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Photos: Jérémie Anne

FRANCE: Paris transport authority Île-de-France Mobilités and operator RATP opened the southern extension of metro Line 4 to Bagneux-Lucie Aubrac on January 13.

Attending the inauguration ceremony were Prime Minister Jean Castex and Minister of Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, along with RATP President Catherine Guillouard, IDF Mobilités Vice-President Grégoire de Lasteyrie and the Président of Hauts-de-Seine Georges Siffredi.

Previously running for 14 km from Porte de Clignancourt in the north to Mairie de Montrouge in the south, Line 4 is the second busiest metro line in the capital, carrying an average of 700 000 passengers per day. The 2·7 km extension adds two more stations at Barbara and Bagneux-Lucie Aubrac, along with extra stabling facilities at the southern end of the route.

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The total cost of the extension is put at €406m, with funding coming from the national government, the Île-de-France région and Hauts-de-Seine département. The extension is expected to carry 37 000 passengers per day; with trains running at up to 70 km/h, Line 4 offers a journey time of 30 min from Bagneux-Lucie-Aubrac to the Chatelet hub in the city centre. Interchange will be provided at Bagneux with the orbital Line 15 being built as part of the Grand Paris Express network.

Only 1·8 km of the extension is used by passenger services. Beyond the three-platform terminus, a new stabling facility and 1 500 m² maintenance depot provide accommodation for up to 15 trainsets. The workshop will act as a satellite to the line’s main rolling stock depot in Saint-Ouen, but will also provide facilities for commissioning the automated trainsets during the conversion of Line 4 to driverless operation.

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Since 2013, Line 4 has been worked by a fleet of 52 six-car MP89CC rubber-tyred trainsets, of which 49 are currently in use. Fitted with driving cabs, these trains run in attended ATO mode to Grade of Automation 2, using the PA135 train control system which permits 2 min headways. The trains are currently operating manually on the southern extension, as the new section has not been fitted with PA135 pending conversion of the whole line to GoA4.

Extension first, then GoA4

RATP explained to Metro Report International that there had been a choice between opening the extension first or waiting until the driverless conversion had been completed. Because of delays in rolling out the automation project, it was decided to open the extension using the existing trains and finish the conversion later.

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Line 4 is being equipped with CBTC from Siemens Mobility, and a new operational control centre was commissioned in April 2020. All stations have been fitted with platform edge screens, and test running in GoA4 has started at night and on Sundays. The first driverless trains are expected to be phased into passenger service from summer 2022, with conversion to fully automated operation completed by the end of 2023.

Three different types of six-car train will be deployed on Line 4 once it has been automated: 21 Alsthom MP89CA trainsets and 11 similar MP05 sets displaced from Line 14 plus 20 new MP14CA sets being supplied by Alstom; the latter will be similar to the 35 eight-car sets that the manufacturer is building for Line 14. Integration of the three rolling stock types is expected to pose a challenge for the final commissioning of the automation.