Paris Gare de Lyon to shut for 48 hours this weekend

Blue sky with a large building with tall clock tower
Gare de Lyon station in Paris sees 90million passengers a year

Passengers will be redirected to other stations around the capital as engineers work to modernise signalling equipment

Major signalling and modernisation works at Paris Gare de Lyon this weekend will close the SNCF station from midnight on Friday until 4.00 on Sunday.

Metro and RER services will run with some changes and will be used to help any TGV passengers stranded by the closure although most should have been told when tickets first went on sale in the middle of December.

The RER line D and Line R will, however, be severely hit, with no traffic all weekend between the city centre Châtelet-les-Halles and Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, between Juvisy and Corbeil-Essonnes via Ris-Orangis or between Corbeil-Essonnes and Melun.

Some of the Gare de Lyon’s signalling equipment dates back to 1933 and still sees staff in signalling boxes turning a handle that tightens or releases a cable to set the signal and change tracks… and this for a station that has 90million passengers a year.

That means Gare de Lyon is used by an average of 250,000 passengers a day but this drops drastically with the reduction of commuter traffic at weekend – and SNCF is planning for the 48-hour disruption to pass as smoothly as possible.

It has 400 staff arriving from all over the country who have been rehearsing their moves laying 700km of cabling, plugging and unplugging new links for 400 control boxes and testing the thousands of connections – completing five years of work on a job that has cost €200million in total.

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The new electronic systems will control all station and line activities from a new control tower at Vigneux-sur-Seine, near Paris-Orly airport.

The final result will be the ability to increase the number of trains using Gare de Lyon, improve their timetabling and to cope with any changes, improve access to information for staff and passengers and highlight any problems as they happen.

SNCF has 700 staff and volunteers at stations in Paris to help passengers on their way and trains normally timetabled to arrive at Gare de Lyon are being rerouted to other stations.

Skiers heading for Grenoble and the Alps must head for Versailles-Chantiers, via Massy-Palaiseau while passengers from Lyon and the south will use Marne-la-Vallée, those from Montpellier will use Gare Montparnasse and those from Switzerland use Gare de l’Est.

Intercités trains coming from Auvergne and Burgundy will also be redirected to Gare d’Austerlitz.

Some passengers may find it easier to replan any non-urgent trips but SNCF has information lines by phone on 3635 (it costs 40 centimes a minute) or on www.voyages-sncf.com

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