SNCF sells off ‘Petits Gris’

Mementoes of historic stainless steel Paris trains go up for auction after exhibition at Gare Saint-Lazare

14 December 2012

SNCF is selling off benches, baggage racks and even stainless steel doors from its famous “Petits Gris” trains in Paris as they get set to roll for the last time after 50 years.

The auction comes as the grey stainless steel electric-powered Z6100, with its distinctive corrugated sides, is being taken out of service after running continuously on the Paris train network since 1960. It will make its last run on the Ligne H in Paris Nord at the end of this month.

Mementoes go on display today in an exhibition on the forecourt of Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris and will then be sold at auction at the station on Tuesday, December 18 with all proceeds going to the Restos du Coeur food charity .

The sale includes 150 items plus 10 that have been “redesigned” as feature pieces: train banquettes benches reupholstered to look like theatre seats or modern art. The “ordinary” items include handrails, front and rear lights, doors – either single or a pair - an alarm bell, braking wheel, speedo, an SNCF plaque and a driver’s seat.

First used on the Paris-Crépy-en-Valois and Paris-Creil route in 1961, the Petits Gris were the mainstay of the Ile-de-France rail network for decades, despite the lack of comfort and modern fittings.

The last three trains will be taken out of service on December 31. They date from 1970-71 and it is estimated each has covered 3.7million kilometres in that time.

SNCF will send many of the trains to be scrapped but is also in discussions with rail companies across Europe for them to stay in use. Rail fans have also expressed interest.

Alongside the last trains, the end of the year also marks the closure of the Chapelle rail depot in the 18th arrondissement.

Get more details: SNCF announcement and catalogue
Photo: Fenino Photorail SNCF

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