Old Paris Stations

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by STEVIEBOY1, 19 Apr 2017.

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  1. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    I was watching a TV Programme, set I think in the late 1940s, in France/Belgium. The Gare D'Orsay was mentioned and recreated. I was just wondering where trains to that station and also the Gare D'Invalides went to and from? Would I be correct in thinking that these two stations/routes are now sort of linked up as part of the RER system?

    Thank you.
     
  2. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Correct, now RER C. Wikipedia, at least in French, should give you an idea of the history as I don't know the detail. The other two Paris termini to close were the Ligne de Sceaux (I think called Gare du Luxembourg, at Denfert-Rochereau near the gardens) and Bastille (the line was steam to the end and survives as a pleasant elevated linear garden). They were replaced by RER B and A respectively.
     
  3. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    Yes, they were linked up as part of RER C and their original destinations would have been pretty much where the outer limits of RER C currently are on their respective directions - no doubt there would have been a few trains that ran a lot further in those days as well.

    I would suggest the Paris RER Handbook by Brian Patton, ISBN 1-85414-230-5, would give a good summary of the situation.
     
  4. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    Gare Quai d'Orsay figured in the episode of Maigret shown over the weekend.
    However, I think the programme was shot in either Budapest or Prague as better representing 1950s Paris!
    The trains were also supposed to have come from Picardie which seems unlikely, as they would have used Gare du Nord.

    Quai d'Orsay was for about 40 years the main terminal for central/south western France, so to Clermont-Ferrand, Orléons, Toulouse, Bordeaux etc.
    The main line was cut back to Gare d'Austerlitz during WW2, and later put underground for RER line C, with the old surface terminal becoming Museum d'Orsay.
    Austerlitz also lost most of its main line traffic to Montparnasse when the TGVs to Bordeaux started, and is left just with Orléons/Toulouse and some regional services.
    My one attempt to use a train from there, to reach Brive, was thwarted by SNCF being on strike (again), forcing me to hire a car instead!
    Europcar did a roaring trade that day.

    Paris Gare de Bercy, across the river from Gare de Lyon, is another odd station, which nearly closed.
    It became the terminal for motorail traffic, and more recently for sleepers and some long-distance classic traffic.
    It also hosts the Clermont service which once went to Austerlitz.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gare_d'Orsay
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gare_d'Austerlitz
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gare_de_Bercy
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2017
  5. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    Thanks for all the info :) Infact I went from Austerlitz a couple of years ago to Souilac, I think the train was made up of older style open and compartment coaches, we were in open style, it went very fast and the route was quite scenic. The train was going to Toulouse and a bit further south I think.

    A friend went on a sleeper from Bercy a few years ago, he said it was a very odd station, nothing there really.
     
  6. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    Actually my geography is wrong.
    Bercy is on the right bank like Gare de Lyon, but further out.
    It's close to the Peripherique so "easy" to reach by car for the motorail services.
    But it's in an old run-down area - just right for filming Maigret, in fact!
    The southern approaches to Paris along both banks of the Seine, and the links between them, mean you can pretty much route a long-distance train into any of these terminals.
     
  7. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Bercy is pretty busy these days with regional traffic and there's a constant stream of passengers walking to and from Lyon (the Station!).
     
  8. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    We went with university on a study trip to Paris in 1976 (best field trip ever), and going to a meeting nearby, stumbled on the abandoned Orsay building. There was a side door open and some works going on inside. I wish I still had the photographs we took in there. The workers seemed completely oblivious to us British students gatecrashing in.

    Nowadays it's one of my favourite museums. I think it beats the Louvre. They have a fine display of the art nouveau that Hector Guimard designed for the Paris Metro station entrances, the classic typeface, and other aspects. If you are into old station architecture, do go.

    I had taken RER Line C out to Versailles a couple of times, then went to Paris on a business trip. Knowing a hotel by Orsay, I stayed there, and took the RER on the Monday morning west along the same line to Velizy, where the offices were. Had to run for a Versailles train at Orsay, which set off and promptly went Non-Stop through the subsequent stations. I'd never known an RER do a nonstop, presumably a peak hour extra. Full speed through station after station, then the long tunnel under the forest. Velizy approaches. You know that feeling when you are just willing it ... and then the brakes suddenly come on. Oh praise. Velizy was the first stop.
     
    Last edited: 20 Apr 2017
  9. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Orsay was the terminus of trains from the east, but there was also a west-facing station (Champ de Mars?) near the Eiffel Tower for trains from the west. Does anything remain of that? The two were linked by a new section of route to create Line C.

    I find line C very confusing, not least because trains for Versailles depart in both directions. It also seems extremely slow at station stops, possibly because of the boarding times for the double deck stock.
     
  10. stut

    stut Established Member

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    Bercy is basically Gare de Lyon/Austerlitz overflow.

    The Gare d'Orsay was an exercise in railway self-promotion. The Orléans railway wasn't happy with the uptake from Austerlitz, so extended into this palatial structure right slap bang in the middle. And it worked, until the demand outstripped the possible capacity - by which time, central Paris and its transport structure had extended anyway.
     
  11. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    Operationally it seems reminiscent of Holborn Viaduct. But the architecture is in a bit of a different league.
     
  12. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Champ de Mars was AFAIK always a through station, the terminus being Invalides which is very close to Orsay.
     
  13. stut

    stut Established Member

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    IIRC, the original Champ de Mars terminus was the head of a demonstration railway leading to the Petite Ceinture, built for the World's Fair. It lay dormant until some obscure metal tower was built on the same site for a later World's Fair. Soon after that, it became clear that an extension was needed, and Invalides was built.
     
  14. Myb

    Myb Member

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    The old Champ de Mars station has been moved to a spot near the Bois-Colombes station. It has barely avoided demolition and is in a very sorry state now. Quite unfortunate as it's a truly remarkable building.

    The French Wikipedia page has pictures.

    Paths are still timed for Z 5300 trains, withdrawn a decade ago. Few years back the C line was one of the least punctual lines and SNCF decided not to recast the timetable, taking advantage of the higher performance of new units but instead increased slack in the timetable.

    The line now runs pretty well and a part of the central section has seen a line speed increase. But this line has so many interfaces with different networks that a recast would be complicated.

    The E in RER is supposed to stand for Express, but the Metro is almost always faster than line C :)
     
    Last edited: 22 Apr 2017
  15. exile

    exile Established Member

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    Actually the characters lived in, and the murder took place in, Arpajon, which is south of Paris. This is currently on RER line C, so arriving at the Gare d'Orsay is correct.
     
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