Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Thameslink "Tube" - Perfection In Paris? (un)

 Spoke Too Soon Dept

Posted on Sunday night, but where?
Answer, Burton and Swad!
Made a little easier, perhaps, by reverting to previous lockdown reductions, thus only needing a new cover for the booklet. But, clearly Classic was to nurture their customers, to show they really care and to be obviously ready for normality when (if?) it happens. It is a much better attitude than that of our misleading government.

It Fits! ...
Cinderella can go to the ball. It Fits ...
... and fbb's fake pre-war tank wagon (observe weird coupling from 1938/1939) ...
... can now be fully assembled, prettified a little and then will join the other 60+ different tank wagons. One day, when the old man feels really wealthy, he may well do a proper job; but, for the time being, his fake, pastiche, ersatz, surrogate, reproduction, bodged model has filled an annoying gap in the collection.

The next available weekend variety will fill in the details.

Back To Paris, Via London And Berlin
These blogs have been provoked by the arrival of Thameslink on the so-called London Tube map.

Which it isn't. It should be headed:-
The bit that doesn't run on rails swings on strings and is called the Emirates Air Line.
It doesn't come under the "standard" fares scheme although you can pay the rip-off price on your Oyster Card. It is, of course, purely a tourist thing and never should be on the Tube map.
London's new Tube map, whichever version  you choose, shows that its anomalies are growing. It has lost the clear simplicity that the great Harry Beck invented.
In a word, it has become a mess full of confusion.

Prompted by the growth of anomalies and inconsistencies in the non-Tube map, fbb decided to take a look at Berlin.

Although ostensibly one public transport network, maps and on-line information in the German capital are as muddled as they are in London - some good, some poor and some simply excellent.

But, even on-line, there is no one combined source of information.

So what of Paris?

First we take a quick gabble through the various modes and networks.
First, the classic Metropolitain. Scattered with evocative reminders of its classic past, the Metro is more akin to a sub-surface tram system with frequent headways and closely spaced stations.
To complement the Metro there is a significant bus network ...
... where a modern fleet has long since replaced the tradition Parisian open platform rear loader.
There is a growing tram network, but developed outside the historic city limits, and thus disjointed. 
The tram routes tend to be presented as part of the Metro network.
There is nothing left of the historic tramways that ran extensively through the city ...
... and out via the historic "Portes" ...
... into what was then the Ile de France rural area (click on the map below for an enlargement).
Also usually presented as part of the Metro network in central Paris, we have the RER, the Réseau Express Régional. This is the near equivalent to Thameslink, possibly Crossrail and even more possibly the Metropolitan line when it ran to Aylesbury and the District line when it ran to Southend!

The RER network consists of five lines, A to E which have been built linking outer suburban rail routes across the centre of Paris in new-build tunnels. It kicked off with line A (RED) partly as early in 1968 and work is currently in progress extending line E (PURPLE) further across the city.
The network is huge, with line D (GREEN) stretching nearly 90miles from Creil in the north to Malsherbes in the south. Many of the services are worked by double deck trains ...
... but RER line C (YELLOW) really is a challenge for the uninitiated!
Which leaves, as in London, suburban rail services not part of the RER network; and there are plenty of those. Here, added to RER C are line L, N and U to be found at the various Versailles stations.
Line L from Versailles to Paris St Lazare is one of the best rides in Paris with superb views over the city. And it is little known by the average tourist.
As London has its cable car, so Paris has its one oddity, but, unlike the Emirates Airline, this one is fully integrated into the Metro system. It is, of course, the Montmartre Funicular which hauls you up the hill to Sacre Coeur.
From a passengers point of view, it is just a one stop ride on the Metro ...
... although it is a bit of a toddle from either of the nearby Metro stations.

So, a bit like London, there is quite a variety of public transport operation to serve Parisians and their visitors. Is it easier to cope with than London?
Now there IS a question.

 Next Perfection in Paris (?) blog : Wednesday 20th January 


  1. Interesting to note that Beck's map totally ignored the Metropolitan beyond Rickmansworth. msking it a map of electric railways only.

    1. I think that was only on the very first, pocket sized, map. Subsequent editions had the names of the stations from Rickmansworth onwards in a box with an arrow, as did the District Line eastwards to Southend. later the Rickmansworth to Aylesbury section was shown as a line diagram.

  2. Andrew Kleissner19 January 2021 at 09:07

    Budapest not only has a funicular (not really part of the general public transport system) but a rack railway line and several river boat services which are! There's also a chairlift which is sort of half-and-half. Timetables for all of these are on the www.bkk.hu website, also the HEV rail services (but not mainline suburban trains).