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TRAINS

Metro closures in Paris in weekend of transport works

If you're planning on travelling around Paris or Île-de-France this weekend, be aware of work on the Metro, trains and roads that may affect your travel plans.

Metro closures in Paris in weekend of transport works
Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt/AFP

Over the holiday weekend of May 8th transport authorities in Paris are planning a series of works that involves limited service on some lines.

Here is a breakdown of Metro, Transilien and RER line and station closures, and roadworks over the weekend, into next week and beyond.

Metro

Line 1 – No travel will be possible between Porte Maillot and La Défense on Saturday or Sunday. A replacement bus service will be available, while the RER A, from Charles-de-Gaulle Etoile, will operate as normal.

Line 4 – Modernisation and automation work on Line 4 means a change in services on Sundays for the foreseeable future. The first trains will run from 12noon, and the line will close at 10.15pm.

Line 11 – The platform for Line 11 services at Arts-et-Métiers has been closed since the beginning of May to allow work to continue to adapt the station for new rolling-stock to use the line when the extension to Rosny, Seine-Saint-Denis opens in 2023. It will remain closed until June 14th. Line 3 services in and out of the station are running as normal.

Trains/RER

Transilien Line U: Closed in both directions between La Défense and La Verrières and Saturday, May 8, and Sunday, May 9. An alternative, using lines L and N, with a bus connection at Versailles will run, but journey times will be slightly longer.

Line N: No services will be available between Plaisir-Grignon and Mantes-la-Jolie, Yvelines, until Monday. Replacement bus services, calling at all stations in between will operate.

Line L: Closed between Saint-Cloud (92) and Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche (78), until Monday. Replacement bus services, calling at all stations in between will operate.

Line J: Closed from Saint-Lazare station to Mantes, until Monday. Replacement bus services, calling at all stations in between will operate.

RER D: Trains will not stop at Villeneuve-saint-Georges and Créteil stations, in Val-de-Marne, on Sunday, from 11.15pm.

Roads

No major roadworks are planned over the holiday weekend on the road network, but night-time closures for maintenance are expected from the beginning of next week. 

The A1 motorway will be closed, in both directions, from Porte de la Chapelle to Roissy, from Monday, May 10th, at 9pm to 6am on Tuesday, May 11th. 

The northern inner ring road will be closed, at the same time, from Porte Dauphine to Porte de Bagnolet.

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TRAINS

SNCF set to lose bid for regional French railway line for first time ever

The French state-funded rail operator SNCF is set to lose a regional rail service for the first time as officials in southeast France vote to award a 10-year contract to a rival operator.

SNCF set to lose bid for regional French railway line for first time ever
Photo by Bertrand Langlois / AFP

Officials in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur appear set to award the regional rail service between Marseille and Nice to the Transdev transport group for 10 years when the tender goes to its final vote on October 29th.

If the vote goes as planned, it will be the first internal regional rail service in France that will not be operated by SNCF. 

“SNCF Voyageurs [which includes TGV, TER, Intercités and Transilien] wishes Transdev every success, in the interest of passengers and the development of rail transport in the region,” SNCF said in a press release, acknowledging the impending loss of the contract.

“This choice marks (…) the concretisation of the opening to competition for which we have been preparing for a long time, where our organising authorities have the freedom to choose other operators than us,” Christophe Fanichet, CEO of SNCF Voyageurs, said in the statement.

Three companies were in the running for the €870 million 10-year deal: SNCF, private French transport group Transdev, and Thello, a subsidiary of the Italian public railway company Trenitalia.

Transdev – which already operates successful bus, coach and rail operations – has promised that regional rail traffic on the Marseille-Nice line will double from seven daily services to 14 by 2025.

While the symbolic loss of its first regional rail service will hurt SNCF, it can console itself with reports that it looks set to retain other lines in the region, including links between Les Arcs-Draguignan and Ventimiglia (Italy), as well as Nice-Tende and Cannes-Grasse. The 10-year deal for those services – for which it was the only bidder – is worth €1.5 billion.

Elected officials in the Grand-Est, Hauts-de-France, Ile-de-France and Pays de la Loire are taking a keen interest in the tender process in PACA, having already announced that they would consider opening up bids for TER services to rival operators.

TER routes are France’s local trains, running slower services to small towns, in contrast to the high-speed TGV network which links up the cities.

READ ALSO Everything you need to know about taking the train in France

“It’s historic in the railway world, it’s the first time that a line of this importance will be granted to another operator than the SNCF,” Alpes-Maritimes senator Philippe Tabarot, and former vice-president in charge of transport in the PACA region, told AFP.

Unsurprisingly, not everyone is as excited at the prospect. “We are not surprised, because it shows the willingness of the region to create competition in the most profitable markets,” said Jean-Marie Valencia, head of communications for rail union CGT-Cheminots PACA. “We are concerned, because it will not be without cost to the railway workers.”

Didier Mathis, secretary general of union UNSA-Ferroviaire, added: “We are saddened by this decision, because it will lead to the transfer of 166 agents [from SNCF to Transdev]. 

“This decision is not at all a surprise, because the Southern Region would have been embarrassed if it had chosen SNCF twice in the two tenders, even though it said it was dissatisfied with SNCF. The region would have lost all credibility.” 

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