It is better to arrive than to travel hopefully. Those who think otherwise are doomed to disappointment.

I thought of this on Thursday evening while standing on platform three of Callac station, the midway point of what remains of the once extensive regional rail network known as the Reseau Breton.

In days past, it was possible to travel by local trains throughout Brittany, a territory larger than the entire West Country of England. There was hardly anywhere that couldn’t be accessed by steam or diesel power. Today, all that remains of the reseau is a line from the port of Paimpol in the far north to Carhaix, on the eastern fringe of Finistere, by way of Guingamp … and Callac. The trains that serve it are single units, about twice the length of a bus, that scurry back and forward seven times a day, stopping at halts strung out along a route that is a series of never-ending S-bends.