Saturday, May 21, 2011

Train Control Tower


With roughly 32 000 kilometers (19 884 miles) of tracks, France has one of the densest train networks in the world. The traffic is of course very important (132 millions passengers in 2010!) and needs to be regulated by controllers. Precisely, this morning I was scheduled to visit the CNOF (Centre national des opérations ferroviaires), that is the equivalent to the air control tower in an airport. Unfortunately I arrived too late (my fault!) and they would not let me in. I still got to photograph their stunning, just renovated building with its "vertical garden" or "planted wall" (on the left, in the photo). Better than nothing I guess. If you're interested, speak French and... are able to arrive on time, you can visit it too. Check here.

14 comments:

  1. I've seen similar vertical gardens in Japan. This perspective upward is one I often employ in my own weak attempts at capturing the moment via the lens. You're right, this is a stunning building. However, having seen the inside, I think I'll stick to the outside. This type of job is rewarding for some, but I'm afraid I'd be a "basket case" in the first hour. My hat off to those who are talented enough to work these control operations. Is there a "Happy Hour" pub nearby? Just aksing. ;-)

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  2. Wow, what a shot. My neck is out of joint. LOL

    The first time that I saw one of these gardens was when I was visiting Le musée du quai Branly -- I love tribal art.

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  3. Your shot makes me feel dizzy but I like it. The short distance with the wall is interesting. In French, we say 'être au pied du mur' and this photo reminds me of this meaning. Beautiful vertical garden. Really like it.

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  4. My favourite vertical garden is one I pass frequently: BHV Homme Department Store in the Marais on rue de la Vererrie!

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  5. Green v.s. Retro....nice contrast Eric....good way to start the weekend:)

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  6. Merci pour le tuyau. Je me suis inscrite à la prochaine visite! J'espère qu'on a le droit de prendre des photos. On verra.

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  7. I love the detail on the building, and the vertical garden is beautiful. Ah, the French always think of something interesting.

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  8. @Elsa " J'espère qu'on a le droit de prendre des photos. On verra"

    Hélas non... (Sans doute trop stratégique, ça peut se comprendre pour une fois, je dois dire).

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  9. à Eric: merci pour cette info. Je regarderai tout attentivement alors. C'est vrai que l'interdiction n'est pas étonnante non plus.

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  10. OK, let me get this straight... you HAVE TO ARRIVE on time but the trains can depart and arrive pretty much at any time (oh come on, we all know they do and they always have excuses !!! )

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  11. Nasty Tomate said it: Seems unfair that you can't be late when . . .
    Oh well, I think you got the best shot. Maybe I'll check this out next time I'm in Paris—then I can tell you what you missed. :~}

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  12. Hi Eric,

    That's is dense, but in the Netherlands we have only 2.900 km of track and 422.400.000 passengers in 2010. So it can be denser!

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  13. What an interesting wall! (Were they trying to save on windows and decorations? lol) The other building is beautiful as well. :)

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  14. Nice photo and amazing perspective!

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