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 

1 comment:

  1. If Paris can do it why can't London. Probably the difference is the intransigence of our government concerning helping the workers to move around the capital more easily.