_du_30_septembre_tcm77-228988_tcm77-230181.pdf

 

What it means that the only Sunday train on this line which will deliver you in Lille in time for the 18:35 to SJP is the 12:59. The next train is the 16:59 arriving in Gare Lille Flandres at 17:58 which is cutting it close - too close for comfort.

Michael is right - this is a great time of year for battlefield walking on the Somme. I would sometimes do one of the walks described above and even at this time of year I would find poppies growing. And there is nobody there. You'll have the place to yourself.

 

 

 

Hedley

It is MONDAY that I will be traveling, could you give me the afternoon train times please ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hedley Malloch

Sorry about that. The Monday train times are:

Dep Albert 14:48 - Arrive Lille 15:59

Dep Albert 15:48 - Arrive Lille 17:00

Dep Albert 16:59 - Arrive Lille 17:58

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stripeyman
5 hours ago, Hedley Malloch said:

Sorry about that. The Monday train times are:

Dep Albert 14:48 - Arrive Lille 15:59

Dep Albert 15:48 - Arrive Lille 17:00

Dep Albert 16:59 - Arrive Lille 17:58

Thank you, probably take the middle one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
angelab
On 21/09/2019 at 20:31, stripeyman said:

...Therefore I will be doing the following. train from Wigan to Euston, tube to St Pancras, Eurostar to Ashford. Here I will be picked up by my compatriot, and onto the Channel tunnel....

 

I am prepared to be proved wrong on this, stripeyman, but I don't think you can get OFF a Eurostar train at Ashford after leaving St Pancras; in my experience it only picks UP passengers there.  (You can alight at Ashford only if travelling from the continent towards StPancras.)

But maybe there are other, non-Eurostar, trains that will deliver you there.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stripeyman
54 minutes ago, angelab said:

 

I am prepared to be proved wrong on this, stripeyman, but I don't think you can get OFF a Eurostar train at Ashford after leaving St Pancras; in my experience it only picks UP passengers there.  (You can alight at Ashford only if travelling from the continent towards StPancras.)

But maybe there are other, non-Eurostar, trains that will deliver you there.

 

 

That's a bit strange, if the doors are opened for people to get on the train why cannot someone get off. Or are there members of the station staff preventing this ? With words such as "Get back in you  brute!".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
keithfazzani

Eurostar trains operate on effectively a “sealed” platform. Passengers leaving from Ashford pass through immigration before boarding. There are plenty of other trains to Ashford including the High Speed train from St Pancras which runs on the Eurostar track but arrives at a domestic platform at Ashford. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...