Four lines on the busy Metro network in Paris ground to a halt on Friday when the network was hit by a 'technical fault'.
Line 2, (porte Dauphine/Nation) line 6, (Charles de Gaulle/Nation), line 10 (Boulogne/Austerlitz) and line 11 (Chatelet/Mairie des Lilas) were all out of action and not expected to function again until later in the afternoon. Stations on the lines were all evacuated.
Metro operators RATP denied earlier reports in Le Parisien that several Metro trains could well be blocked in tunnels, with passengers still on board. All passengers were in fact evacuated via the Metro stations, RATP said.
Initially RATP said the fault could be linked to problems with the electricity supply, however unions give a dfifferent version of events. Laurent Gallois from the UNSA union told Le Parisien, the breakdown happened after tests revealed the existence of asbestos in the control room that operates the four lines. This was later confirmed in a tweet from RATP.
"Lines 2, 6, 10 and 11 were stopped at 12.20pm because of asbestos in the control room of these lines," RATP tweeted.
Les lignes 2, 6, 10 & 11 ont vu leur exploitat° interrompue à 12h20 pr cause d'amiante dans la salle en charge de la régulat° de ces lignes— Groupe RATP (@GroupeRATP) December 20, 2013
Traffic is not set ro return to normal until around 4pm. As this tweet shows RATP has launched an emergency operation and have mobilised all their members of staff to be posted to Metro stations to deal with queries and no doubt complaints from frustrated commuters.
La #RATP a mis en place un plan de crise.Tous les agents sont mobilisés en station pour informer et aider les voyageurs à s'orienter.— Groupe RATP (@GroupeRATP) December 20, 2013
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More to follow.