Thursday 31 March 2022

Vive La Difference (Numero Deux)


Parallèlement au développement de la Compagnie du Chemin de Fer métropolitain (CMP), une autre concession est attribuée à la Société Berlier-Janicot qui réalise son propre réseau la compagnie du "Nord Sud". Cette compagnie exploitait un tronçon équivalent aujourd'hui aux lignes 12 et 13. Le Nord Sud finira par être absorbée en 1930 par la CMP.

The Nord Sud company's new line was, in part, in competition with CMP line 4 and its stations did have a distinctive style. Walls were tiled, as were station names.
Enamel signs were fitted above the station exit tunnels confirming the direction of trains leaving that way.
What became Metro Line 12 also began by linking two of Portes of old Paris. In the south west the terminus was Porte de Versailles ...
... ideally located for the Exhibition Park ... 
... which had opened a few years earlier. The line opened in stages from 1910 to 1912.

In passing, this exhibition park will be the site of the Tour Triangle ...
... the first tall building built since that at Gare Montparnasse ...
... caused such a kerfuffle that high buildings were banned in the city.

In 1934 the line was extended two stops to Mairie d'Issy. (click on the graphic for a larger view)
Here the Mairie is traditionally grand ...
... and the Metro entrance is traditionally modest.
The "Metro" signs are traditionally "Maigret"!
Sigh! They don't make telly programmes like that any more!

In the north the line originally terminated at Porte de la Chappelle.
Again, note the distinctive but minimalist Metro entrance.
In December 2012, the line was extended one stop to "Front Populaire" ...
The line is being extended currently by two stops ...
... not huge by today's extensive Parisian plans.
The first new stop is "Aime Cesaire" ...
Aimé Fernand David Césaire (26 June 1913 to 17 April 2008) was a French Martinican poet, author, and politician. He was "one of the founders of the Négritude movement in Francophone literature" and coined the word négritude in French. He founded the Parti progressiste martiniquais in 1958, and served in the French National Assembly from 1958 to 1993 and as President of the Regional Council of Martinique from 1983 to 1988.

Streetview passed by when construction of the station was in full swing ...
... and the surrounding area is not the most picturesque in Paris. But there is a little open space near the new station which also carries the writer's name.
pre-opening pictures show something much grander that the usual Metro entrance with wide stairways ...
... and lots of shiny stuff!
The waterway running across the aerial view is Canal Saint Denis which links into the River Seine at its northern end. It was, and still is, very industrial but, understandably, now in decline.
The new M12 terminus will be at the Mairie d'Aubervilliers ...
... a bit plain as Mairies go! A working site is directly opposite.
There used to be trams here ...
... and the Mairie has had a significant make-over!
The line is due to open later this year having been delayed by, fbb understands, a nasty virus. For fbb, there are too many stations with "Aubervilliers" in their name! Some sources add Aubervilliers to the original terminus of Front Populaire which makes six.
Thick lines on the map are RER and other "proper train" routes. Thinner lines are the Metro. Thin lines with square dots are trams. And, for those who like geographical maps below is an extract from an RATP "Sector" map showing everything with wheels, all streets and all bus stops.
The extension is not yet shown, but the Aime Cesaire stop is near the "Felix Faure Victor Hugo" bus stop, centre right.

Tomorrow we begin to look at the other extensions most of which are not yet under construction.

 Next Vive La Difference blog : Thurs 31 March 

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Vive La Difference (Numero Un)

They do things very differently in France where Paris is a clear indication of a really positive attitude to public transport in general. Currently SIX Metro lines are slated for extensions; ranging from a couple of stops on 4 and 12, through six new stops on line 10 to major extensions of 1, 11 and 14 out into the suburbs.

Then there is a completely new network of orbital suburban lines (15, 16, 17, 18) of which part of 15 is due to open soon.

Of course, as in the UK, policies and funding do change and there can be delays; but by the mid to late 2030s Paris will have four completely new lines and six extensions (maybe more) to existing Metro routes.

How does London compare. Don't laugh.

Which reminds fbb that there is a major extension to RER line E (RER is proper big trains) under construction.

So lets look at some of these projects. fbb will begin with M4 because it is now open.

The line originally ran from Porte de Clignancourt in the north ...
... to Porte d'Orleans in the south. 
And they were truly "gates" which could be locked and guarded to keep out undesirables and, historically, those that might wish to attack the capital. Nowadays they are ludicrously busy and horrifically scary road junctions.
Below is a plan of the fully open M4.
The biggest wiggle in the line is the bulge via Cite station. This is on the Ile de la Cite on which stands Notre Dame. It was originally planned that the line would go straight (ish) between Les Halles and Saint-Germain-les-Pres but there were outbursts of vehement objection. It would have passed close to the Louvre and under other important buildings (black dotted line on map below).
So it was diverted via Notre Dame which apparently did not matter! 

It was the first line to cross the Seine and construction was unusual. Most of the Metro is "cut and cover"; you dig a gurt big trench, pop the railway in it, then build a roof over the top.

But to cross the river, they built the tunnels above ground and then ... 
... sank them!
All alarmingly close to La Cathedrale!
It didn't fall down!

From 1905 to 2013 the line was unaltered (except early on while they joined the two bits together with the subfluvial tubes and a minor re-jig at Chatelet Les Halles).

Then in 2013 a one stop extension opened to Mairie de Montrouge (Mairie = town hall) ...
... with a posh interior including a very swish council chamber.
Across the road is the Beffroi.
Note the uninspiring entrance to the Metro station; just steps down and an escalator up.

Alliant architecture monumentale des années 1930 et modernité d’une infrastructure entièrement rénovée, le Beffroi de Montrouge est le lieu de prédilection pour l’organisation de vos événements professionnels, aux portes de Paris!

It is a centre for "events" and is super swish!
Diagonally across the junction is a modern Roman Catholic Church ...
... spectacular inside and out.
So we come to the new bit.
The first stop is called Barbara. The station is located at a busy road junction across the road from a huge cemetery.
Barbara was a cabaret singer ...
... who is buried in the cemetery. It was a local campaign that chose the name in favour of the one originally planned! 

Part of the cemetery grounds were used as a building site for the extension ...
... and the main station entrance is part of a not-quite-finished new build at the road junction. (It may be finished now!)
And so to the terminus at Bagneux-Lucie-Aubrac. 

Lucie Samuel (29 June 1912 to 14 March 2007), born Lucie Bernard, and better known as Lucie Aubrac,  was a French history teacher and member of the French Resistance during World War II.
Paris is good at naming its stations after people, whether they are relevant to the district or not - see Rosa Parks on RER line E!

There was (and still is!) a lot more activity here ...
... with a station designed to create desire!
This terminus is more important than usual because of its ultimate role as an interchange - of which more in due course.
Around 2011, Line M4 waved a fond farewell to its 45-year-old iconic trains and replaced them with never stock. The trains were second-hand, having been used on line M1; in turn having been displaced there by new automatic stock.
Old on the left; new(er) on the right.

But M4 is now in the process of being converted to fully automatic operation. The first sign of this will be the installations of platform doors (artist's impression below).
And remember that this is fully automatic; trains carry no staff at all and you can sit in the front and see where you are going!
You cannot do that on London's underground, but you can on Docklands trains!

Tomorrow - next to open, Line M12 extension.

 Next Vive La Difference blog : Thurs 31st March