Paris Metro passengers get ‘fright of their life’ on runaway driverless train

Commuters on the Paris Metro panicked with some saying they feared for their lives when a driverless Line 1 train failed to stop at three consecutive stations on Tuesday night.

Paris Metro passengers get 'fright of their life' on runaway driverless train
Photo: AFP
Passengers took to social media after their train did not stop at Concorde, Champs-Élysées Clémenceau and Franklin D. Roosevelt stations on Tuesday evening.
At 21.50 on Tuesday, the train left Tuileries station and then sped past three stations without stopping. The train finally stopped at Georges V station. 
According to passengers, the train hurtled through three stations and then dramatically stopped dangerously close to the Metro ahead of it. RATP confirmed there had been a “technical incident”, but said there had been no risk of collision.
“We just avoided a huge accident. The train did not stopped for three stops and then stopped a whisker from hitting the train in front… The fear of my life,” wrote 'Thomas' on Twitter, who claims to have been in the train at the time.
“The Metro was then taken off the network,” said RATP.
But there was no risk of collision between two trains when it did finally stop, according to the company. “The train stopped in accordance with safety procedures,” insisted RATP.
“While it was distressing, we assure you that no one was in danger,” it added.
But urban transport union Solidaires RATP said on Wednesday that the “runaway train” had left passengers helpless as it rushed past the Concorde, Champs-Elysees and Franklin D. Roosevelt stations in the heart of Paris.
The union opposes the policy of automating metro lines, saying that “only an RATP employee on board who is capable of stopping the train and driving manually can ensure the safety of our passengers”.
Just two Paris metro lines are automated — lines 1 and 14. During last week's huge transport strike by RATP workers over pension reforms, these were the only lines which kept working normally.
Explosion heard
If that wasn't frightening enough for passengers, an explosion was also heard prompting people to run out of the Metro station.
On Twitter, a person who says he was on board the train claims that an “explosion” sounded at Palais-Royal station.
RATP confimed the explosion, but they said it had been caused by a short circuit. 

Member comments

  1. I was on Line 1 Tuesday morning eastbound and it was behaving erratically, speeding up then down, very irregular; this was between Palais Royale and Hotel de Ville. That scared a few.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


The Paris transport works that could disrupt your summer

Every year, major engineering works take place on the capital's public transport network in July and August, when Parisians flee the city for their summer holidays. Here’s the lines affected this year.

The Paris transport works that could disrupt your summer
Photo: Ludovic MARIN / AFP.


The most significant changes to Metro lines will take place on line 6. The line will be closed between Montparnasse-Bienvenüe and Trocadéro throughout July and August, and the Nationale station will remain closed until the end of August. Replacement bus services will be available but will add time to your journey.

The Mairie des Lilas stop will also be inaccessible from June 26th, so line 11 line will end at Porte des Lilas until August 29th.

There will also be disruption on line 14, with no trains running between Gare de Lyon and Olympiades from July 25th until August 22nd, as work takes place to extend the line to Paris Orly Airport.


Services on the RER A line will be suspended between Auber and the Université, Cergy and Poissy stations from June 26th until August 29th, every day from 9pm and all day on weekends.

From August 9th to 13th, and August 16th to 20th,  services will be suspended all day between Auber and La Défense, and no trains will be running to or from Poissy.

Frequent work is planned on RER B, which will affect journeys between the city centre and Charles de Gaulle and orly airports. There will be no services between Aulnay-sous-Bois and Charles de Gaulle 2 Airport on the weekend of June 26th-27th, or any day after 11pm from July 1st until August 27th. There will however be a replacement bus.

Services between Charles de Gaulle terminals 1 and 2 will also be suspended on July 3rd and 4th. Likewise for journeys between Gare du Nord and Charles de Gaulle 2 on August 14th and 15th.

Improvements take place during the summer, when public transport is less crowded. Photo: Aurore MESENGE / AFP.

The Luxembourg stop meanwhile will be closed throughout the whole of July. As will the Fontaine-Michalon station to the south of Paris from June 28th to July 23rd, and Denfert-Rochereau every weekend from July 24th until August 22nd.

The RER C will also see its share of engineering works, with no trains running between Pontoise and Avenue Henri Martin on weekdays after 9:30pm, from July 1st until July 13th.

There is greater disruption to come on weekends from July 15th to August 21st. Services will be suspended between Musée d’Orsay and Pontoise, Saint-Quentin en Yvelines and Versailles Château Rive Gauche, and Massy – Palaiseau and Pont de Rungis Aéroport d’Orly.


Most tramlines will be unaffected by works, but there will still be interruptions in certain areas. Notably, the stretch of the T3b line from Porte de Vincennes to Delphine Seyrig will be blocked between July 3rd and 9th.

Full details of the disruption can be found on the RATP website.