|Train for Les Ponts de Martel at La Chaux-de-Fonds
At Neuchatel we changed to a local train to La Chaux-de-Fonds. This was a multiple unit with a driver at each end. The first drove from Neuchatel to Chambrelien where there is a reversal of direction. The second driver drove the train the rest of the way to La Chaux-de-Fonds. This saves the time it takes for one driver to walk from one end of the train to the other - there was a local train following us five minutes later.
Just before every hour at La Chaux-de-Fonds some seven trains from all directions converge. There was even an SNCF single diesel car - required because of the differing voltages of the electrical systems of the two countries. Within ten minutes or so all the trains have gone out again. A perfect example of coordination between four companies and two gauges.
Our train was not very big and we found it almost completely filled with at about 30 kindergarden kids and five helpers. The kids were packed in, some three to a seat, and were making quite a bit of noise although the teacher was very good. As we took off out of the town there was a cry of "cheval". Then the teacher explained there would be a tunnel and this was greeted with loud anticipation. The tunnel was a great success. Then there was a big cry when someone spotted a "vache". The kids all piled out at an early stop to visit a park. The children were under good control and lined up outside the train but one little girl was a little unsure and insisted on holding the teacher's hand as she got down. The teacher waved goodbye to us and smiled "maintenant calme". We responded "bonne chance".
|The kids were all sitting down - great excitement
|Canadian horsemeat steak and fires. As I took this picture Mary raised her glass and said "To Fred".
|Train waiting to leave Les Ponts de Martel. I am standing close to the end of track.