La Gare Est Compliquee

La gare possède de nombreux accès qui donnent directement sur la gare routière, le centre commercial, et les parkings de ce centre.

Les quais sont entièrement souterrains. 
À l’exception de leur extension, ils sont aménagés avec une décoration dans le style Andreu-Motte du métro parisien de couleur rouge, avec banquette recouverte de carrelage plat de cette couleur, ainsi que de sièges Motte blancs (rompant l’uniformité colorimétrique du style), et des bandeaux d’éclairage rouges. En revanche, l’extension des quais réalisée en 2013 à l’occasion de l’aménagement de la nouvelle gare routière, sont dépourvus de banquette et bandeau rouge : l’éclairage est assuré par des lampadaires et les sièges Motte, toujours blancs, sont simplement posés sur une structure métallique noire.

So, in amongst the exciting details of the station’s fixtures and fittings, we can possibly glean the following. The very new looking bit of Noisy-le-Grand station …

… was developed in 2013 to provide access to the new bus station (gare routiere). It involved extending the platforms, presumably under said bus station as here viewed from the eastern footbridge.

It is, of course, how public transport should always be, with modes fully integrated.

But there is no integration from this newer part of the station with the now abandoned Mini Metro, the Peculiar Parisian Pod.

For this we have to go to one of the gloomy brutalist 1960s exits from the lower floors of the “Arcades” shopping centre.

This is the as-built way to and from the RER platforms. To the left, as we gaze upon this welcoming entrance …

… in the gloom of a now-removed canopy, we see the anonymous roller shutter that gave access to the closed Mini Metro. Later pictures show this access replaced by a mural and a locked door.

Clearly the authorities have long since given up any notion of rejuvenating the funny little trains, although it would have made an intriguing visitor attraction. 

But there have been official tours and, sadly, unofficial “visits” by graffiti “artists” and destructive vandals.

Any visit nowadays is bound to be both fascinating but depressing.

Escalators have been stripped, lifts are no longer operational and stairways are in poor condition.

Likewise, anything potentially saleable has been ripped from the co

ntrol room.

But it is the vandalised pods that look so sad.

One lies half on its side having been tipped over “for fun” …

… but the manufacturers logo is still visible here and there.

The RATP (Paris City Transport) logo can still be seen on some cars …

… because for nearly a decade after M Pelletin’s fall from commercial grace, RATP was required to keep everything in working order. 

But when plans for the Horizon site were officially changed, the remnants at the RER station were simply abandoned whilst the Horizon terminus was filled in.

Tin Traveller (You Tuber par excellence) …

… was one who took advantage of official visits and he ended his vlog with this screen.

After struggling with a translation from French into english of the word “underground”, fbb concludes that plans are in hand for a chic hybrid underground space – whatever that may be. There is an artist’s impression on-line …

… which rather suggests that it is not the sort of place that would over excite fbb’s elderly heart – thankfully. It certainly offers no memory of what the Mini Metro was supposed to be.


A revitalised Mini Metro would have been fun, but probably little used and certainly far too expensive to operate.

Quel dommage!

Another French failure is found around Paris.

Two SK 6000 lines were built at Charles de Gaulle Airport. The first was supposed to open on 1 May 1996 …

… but the length of the line (3,500 m) created many technical problems making it impossible to open for public service. Line 2 should have opened in 1997, but it was never opened either. The project had a cost of 148 million euros before being abandoned. 

It was replaced by CDGVAL.

Other similar pod systems do exist elsewhere.

If ever you are in Shanghai, the under-the-river tourist line shows what Noisy-le-Grand could have become!

The Shanghai set-up is very familiar and it is good to see that it works and is used!

These are SK6000 cars, one step up from those at Noisy-le-Grand.

Terminus Turning Technology

This is a bit of an fbb guess, but note how he Noisy-le+Grand Mini Metro track slopes up as it approaches the terminus.

The long cable tuns at a constant speed, too fast for those awkward customers called “people” to leap on and off safely. So, as the pod approached the end, a ramp beside the car …

… disconnects it from the cable. It then rolls, using its own inertia, on to the “carousel” (it may be grabbed by another lever???). After alighting and boarding at a funereal but safe speed the pod is re-linked to the cable.

One very fuzzy and very dark bit of video (a screenshot here, which fbb has brightened!) shows the large pulleys on which the main cable is turned. 
Look no Pods! They are disconnected.

 Next Superloop blog : Friday 8th March 
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