Paris metro line 4 fully embraces automation

New fully automatic metro for Line M4 in Paris Île-de-France Mobilités

Paris Metro Line 4 is now fully automated, marking a milestone in the modernisation of the city’s transportation network. Line 4 is the third Parisian line to be fully automatic, with lines 1 and 14. The project, completed on 17 December 2023, represents a forward-looking investment of approximately 480 million euros, entirely funded by Île-de-France Mobilités.

Line 4, the second busiest in the Île-de-France Mobilités network, has successfully embraced a new era of transportation. This century-old line stands out as the second Parisian metro route to undergo continuous automation without significant disruptions to daily operations. Impressively, the completion of this modernization project occurred six months ahead of the anticipated deadline, aligning with the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics.

Inside the new metro (Île-de-France Mobilités, LinkedIn)

Full automation

Distinguishing itself from partially automated counterparts like 3bis, 7bis, and 10, Line 4 now proudly joins the fully automated club, operating as a self-sufficient system without the need for on-board staff for safety, door operations, or emergencies. The metro carriages of Line 4 traverse the tracks without a conductor on board, controlled remotely from a central command centre.

This automation brings numerous benefits to commuters, including increased regularity facilitated by real-time service adjustments to enhance capacity and ensure smoother traffic flow during peak hours. Safety is enhanced through the installation of platform screen doors across all Line 4 stations, preventing accidents on the tracks. Passengers also benefit from improved information with real-time dynamic screens and updated maps, contributing to effective communication. Additionally, wait times are reduced with the implementation of automated driving, minimising the gap between trains.

Line 4 now operates three generations of automated rolling stock (MP89 and MP05 from Line 14 and the new MP14), managed by the fully renewed central command and control post (PCC). The Train Operations Automation System (SAET), developed by Siemens Mobility, and new audiovisual means enable the PCC to communicate with passengers in trains and stations at any time.

The new metro’s screens (Île-de-France Mobilités, LinkedIn)

Gradual modernisation

The commercial rollout of this automation was a gradual process, starting with the “marche à blanc” phase in mid-June 2022, testing the system’s functionality before the commencement of commercial operation. Passengers could board the first four automated shuttles by September 2022, and now, the entire fleet of manned trains has been replaced by automated shuttles across Line 4.

Since 2022, Line 4 has undergone a comprehensive modernization effort, introducing progressively automated shuttles and extending the line from Mairie de Montrouge to Bagneux. The modernization, spanning six years, included the opening of two new stations, Barbara and Bagneux-Lucie Aubrac, in January 2022. Over five kilometres of platform facades (platform screen doors) have been installed across the 29 extended line stations, ensuring enhanced safety and optimised service.

This achievement aligns with the broader trend of automation within the Île-de-France Mobilités network, with Line 1 leading the way, followed by Line 4 and the already automated Line 14. Future lines, including 15, 16, 17, and 18, are also slated for automation upon commissioning. Île-de-France Mobilités has announced extensive studies to identify promising lines for potential automation, designating Line 13 as the next automated line, with Lines 7 and 8 also targeted for automation with the arrival of the MF19.

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Author: Emma Dailey

Emma Dailey is an editor at RailTech.com and RailTech.be.

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