Future line 14 of the metro and Grand Paris Express: we tested the oars … in Sydney!


New trains designed by Alstom will be installed by the beginning of next year on line 14 before being deployed on the future lines of the Grand Paris Express. An identical model has circulated on the other side of the world, in Sydney, for a few months.

The economic capital of Australia, where the car remains queen, opened a few months ago its very first line of metro, to open up the north-west of the city, where until then there were only buses.

LEDs above the doors

With the exception of two stations, which correspond to pre-existing train lines, this line is entirely new. In these conditions, it is simpler to propose spacious stations, fully accessible to disabled people and fully equipped with landing doors, compared to Paris, where stations designed a century ago have been renovated.

It's 5 pm on Friday in Chatswood, a major business district in the north of Sydney, when the subway arrives every four minutes at rush hour. On the doorstep of the train, we recognize a familiar name: Alstom.

Sydney (Australia) The new Alstom subway trains in Sydney have only two rows of seats. LP / Gregory Plesse
Sydney (Australia) The new Alstom subway trains in Sydney have only two rows of seats. LP / Gregory Plesse

It is in fact the latest model of the Metropolis range, the same type of driverless train that will be deployed soon on line 14 in Paris, and in a few years on lines 4 and 11 and lines 15, 16 and 17 of the Grand Paris Express.

Inside, we find dynamic planes of the line, on which we can follow live the progress of the train between two stations. The oars are also equipped with bars and handles hanging from the ceiling everywhere. LED tiles sit over the doors, which turn from red to green, depending on whether they close or open. And as on lines 1 and 14 of the Paris metro, you can walk from one end to the other of the train without problem.

Two rows of seats

On the other hand here, there are only two rows of seats, all along the windows, as in the London Underground. In fact, this Sydney-style subway is more like a Parisian RER train or what will be a Grand Paris Express line tomorrow. Metro NorthWest has only 13 stations but covers 37 kilometers! It can sometimes take up to six minutes between two stations, distance traveled at a speed that can go up to 120 km / h.

David, who is returning from work in the city center, is delighted. "I put twenty minutes less than when I took the bus. And it's more comfortable, and there are fewer stops. That's also Justin's opinion. "Before I had a correspondence that was very long. Now I just have to cross the platform to get on the next train, and it's more reliable than the bus, which is sometimes stuck in traffic jams. And my kids love it! They tanned us to take the metro on weekends! "

Best of all, this line (which must be extended by 2024) has been open on time and will have cost a billion Australian dollars (about 620 million euros) less than expected. What to leave thinking about the Grand Paris.

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