Once upon a time, back in the late Twenties and early Thirties, before television and track days were invented, European car enthusiast types had to be a little more creative when it came to vehicle-based tomfoolery. A popular little game was to pit car against the quotidian long-distance travel option of choice of the day: the locomotive. They used to race trains, in other words.
Only decent distances would do, and one of the popular challenges was to attempt to beat the Calais-Méditerranée Express from the French Riviera to Calais - known less formally as Le Train Bleu because of its distinctive dark blue sleeping carriages.
Words: Tom Ford
Pics: Justin Leighton
This feature first appeared in Top Gear magazine