Roasting Paris commuters complain of ’43C temperatures’ on packed RER trains

A few disgruntled (not to mention boiling) commuters in Paris have recorded the temperatures on the city's much-maligned RER B line during the ongoing heatwave... and their findings certainly make for some uncomfortable reading.

Roasting Paris commuters complain of '43C temperatures' on packed RER trains
Illustration photo: AFP
It's the Paris commuter line everyone loves to hate and now it's taking even more flak after three passengers decided to start recording the sticky conditions of the trains during rush hour as the mercury continues to rise in the French capital.
“We do this morning and evening always using the same measuring device at the same stations, at the same time,” said one of the passengers behind the project who travels between Orsay-Ville in the Essonne department of Ile-de-France and Châtelet every day.
And the results, which have been posted on one of the passenger's Twitter accounts will put most people off taking the RER B, at least until things calm down a little. 
On Wednesday night temperatures reached 37.1C on one train and the thermometer, which also records humidity, showed that in these conditions the temperature actually felt like 43.8C. 

How to keep cool during France's heatwave (especially at work)Photo: AFP

“Over time it gets tiring,” said one of the passengers. “In the morning we are already soaked, already sweaty. I make sure I leave work early in the evening to avoid the rush hour. Luckily, I have an understanding employer.”
The results may come as a surprise to anyone aware that RER has a “refrigerated ventilation” system which, although not exactly air-conditioning, should help cool the air in the carriages. 
According to the RER B official blog, 91.7 percent of the trains on the line come with this ventilation system.  
However one of the passengers responsible for recording the temperatures on the trains isn't convinced. 
“These are sweeping statements,” he said. “Since the introduction of summer schedules, there are fewer trains, fewer services and therefore more people on the trains. They have also been using the MI84 trains more often… and they have not been renovated [with the ventilation system].”
RER B chiefs did acknowledge that travelling conditions were “particularly difficult” in the heatwave and admitted the ventilation systems on the trains “were not optimal in the hot weather”.
Staff were on hand however to hand out water at certain stations on the line.
And it's not just those travelling on RER B who are battling with the heat, with passengers on other RER lines, Transilien trains and the Metro struggling to cope in the current temperatures. 
However the situation is set to slowly improve, with transport authority Île-de-France Mobilites planning for 700 new or renovated trains with ventilation systems to hit the network by 2021. 
But for commuters they can't come quickly enough. 

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Commuters face rail chaos in Paris after signal failure and broken tracks

Commuters in Paris faced rail chaos on Wednesday morning after a signal failure at Saint-Lazare train station was compounded by a broken rail on the RER A line that led to traffic being suspended.

Commuters face rail chaos in Paris after signal failure and broken tracks
Gare Saint-Lazare, which normally sees nearly 450,000 passengers pass through it every day, came to a grinding halt on Wednesday morning as technicians did their best to fix the signal failure. 
“This is a big glitch,” a spokesman for France's national rail company SNCF told AFP. The technical teams have been hard at work since 2.30 am “to carry out the necessary checks and repairs”.
SNCF has asked passengers of the L, J, Intercités and TER Normand lines to postpone their journeys. 
Problems for commuters were compounded when a broken rail led to RER A – the busiest commuter line in Europe – led to traffic being suspended between Auber in central Paris and the business district of La Defense.
The incident – believed t be related to heavy rain in the region in recent days, comes a day after an RER B train partially overturned on the tracks to the south of Paris after rains washed away the support for the tracks. Trains were due to begin running at 10.30am though it may take longer before full service is restored.
The suspension of the RER A line meant commuters piled on to line 1 of the Paris Metro system.
And RER C trains were also suspended between Bretigny and Dourdan after a train hit a tree that had fallen on the line.
After the signal failure at Gare Saint-Lazare temporary stations were created at La Défense, Houilles Carrieres-sur-Seine, La Garenne-Colombes and Argenteuil.
Customers planning to travel are advised to consult the SNCF mobile app and the website. SNCF announced at around 10.4 that the souce o the signal failure had been found and that rail services would begin running again progressively.
Naturally it didn't take people long to start responding to the chaos on Twitter. 
One user tweeted: “'Postpone your journeys…' SNCF thinks that people who are at Gare Saint-Lazare at 8 am are going on a picnic, hiking or to the beach…”
And others captured the packed station on camera:
And it wasn't only the signal failure causing disruption with Wednesday marking the latest day of strikes by SNCF staff against French President Emmanuel Macron's rail reforms
The tweet below shows how services were set to be affected as a result of the industrial action. 
On July 30th and August 1st 2017 holidaymakers were up in arms over the chaos at Montparnasse station in Paris — also down to a signal failure — which took two days to repair.