Thursday, 13 October 2016
Métro Manquant et Mysterieuse (2)
Oh? So Sceaux Joins Métro, Ho Ho!
The Ligne de Sceaux, running south from Denfert Rochereau in Paris, was a strange beast developed as the brainchild of Jean-Claude-Républicain Arnoux, unsuccessful inventor of a gubbins to enable four wheeled coaches and wagons to negotiate sharp curves. His genius was short-lived and the line was quickly rebuild to standard gauge without the corners.
The turning circle above is about as sharp as some "toy" model railway layouts!
It remained in splendid isolation with no significant links to any other services. The line struggled for survival. having a variety of owners.
Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans
le 4 avril 1848,
Compagnie du chemin de fer de Bordeaux à La Teste
le 30 octobre 1848
Compagnie du chemin de fer de Marseille à Avignon
le 21 novembre 1848.
Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris à Lyon and then
Nationalisée en 1848.
In 1895, the line was extended from its original Paris terminus ...
... at Denfert Rochereau to Gare de Luxembourg, named after a large house and parkland nearby.
The extension was in tunnel, largely cut and cover, with vents for the smoke as it was steam hauled. Here is the work in hand with the former terminal station buildings in the background.
The new terminus was also completely underground and must have been a grim place with steam and smoke filling the lungs of passengers. Sadly, fbb could not unearth and pictures of those steamy Parisian below-ground days! Here is a train out in the country at Orsay station.
But here is a street level view of Gare Luxembourg.
The redeveloped building is still in place today, but with the modern station entrance being relegated to a set of steps and escalator at the side.
But, back to our story. In 1937, the line was transferred to the ownership of the Compagnie du chemin de fer Métropolitain de Paris (CMP). It then became a "Métro" line.
It was electrified at 1500 volts DC with overhead wiring and operated by class Z multiple unit trains.
The interiors were more luxurious than the "ordinary" Métro trains, many of which still had wooden seats.
Unlike the Métro, trains on this line did not necessarily stop at all stations, so note the clever but simple platform indicator with lights to show the calling point.
A similar situation is still used on some Parisian outer suburban trains; the precursor of the modern electronic displays which are great fun when the GPS signal goes awry and they show the wrong information. CMP trains showed a full route diagram.
But these non standard CMP trains remained until the end which came in 1987.
The beginning of the end came ten years earlier as we shall see tomorrow.
If you wish to own a model of one of the cars from a Z unit, you might come across an Atlas Editions model. Atlas is the company that plagues you with offers of all sorts of models delivered "approximately monthly" and entices you in with a very cheap first delivery.
But the models are nice and their Z car in the green livery, looks the part.
The models are unpowered.
And if you are really "well blessed" you could buy a superb book on the Ligne de Sceaux.
Amazon.fr is offering a copy at €69 - and no, fbb hasn't!
Next Sceaux blog : Friday 14th October