Page 9 - The future of the metro booklet
P. 9

Clarification                                        Clarification

 A brief history                     1906                           Port Town line. Two years later, the city of Lille

                                                                    went  even  further  with  its  Light  Automatic
                                                                    Vehicles project that circulated without a conduc-
                                                                    tor on lines 1 and 2. Germany quickly followed
 of the metro  TEXT     In  the  United  States,  the  Hall  semaphore  si-  suite in 1984 with two lines in Nuremberg, fol-
                                                                    lowed  by  Canada  and  Vancouver.  While  it  re-
                                                                    mained sporadic in the 1990’s, the phenomenon
                        gnalling  system  was  in  general  use  from  the
                        end  of  the  19th  century.  It  was  adopted  in
                                                                    spread across the planet in the 2000’s in cities like
 Eric Senabre
                        France, but was quickly replaced by an auto-
                                                                    to the automatization of existing lines (Paris’ line
                        mated electric system in 1906. This remained   Budapest, Barcelona, São Paulo, Dubai… and led
                        in  use  until  the  1960s,  when  electronic  and   1 in 2013).
 The metro is such so commonplace in everyday town life that we take   emerging  computer  technology  took  over.
 it for granted. However, it already has a long history, sparkling with   Now the metro relies on a signalling system as
 innovations that were revolutionary in their time.  complex and efficient as the signalling used for   2003
                        mainline railways.

                                                                              Farewell to the ticket?
 1863   1900, electricity was preferred to some sur-  1952      -      1956   In  London,  the  Oyster  Card  was  launched  in
 prising  alternatives  (e.g.  water  cushion,  in-
                                                                    2003. Based on RFID technology, it has simpli-
 clined  plane,  compressed  air).  Three  inde-                    fied  ticket  transactions  for  the  operator  and
 pendent firms agreed to supply the electricity,   Articulations and tyres  passenger  alike.  In  Paris,  the  Carte  Navigo
 Instant success  until  the  dedicated  power  station  was  com-  In  order  to  satisfy  high  demand  during  peak   existed  already  in  experimental form  but  did
 Although its history started in the second half   pleted on Quai de La Râpée. Independent of   periods, Paris started to use articulated rolling   not enter general service until 2005 and 2006.
 of the nineteenth century, the metro was de-  the  comfort  that  it  brings  to  its  passengers,   stock (MA 1951) in 1952. Technically more ad-  Today, certain smartphones can already serve
 signed to solve problems that are still relevant   electricity makes the idea of an underground   vanced than the old Sprague-Thomsons, these   as super-tickets while more universal software
 today.  When the London underground  was   network  sustainable,  while  other  cities  have   trains  could  couple  together  two  or  three   and hardware solutions are being studied.
 opened on January 10 1863, its primary pur-  bet on the surface.  three-car units as needed, thereby adapting to
 pose was to relieve traffic congestion on the   cater for passenger influxes. However, success
 surface. There were no motor vehicles at that   was limited. RATP decided to focus its efforts   2010      -      2020
 time  of  course.  In  a  town with  more  inhabi-  1903   on  tyre-borne  trains  (MP).  Trains  running  on
 tants than the population of central Paris to-  tyres  can  brake  and  accelerate  more  vigo-
 day, horse-drawn  vehicles caused the same   rously. As a result, the headway between two   Passenger experience
 traffic  jams.  The  pollution  caused  by  horse   Safety  trains can be reduced. This was another way of   and sustainable development
 manure  was perceived as a real menace.   In 1903, a train caught fire at Ménilmontant in   satisfying increased demand while eliminating   At the end of the nineties, the metro started to
 Success  was immediate. 30,000 passengers   Paris.  The  smoke  asphyxiated  84  passengers   the rail squeal that offended sensitive passen-  focus  on  enhancing  passenger  comfort  and
 travelled  from  Paddington  to  Farringdon  on   on the platform at Couronnes station. The two   gers.  the  environment.  Wi-Fi  was  gradually  intro-
 the first day.  villains  of  this  catastrophe  were  the  timber   duced  (starting  in  2009  in  Seoul),  while  4G

 used  to  build  the  carriages,  and  the  lack  of   1980      -      2000   spread to the metro (in Singapore, 4G and Wi-
 1890  emergencies  in  stations.  Wood  was  replaced              Fi cover the entire network). In Asia, contact-
                                                                    less payment is becoming widespread through
 by  metal.  This  gave  birth  to  the  legendary
 Sprague-Thomson in 1908, which remained in                         mobile  applications.  In  2017,  Line  S1  of  the
 service  until  1983.  Of  course,  stations  were                 Beijing  metro  received  magnetic  levitation
 Electrification  upgraded to protect the safety of all.  Automatic train control  trains. Meanwhile, other towns were greening
 Until  1890,  the  London  underground  ran  on   In 1981, Osaka introduced the concept of the au-  their transport. In Lausanne and  Toronto
 steam. Despite the speed with which this so-  tomatic metro system to the world with its Nankô   (Victoria Park station), station exteriors were
 lution was adopted (40 million travellers per                      adorned with canopies of vegetation. And in-
 year by 1880), we can imagine the discomfort                       side? In Paris, Gare de Lyon station on Line 14
 of this form of locomotion in a confined space.   Compressed air  Ghost stations  had already shown the way. Although in 2016
 Instead of using cable drive, as chosen by the   After the opening of the London Underground, it was quickly acknowledged   Paris’ metro has 16 ghost stations. While some of them were in reality merged   the Chinese experiment in Hangzhou to vege-
 New  York metro, London chose electricity.   that coal and steam could not be considered long-term solutions. However,   with the neighbouring station (like Martin Nadaud with Gambetta) and remain   tate a train interior did not last
 This  was  a  more  modern  solution  that  had   before relying on electricity, a number of projects were carried out. Among   de facto accessible under a different name, others are purely and simply   long, it did at least blaze a trail
 the alternatives: compressed air. If compressed air motors have indeed been put
            abandoned (like the ghostly Saint-Martin station on line 9, whose platform
 featured in the Universal Exhibition of 1881.   into service (notably on tramways in Nantes until the end of the first world war),   can still be seen when you go from Strasbourg-Saint-Denis to Republique)   that  the  metro  will  probably
 The metro preceded conventional railway by   there were also systems (in London then New York, from 1864) where a train   or, even more strange, some never opened despite the construction of the   seek to follow over the coming
 three years. When Paris built its own metro in   was ‘aired’ in a tubular tunnel.  platforme – like Haxo in the 19th.  decades.

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