French Rail Map
While researching transportation options for a customer trying to get from Paris to Molsheim, I discovered a great map of the French rail system.
Using the different colors as indications of separate lines, I was able to determine that her best route was Paris to Strasbourg, then a transfer to the regional line that served Molsheim.
Interestingly, the map is not from an official source – it’s on a trainspotting web site. ("Trainspotting" is the pastime of rail enthusiasts who track the different models, individual cars and their arrival & departure times as a hobby.) It’s not the first time I’ve found trainspotter web sites useful – researching train service in northern Italy for my return trip from our Bicycling Venice and the Dolomites tour in 2002, I found a trainspotting site about the separate line serving that valley, which told me most of what I needed to know about the connections from there to Bolzano and Innsbruck. So, if you’re trying to learn more about train service abroad, there are always the big European train service web sites (SNCF, Trenitalia and Rail Europe), but don’t forget to give Google a chance to find you a helpful trainspotting site when you get stuck.