FRENCH National Railways confirmed at the end of August that the first phase of its cross-Paris RER Line E is to open on June 26 next year. The Est-Ouest Liaison Express (éole) will eventually connect the Est and St Lazare suburban networks, but the first phase provides for selected services using Gare de l’Est to be diverted to an underground terminus at Condorcet, which will have a foot tunnel to St Lazare.

The line will initially be served by trains from Chelles and Villiers-sur-Marne: eight per hour on each route at peak times and four per hour off-peak. Passengers from other routes will have to change at Meaux or Tournan, because the planned subway between Est and the intermediate éole station at Magenta is to be built as part of Est’s rebuilding to accommodate TGV Est services. Magenta will be linked to the suburban platforms at the Gare du Nord.

éole was scheduled to open in 1997, but was delayed by tunnelling problems towards the end of 1995. No date has yet been set for the start of work on phase 2 between Condorcet and Pont Cardinet.

  • Last month’s introduction of a multi-modal annual travel pass for 450000 students aged between 10 and 26 within the Ile de France region has been hailed as an unprecedented success by the Syndicat des Transports Parisiens. ImagineR is also expected to help cut ticketless travel. o