Nancy by Train


Today I am heading of to WebDIM4LS in Nancy, where I am giving a talk. Although I am really looking forward to the conference and the talk, it has been stressing me out a fair bit. I like writing talks, getting slides together, working out a good story—I hope that I have achieved it in this case—but things have been really busy at work, especially with the end of term coming up. I’ve found myself really pushed to find time to write it. In the end, I finished writing yesterday (that’s a saturday!) at 8ish.

I’m travelling to Nancy the whole way to train, using Eurostar. I’d left it all rather late in booking travel, put managed to get tickets the whole way. It’s very expensive; >£200, plus Newcastle to London at another $100. I think I could have got it for around 100, if I had booked earlier. As it happens, it was no more expensive than flying, though again that would have been cheaper earlier. Still, I’m quite looking forward to it. The tunnel is a new experience for me.

Out of the last four journeys I have made, I have lost my luggage in Paris, De Gaulle three times (the fourth time I lost my luggage elsewhere), so travelling by train seemed attractive. So far, it’s working out well. The train is, well, more civilised than a plane. There’s little in the way of through ticketting though; I’m conscious that a delay could mean the entire thing falling over. As we’re currently crawling along to overtake a broken down train, this seems distinctly possible.

14:00 GMT

Well, the train was late, but I had enough time for the change over, and am now sitting in the Eurostar. Coming into King’s Cross was a big advantage — Paddington or Euston would have been much less convienient. The St Pancras terminal is fine — security and passport control were quick and no hassle (wey, hey, you can take liquids). The waiting area is comfortable and heated. Boarding straightforward (although the coach numbers are hidden away on a LCD screen which really does not stand out). Looking around and judging by the large number of fat men in suits, it would appear that I am in business class, which is a bit of a surprise. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons it was so expensive.

14:15 GMT

The train’s now moving. It’s very smooth but looking outside, it’s pretty clear that the train is tanking along. Definately in first class; just had a drink, and now they are bring around a menu.

I think that the power supply keeps getting cut though — my computer is switching on and off between low and high power mode. Either that or it’s about to break.

Originally published on my old blog site.