The Platforms of History
Passenger Buffet Car – A 3RTU “Grand Confort”
1971, Withdrawn from service from 1998
In the wake of the success of the Trans Europe Express (TEE), the SNCF decided to include buffet cars on some French lines. They ordered 103 Grand Confort carriages capable of running at speeds of 200 kph (124 mph) and above. They featured state-of-the-art comfort and a distinctive livery, associating the red of the Capitole, orange, light grey and slate grey.
You could have a drink in the buffet car while travelling at 200 kph (124 mph) in one of the fastest and most comfortable trains of the 1970s.
Delivery began in 1970 and they were used on the following prestigious SNCF TEE trains departing from Paris: the Etendard to Hendaye, the Aquitaine to Bordeaux, the Capitole to Toulouse, the Stanislas to Nancy, the Kléber to Strasbourg and the Jules Verne to Nantes.
Focus on the Aquitaine TEE
In 1971, the SNCF put a high speed train into service between Paris and Bordeaux, targeting a business clientele. It was made up of several Grand Confort carriages and hauled by a CC 6500 locomotive, proudly bearing its name on a plate attached to the front.
With competition from air travel, the Aquitaine was withdrawn from service in 1984 after running for only 13 years. Operating a first class train with both a dining car and a buffet car was no longer feasible. With the closure of the TEE service, luxury train travel also disappeared in favour of a more functional transportation offer.