Paris RER Line A control centre (Photo Jeremie Anne) (5)

FRANCE: Paris transport operator RATP and national railway SNCF have transferred the management of RER Line A to a new control centre. This is the latest stage of work to improve the performance of the 109 km long, jointly operated route, which carries around 1·3 million passengers on 635 trains each day.

A programme to improve performance was launched in 2015 and has so far raised punctuality by 11 points to reach 93% in 2023.

The timetable was recast in 2018, and automatic train operation using SACEM signalling was then implemented on the central section of the line from Nanterre to Val-de-Fontenay and Fontenay-sous-Bois.

Control centre

Paris RER Line A control centre (Photo Jeremie Anne) (6)

RATP and SNCF operational teams were brought together in one control centre in Vincennes in 2019, but it then became clear that a larger facility would be needed. The Centre de Commandement Unique Nouvelle Génération has now been built near to the old one at a cost of €60m, funded by regional transport authority Ile-de-France Mobilités.

The changeover to the new facility took place in stages from January 29 without interruption to services, and completion of the transfer was marked with a ceremony on April 25.

The centre is designed to make joint operation as easy as possible, bringing staff together in the same room to facilitate the transmission of information, in particular during disruption.

A video wall shows the position of each train in real time, and its status relative to the schedule. Rolling stock maintenance staff are present to monitor the trains and assist the driver in the event of a problem.

Next steps

Paris RER Line A control centre (Photo Jeremie Anne) (4)

The next stage in the upgrading of Line A is the refurbishment of the 43 Class MI2N double-deck EMUs, which operate alongside 140 MI09 sets.

CAF was a awarded a €121m refurbishment contract in 2019 and it was hoped that the first modernised set would return to service from 2020. However, the project has run into difficulties; RATP and IdFM now expect the first set to return to traffic in May or June this year.

The second live work package covers the extension of ATO from Val-de-Fontenay to Noisy-Champs to improve reliability and reduce headways. RATP told Railway Gazette International it is confident that this will be in use by the end of this year.