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Le Figaro boarded the future Grand Paris Express metro

It is 10:20 a.

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Le Figaro boarded the future Grand Paris Express metro

It is 10:20 a.m. this Tuesday, November 28 when the very first Grand Paris Express train sets off. On board, in this future train of line 15 south, the Minister of Transport Clément Beaune and the president of the region and Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM) Valérie Pécresse proudly inaugurate what will become one of the lines central stations of the Grand Paris supermetro. At the end of 2025, line 15 south - 33 km long - will serve 22 municipalities between Pont de Sèvres, in Hauts-de-Seine (92) and Noisy-Champs, in Seine-Saint-Denis (93) and will concern more than a million inhabitants. “The Société du Grand Paris (SGP) has done an absolutely magnificent job,” said Valérie Pécresse, referring to “a new decisive step in the transport revolution”. The very one that should make it possible to create “the 20-minute region”, where every Ile-de-France resident will have to find everything they need and privileged access to public services “less than 20 minutes from home”.

Praising an “exemplary and visionary” Grand Paris Express, Clément Beaune in turn praised the merits of “a major territorial equality project”. “A day like today is essential to show,” added Clément Beaune, saying he was “proud” and “moved” to discover this new material. And that’s an understatement as this “state-of-the-art” equipment is awaited by Ile-de-France residents who are, too often today, forced to pass through Paris to move from suburb to suburb. The rolling stock of line 15, which will also equip lines 16 and 17, has benefited from a design which favors “the use and comfort of passengers”, as specified in the joint press release from Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM) and the Société du Grand Paris.

In total, 27 trains were ordered from Alstom for line 15 south alone. “Automatic, spacious, fully accessible and capable, they will offer all the necessary travel comfort, and above all, a regularity that meets the expectations of Ile-de-France residents,” engages the president of the Île-de-France region, as she wanders around in this 6-car version train, 108 meters long, capable of transporting more than 1000 people at a time. Inside, the number of seats will correspond to “20% of total capacity”, or around 200 red and blue seats for a 6-car train. The trains are wide, accessible to people with disabilities, including those in wheelchairs who will have spaces dedicated to their equipment. Two details stand out: video surveillance cameras are visible and numerous, and USB sockets are available for charging phones and other tablets.

Invisible to the eye but very important subject for future users of the Grand Paris Express, each car will be equipped with “efficient ventilation, air conditioning and heating systems”. Finally, the average commercial speed of this supermetro will be increased compared to that of existing lines, comprised “between 55 and 65 km/h depending on the lines with peak speeds of up to 110 km/h”. For comparison, the commercial speed of the RER A is 49 km/h and that of the Paris metro oscillates between 21 and 27 km/h. In addition, the waiting time between two trains will be between 2 and 3 minutes, depending on the time of day and week. For the project leaders, the reduction in travel time is above all “the first indicator of high quality of service”.

So many great promises that must now be kept. Because if the first run “represents a major meeting for the Grand Paris Express”, “many challenges still await the SGP” before the line is put into service. “The marathon is not over,” confirms Valérie Pécresse, who recalls that the inauguration of the line will not take place for two years. In the meantime, winter 2023 will see the deployment and integration of automated driving and operating systems continue across the entire line 15 south with a view to the first tests of the line, before a gradual deployment of dynamic tests on the line's different test zones between summer 2024 and autumn 2025. At the end of 2025, the dry run will finally allow the transport operator to test the operation of the line in real conditions, before its commissioning at the end of the year.

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