Thursday 24th May: A ride on the steam railway, from St Valery to Le Crotoy and back. The weekday service on the CFBS consists of two return trips from Le Crotoy to St Valery – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Travelling to Le Crotoy on the morning train would give us 2½ hours before returning on the afternoon train – ideal for a leisurely lunch (and a good one it was too)…
High on a wall beside the quay at St Valery – more or less at the railway terminus – a plaque marks a significant event in history – William the Conqueror sailed from St Valery to Hastings in 1066 (with 400 vessels, apparently)
The train was filling rapidly when we returned to Le Crotoy station – we found seats at the very front of the train, in the leading coach of a pair of four-wheelers – with a view directly into the open cab of No.1 “Aisne” – great! We were able to watch the activities of the driver and fireman all the way back to Noyelles. On running round at the latter, we found ourselves at the rear of the train – and returned to St Valery watching the rails and sleepers – and the open vistas of the Somme salt marshes.
The day was deemed a huge success – the highlight of our holiday! (More details on the rail-related aspects of this little outing will – eventually – appear in “Geoff’s Rail Diaries”)