Paris, France


The romantic French capital simply oozes charm and uniqueness that is frequently and poorly imitated by other cities around the world. However there's not too many other cities that have introduced a very successful and what has become an essential part of the life of a Parisien - Le Metropolitain. Operated by the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens or RATP for short, 14 lines cris-cross Central Paris in a web that makes it rare to be further than 500 metres from a station. RATP operates the Metro with short wheelbase cars, in consists of around 5-6 cars (depending on the line) which are mostly underground and are able to negotiate some very tight turns - an advantage the Metro has over more conventional underground railways. All of the original lines constructed at around the turn of the 20th century used the typical steel wheel on steel rail technology. After the end of World War 2 however, a number of the lines were modified to use rubber tyred cars that give a much smoother, quieter and more comfortable ride quality. This proved to be quite an expensive exercise and was later cut to implementing only new lines with that technology. As a result, around half the network today is still steel wheel on steel rail operated. Opened in 1998, line 14 was constructed with not just the rubber tyre equipment, but it is the first metro line to be completely operated without drivers.

Complementing the Metro is the RATP's network of RER suburban lines. These lines cross from the fringes of Ile-de-France from one side to the other through underground tunnels in Central Paris. Also operating in conjuction with the French National Railways SNCF and Transilien is a network of outer suburban routes that depart from Paris' grand terminals such as Gare du Nord, Gare de L'est and Gare de Lyon. The latter being the site of a tragic accident involving a runaway EMU in 1988.

Operating on the surface of Paris' chaotic streets is the RATP's very good network of bus routes providing often more direct but slower services to complement the Metro. The buses also provide connections from the Metro termini to many of the suburbs of Greater Paris not served by heavy rail. The majority of the RATP bus fleet is on Renault and the later Irisbus chassis, but more recently an increasing number of non French chassis such as Scania & MAN have appeared.

Paris has also recently found a renewed taste for light rail, and currently has one on-street running and another converted from disused heavy rail line. Currently under construction (see photographs below) is a third line which will involve on street running. The ultimate plan is to have a light rail network that provides a circumferential service paralleling the Boulevarde Peripherique - the demarkation point between the arrondissements of Central Paris and the suburbs.


Photo Gallery

Bus & Tram

Renault Agora Articulated 1725 near L'arc de Triomphe in the evening of 31/10/2005.

Renault Agora 2548 at Porte Saint-Cloud. 30/10/2005.

Renault Agora 2816 on Avenue de Tourville while operating a route 82 service. 30/10/2005.

Renault Agora 2826 on Boulevarde des Invalides. 30/10/2005.

Renault Agora Articulated 4491 on Boulevard Victor not far from the Line 8 Metro station Balard. 30/10/2005.

Renault Agora Articulated 4497 near L'arc de Triomphe. 31/10/2005.

Renault R312 5549 on Boulevard de Clichy near Blanche Metro station. 31/10/2005.

Renault R312 6337 proceeds down the Champs Elysees. 31/10/2005.

Renault R312 6338 leads 6337 down the Champs Elysees. 31/10/2005.

Rear shot of Renault R312 6527 terminating at Place de la Concorde on a short working of route 72. 30/10/2005.

Renault R312 6538 at Porte Saint-Cloud. 30/10/2005.

Renault R312 6583 lays over near L'arc de Triomphe. 01/11/2005.

Renault R312 6743 is just beginning it's journey on Route 22 while on Boulevarde Haussmann. 30/10/2005

Renault R312 7346 awaits its next service at Porte Saint Cloud. 30/10/2005.

Renault Agora 7414 pulls away from a stop on Boulevard du Palais. 29/10/2005.

Renault Agora 7423 about to depart on a Route 38 service from Porte d'Orleans. 01/11/2005.

Renault Agora 7551 on Quai d'Austerlitz. 31/10/2005.

Renault Agora 7646 leans around Place du Carrousel near the Louvre. 31/10/2005.

Renault Agora Euro 3 7837 awaits its next service at Porte Saint Cloud. 30/10/2005.

Renault Agoraline 8139 crossing the River Seine on the Pont au Change. 29/10/2005.

Renault Agoraline 8145 unloading passengers on Quai d'Austerlitz. 31/10/2005.

Renault Agoraline 8416 on Boulevard de Clichy near Blanche Metro station. 31/10/2005.

The interior of a Renault Agora Articulated while operating route PC1. 30/10/2005.

An Irisbus 'Sans Voyageurs' shown speeding along Rue d'Alesia. 01/11/2005.

An Irisbus on route 96 shown crossing Pont au Change. 29/10/2005.

Rear view of a Renault Agora Articulated heading along Boulevard Victor besides the construction work for Tram route T3. 30/10/2005.

Renault Agora Articulated heading along Boulevard Victor besides the construction work for Tram route T3. 30/10/2005.

Citadis Trams 404 & 426 pass at Les Moulineaux. 01/11/2005.

Citadis Tram 409 approaches the platform at Les Moulineaux. 01/11/2005.

Citadis Tram 412 brings up the rear of a coupled set at Les Moulineaux. 01/11/2005.

Citadis Tram 416 waiting for departure from Les Moulineaux while bound for Issy/Val de Seine. 01/11/2005.

Citadis Tram 417 departs for La Defense from Les Moulineaux as a sister car approaches. 01/11/2005.
Metro & RER
Line 1 Metro set at La Defense station. 31/10/2005


Line 2 Metro set departing from Blanche. 30/10/2005.

Another Line 2 Metro set shown also at Blanche station. 30/10/2005.

Rubber tyred Line 4 Metro set at Chateau D'eau. 29/10/2005.

Rubber tyred Line 4 Metro set at Porte D'Orleans. 01/11/2005.

Car M3579 at the rear of a Line 6 set at Bir Hakiem station. 01/11/2005.

View of a Line 6 Metro set at Bir-Hakiem. 01/11/2005.

Distant shot of a Line 6 Metro service crossing the River Seine just before Bir-Hakiem. 01/11/2005.

A Line 7 Metro service departs Palais-Royal/Musee du Louvre. 31/10/2005.

A Line 8 Metro service seen at La Tour/Maubourg. 30/10/2005.

A Line 8 Metro shunts into the dead-end at Balard before returning north with another service. 30/10/2005.

A Line 9 service stopping at Strasbourg/St Denis. 31/10/2005.

An RER Line C service about to depart from Gare d'Austerlitz. 31/10/2005

An RER Line A service departing from Charles De Gaulle/Etoille. 31/10/2005.

Car 8200 at the lead of a Line B RER service shown at Gare du Nord. 31/10/2005.

The interior of single-deck EMU car used on the RER's Line B. 31/10/2005.

RER EMU Set 07A loading at Issy/Val de Seine on a line C service. 01/11/2005.

RER EMU Set 40T arriving at Issy/Val de Seine on a line C service. 01/11/2005.


HOME
Page last updated 27/06/2006, © 1999-2009 Anthony Leith with corrections courtesy © 2006 Jean-François Dancre