Thursday, 26 January 2017

Plans for Perrache Pointwork (2)

What is The Point of Perrache?
The Compagnie des chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée (P L M) was the Great Western Railway of France, although it ran south from Paris. It served the grand resorts of the Côte D'Azur, playground of the wealthy. It was initially formed by the merger of two companies, that from Paris to Lyon, and a separate operation developing lined from Lyon southbound.

Lyon presented a whole raft of engineering challenges, notably high ground and the rivers Saône and Rhône. The line from Paris terminated at a station in the suburb of Vaise.
For the mid 19th century it was a grand and stylish building.
The engineering that was needed join join the two routes can be viewed today. As we travel south from Vaise we plunge into a short curved tunnel.
The tunnel mouth is centre left. In parallel, the A6 motorway also dives into a spectacular tunnel.
Both sets of infrastructure reappear near the banks of the Saône ...
... where three bridges; motorway, railway and City road all cross together.
The original Perrache station, opened fully in 1857, was then built on the peninsula between the two rivers.

It was on viaduct and "state of the art" ...
... enjoying interchange with the trams at ground level.
Today's station, road tunnels and underground transport interchange are in similar locations today.
The Motorway turns sharp right at the Rhône whilst the railway crosses on another substantial bridge ...
... and passes a series of depots and sidings as it, too turns south again.
There is a further complication to the railways of Lyon.

A new station was constructed in 1978 as part of the new Part-Dieu urban neighbourhood project. As the planners intended Part-Dieu to act as a second city centre for Lyon ...
... the large train station was built in conjunction with a shopping centre (the largest in France outside Île-de-France), a major government office complex, and the tallest skyscraper in the region, nicknamed Le Crayon (The Pencil) due to its shape.
Just south of the Rhône bridge there is a triangular junction which leads to Part-Dieu.
The majority of Lyon's "inter-city" services trasferred to Part Dieu, taking away some the the original stations importance and leaving it is the location for suburban and T E R (regional) services.

A complete map of the Lyon network may help.
The red line is the TGV route whereby most trains bypass Lyon city and zoom southwards. The few that terminate whip along the junction line and into Part Dieu.

The TGV station is located in the middle of nowhere in particular, next to the Airport.
The link from the city is provided by a dedicated fast tram service.
Saint-Exupéry Airport?

Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry (29 June 1900 to 31 July 1944) was a French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist, and pioneering aviator. He became a laureate of several of France's highest literary awards and also won the U.S. National Book Award.
He is best remembered for his novella "Le Petit Prince" and for his aviation writings, including "Terre des Hommes" and "Vol de Nuit".
Saint-Exupéry was born not far from Lyon Parrache station!

fbb "studied" (a euphemism, agreed) the latter two as part of the A level French Course at Northampton Grammar School.

But we digress.

Here in the UK, we are becoming used to line and station "blockades" whereby closures take a block of days or even, as in the Gospel Oak to Barking line, several months. Some "commuters" are oft heard to mutter, "They have it better organised in Europe" as they wait in the rain for their rail replacement bus.

But this blog is in Lyon to look at a major closure of Perrache station for engineering works.

The disruption to trains and their passengers is considerable, as we shall see tomorrow.

 Next Perrache blog : Friday 27th January 

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