Billions of euros of work for the regeneration and modernization of a network that has been left to age for too long, the Ile-de-France residents know what that means. It is the promise of better train circulation, with fewer technical incidents, but it is also that of long weekends or summer with highly disrupted transport.
This year, SNCF Réseau, the subsidiary in charge of the tracks, will go into overdrive in May. For three reasons. First, the budget: even if it does not yet meet all rail needs, it has been concentrated on the renovation of daily trains in Ile-de-France (2% of the territory, 70% of passenger traffic ). Then, the calendar: with two additional bank holiday Mondays (1er and May 8), and therefore fewer home-work trips, it offers the possibility of longer traffic interruptions. Finally, we must try to do as much work as possible before the truce imposed, in the summer of 2024, by the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.
Séverine Lepère, Ile-de-France general manager of SNCF Réseau, announced the color Wednesday April 12. A word of advice: take a good look at the passenger information… Several spectacular projects will begin in May, mobilizing more than 3,000 people. They will cause traffic disruptions, some of which will happen again this summer.
It is at the Gare de l’Est that one of the most exceptional projects will take place, on May 13 and 14: “We cut the avant-station for fifty-two hours”, explains Séverine Lepère. Extremely rare. TGVs will be diverted to Gare du Nord and TERs to Gare d’Austerlitz. Traffic will be interrupted as far as Chelles (Seine-et-Marne) for RER B and E (from Haussmann-Saint-Lazare); replacement buses will be put in place. This involves connecting the extension to the west of the RER E – the famous EOLE project – to the single traffic command center in Pantin (Seine-Saint-Denis), ensuring that the 700 traffic lights and 640 turnouts respond well to commands.
A specially designed factory train
Still in the northeast of Paris, the Ascension weekend, from May 18 to 21, will be used to advance the regeneration works of the catenary, the power supply cable of the RER B and the TER, between La Plaine-Stade-de-France and Aulnay-sous-Bois. It dates from the 1970s. Until now, the same electricity network supplied TER and RER. In the event of a problem requiring the power to be cut – a crow’s nest, for example, frequent in this season – all traffic was stopped. Two circuits will emerge. Thus a stop of the RER catenary will no longer lead to that of the TER catenary and, in the event of a problem, the other line can be used as an emergency route, which will make traffic more fluid on one of the two lines − the busiest in the French network (more than 1 million passengers per day).
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