Tag Archives: france

Paris to Rome in one hour: France backs the Hyperloop

Photo: Hyperloop Transport Technologies

Imagine Paris to Marseille in just 40 minutes, or Paris to Rome in just over one hour. French rail chiefs believe it’s not just a pie in the sky idea.

Hyperloop One startup, intent on zipping people along at near-supersonic speeds in pressurized tubes, announced Tuesday that the French national rail company had joined its growing list of backers.

Hyperloop One said that it raised $80 million in fresh funding from an array of investors, including GE Ventures and France’s SNCF.

“The overwhelming response we’ve had already confirms what we’ve always known, that Hyperloop One is at the forefront of a movement to solve one of the planet’s most pressing problems,” Hyperloop One co-founder Shervin Pishevar said.

“The brightest minds are coming together at the right time to eliminate the distances and borders that separate economies and cultures.”

While the idea of the Hyperloop replacing France’s already high-speed TGV services might seem a little too far-fetched at the moment, French rail chiefs clearly see some potential in the project.

So why not all ow us to dream a little.

With Hyperloop’s average speed of 970km/hour, imagine all the cities in France being within an hour’s travelling time from Paris. Paris to Marseille for example could take as little as 40 minutes – the time spent by many commuters on the Paris Metro each morning.

A trip to Rome on the Hyperloop would also be little over an hour away and Berlin would be 55 minutes according to very, very early guesstimates.

Pishevar and Brogan BamBrogan founded Hyperloop One, originally named Hyperloop Technologies, in 2013 to make real Elon Musk’s well-researched vision of a lightning-fast transport system with the potential to transform how people live.

Musk outlined his futuristic idea in a paper released in 2013, challenging innovators to bring the dream to life.

Hyperloop One, one of the startups that picked up the gauntlet Musk threw down, plans a demonstration Wednesday in the desert outside Las Vegas to show what it has accomplished so far.

BamBrogan also promised a “full-scaled, full-speed” demo by the end of the year.

“It’s not just a faster train; it is an absolute on-demand experience,” he said during a presentation here late Tuesday.

“It leaves when you get there and goes directly to your destination.”

He went on to playfully describe Hyperloop as having such a controlled environment that it would be “elevator smooth” as well as “pet friendly, kid friendly, grandma friendly.”

Hyperloop One is so confident in the speed at which the project is moving that it announced a global challenge in which businesses, governments, citizens, academics and others can submit proposals for where the systems should be built.

“Just like an Olympics bidding process, we want to understand the great ideas in the world and then extract the best one,” Hyperloop One chief executive Rob Lloyd said.

NOW WE ARE STARTING ON MY (PENNEY VANDERBILT) FAVORITE PROJECT: A rail connection between Chicago and Louisville, Kentucky

It would go through Indianapolis and may also serve Cincinnati. It might not go all the way into Chicago but instead start at the Gary, Indiana airport. Connection to Chicago would be over the South Shore Line


How About A Cable Car In Nice, France?

The possibility of a cable car system to link Nice to the surrounding hills has been discussed again. The project would dramatically reduce traffic in the city and allow the council to scrap a number of bus services currently carrying passengers from the hilly suburbs into the town. The idea has been raised before and is still only at the early stage of discussions. The mayor says that he’s not against the idea in principle but many more studies need to be carried out and if it goes ahead the cable car system would need a much bigger electricity supply than can currently be provided.

Shown above is the cable car system in Grenoble, France

Mayor Estrosi, here is a suggestion for you:

The Dutch Railway Could Run Solely On Wind Power By 2018

A Great Weekend For Rail Fans in Southern France

On the weekend of July 18/July 19 there was a fantastic agenda for railfans. It was held in St André les Alpes, France.

A steam train (Train des Pignes à Vapeur) ran several trips to Thorame Gare.

annot st André les Alpes 2015 Steam Train 03

There was a great model railroad show in the village of St André les Alpes. There was something for everyone. We bought several postcard-sized paintings from artist Geneviève Aujoulat.

In “real life, Ms. Aujoulat is a “chef de train” for the Chemin de Fer de Provence railroad. This narrow-gauge railroad runs from Nice to Digne.

Finally there was a model railroad exhibit run by the IETB.

This fantastic exhibit included a G-Scale garden railroad and an inside HO-Scale layout.

G Scale Railroad
G Scale Railroad
HO Scale Railroad
HO Scale Railroad

Oregon Tourists Enjoyed La Canne à Sucre in Nice, France

La Canne à Sucre in Nice, France (on the Promenade des Anglais at the corner of rue du Congres) is known as the friendliest restaurant in Nice.

La Canne à Sucre
La Canne à Sucre

Shown enjoying the great food are Oregon tourists Jan Haverly and Vicki Swain. They had a great dinner too.

They stayed in Nice on the way from Italy to Spain.

La Canne à Sucre
La Canne à Sucre

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Historic Bus 205 Rides The Streets of Nice

Above, the historic bus is running Route 23.

As well as history buffs, this bus carries  regular passengers. Some are surprised to see it. Bus is equipped with an electronic fare box to make them feel at home.

Several times a year, historic buses roam around Nice, France. Below see him rolling past La Canne à Sucre on Route 8


September 2014 Bus 205 passes La Canne à Sucre
September 2014 Bus 205 passes La Canne à Sucre

Bus 205 atop Mont Boron. Note the porch on the back
Bus 205 atop Mont Boron. Note the porch on the back


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ImageOn June 14, 2014, Nice Matin surveyed the major bars in Nice, France and awarded the maximum score of five “trophies” for its screens. And it’s more than deserved as La Canne à Sucre flies over the competition with its twenty televisions of all sizes. However, it was clear that this abundance does not ensure a crazy atmosphere. Thursday night it was very quiet. Wedged comfortably in leather seats or bucket seats, customers were in the bar like being at home. This may have its charm. It is, however, probable that the atmosphere will be different on a game night.
60 seats interior and 30 exterior
04 93 87 19 35

11 Promenade des Anglais

See more about La Canne à Sucre on our Nice, France Sports Page


Historical Jean Moulin Home For Sale In Nice France


We have talked about Jean Moulin, the hero of the French WW2 Resistance, before. We even have a full article on Jean Moulin. No WebSite or email on the sign, just phone number: 04 93 82 97 96 (outside France: +33 4 93 82 97 96)

Well now his old “apartment” at 22 rue de France is for sale! Saw a sign yesterday from Pietonne Immobiliere in Nice (just down the street at 15 rue de France). Yes, they have a WebSite

American Memorial Day 2014 in Draguignan, France


My friend had an opportunity on Memorial Day to visit the Rhône American Cemetary in Draguignan, France. His visit was to lay a wreath for the Democrats Abroad France to honor the US soldiers buried there.

While Rhône American Cemetary is the smallest American cemetary in France, the Allied invasion of southern France in the late summer of 1944 was very important and it is only natural to pay hommage to the fallen members of this group.

The government of the United States was represented by Mrs. Ann Chiappetta, Consul General in Marseille. The French government was represented by Mr. Laurent Cayrel, Préfet of the Var. On the military side, we had General Walter M. Piatt, commander of the Joint Multinational Training Command for US Army, Europe. The French military was represented by General Hervé Wattecamps.

We had several speakers. New mayor of Draguignan gave his welcoming speech in both French and English (nearly perfect English except confusing 1776 and 1996 …..heck I always confuse dix-sept and dix-neuf when I speak French too). Among other speakers were Mr. Bruce Malone, Superintendent of the Cemetary and Ms. Maura Sullivan, Commissioner of the American Battle Monuments Commission.

The laying of the wreaths was assisted by uniformed firemen-cadets.

French Army uniforms are fantastic. The officers carry swords. They have all kinds of medals and colors.

I really like how all the French mayors and civilian officials wear a Tricolor sash, as a symbol of their office. Most wear their sash from right shoulder to left side. Some, like the Préfet of the Var, wear the sash girding one’s loins.

Noted singer Amy Malone sang the National Anthems of both countries. Beginning with the second verse of La Marseillaise, many of the French, especially the army officers, joined in.

My friend sat in the VIP section. I sat in the outskirts of the crowd. Went up to see him before the ceremony. Didn’t realize his status until I saw his chair: “Lt. Col., US Army Reserve, Retired”.

He also pays his own “personal” hommage to 26 friends that served in his battalion and are recorded on the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington. Also to Newsweek reporter François Sully who was assigned to cover his unit and was lost in a helicopter crash. This year, he has added a fellow officer who survived Viet Nam but recently died.

Lunch was a great outdoor picnic sponsored by Ville de Draguignan.

For transportation from railroad station at Les Arcs to the cemetery, call Christophe at 06 09 57 43 16

General Electric Bids To Acquire Alstom’s Energy Units For $13.5 Billion


GE announced April 30, 2014 that it made a binding offer to acquire the thermal power, renewable energy and electricity grid businesses of the French engineering conglomerate Alstom for $13.5 billion in cash.

GE said in a press release that the Alstom board “positively received” its offer and appointed a committee of independent directors to review the bid by June 2. The deal is expected to close in 2015.

Jeff Immelt, GE chairman and CEO, said in a statement that the strategic bid would allow GE to boost its presence and scale in the growing global power generation sector. Immelt said power and water was “core to the future of GE” and one of the company’s “higher growth and [higher] margin industrial segments.”

The International Energy Agency estimates that global electricity generation will double by 2030. More than 50 percent of new power capacity over the next decade will come from gas and steam turbines, the technology that forms the crux of the deal.

Patrick Kron, Alstom’s chairman and CEO, said that “the combination of the very complementary energy businesses of Alstom and GE will create a more competitive entity to better service customer needs.” He said that Alstom’s employees would join “a well-known, major global player with the means to invest in people and technology to support worldwide energy customers over the long term.”

Kron said that the deal would allow Alstom to expand its transport business as a standalone company. A strong balance sheet would give it the ability to capitalize on opportunities in the dynamic rail transport market.

Immelt said that Alstom’s energy businesses were “very complementary in technology, operations, and geography” to GE’s power and grid businesses. “We expect a collaborative and prompt integration that will yield efficiencies in supply chain, service infrastructure, commercial reach, and new product development,” Immelt said.

GE expects that fast integration will generate more than $1.2 billion in annual synergies within five years and that the transaction will be “immediately accretive” for GE shareholders.

Alstom’s power business had €11 billion in sales ($15 billion) in fiscal year 2013 and employes 46,000 workers in France, U.K. and other countries.

“Alstom, like GE, is a company built on engineering, innovation and technology,” Immelt said. “We respect and value the deep industry and technology expertise of Alstom employees and expect them to add to our proven track record of developing talent and leadership in France and globally.”

There are many common roots between the two companies. They are almost like “kissing cousins”.

In 1892, Thomas Edison’s Edison General Electric Company merged with Elihu Thomson’s Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form GE. Thomson-Houston’s co-founder Charles A. Coffin became GE’s first chief executive officer and president.

In 1928, Thomson-Houston’s French subsidiary combined with France’s Sociéte Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques to create Alstom. The company developed into a major builder of power plant technology, including gas turbines built around technology licensed from GE.

In 1999, GE acquired Alstom’s heavy duty gas turbines business and the two companies have remained close. Their facilities in the northern French city of Belfort stand next to each other, divided only by a road and a fence, and their top executives live in the same neighborhoods.

In 2011, GE also bought Alstom’s former power conversion business, which became GE Power Conversion. The unit is now developing next-generation energy storage and power systems for a broad range of industries including oil and gas, mining, renewables and shipping.

GE has been present in France for decades and the company currently employs 10,000 workers in the country.

Forty years ago, GE formed an aviation joint-venture called CFM International with France’s Snecma (Safran). Since then, CFM has delivered some 26,000 jet engines to 530 operators. CFM has more than 6,000 orders valued at $78 billion for its latest engine, the LEAP, which will enter service in 2016.

GE has also decades-long relationships with industrial leaders in France such as EDF, GDF SUEZ, Total, Technip and Air France.

“GE has an excellent track record of creating shareholder value from investments in Europe,” Immelt said. “Across Europe, we have built strong global competitors from European champions in oil and gas, aviation and healthcare.”

Not the first time GE has bought a “kissing cousin”. In 1986, GE bought RCA for $6.4 billion. RCA had been founded in 1919 as Radio Corporation of America. The US Anti-Trust Division forced GE to divest the company a dozen years later.