RER - Stations


Ten new stations have been built under the heart of Paris since the 1960s as part of the RER project. The six stations of Line A opened between 1969 and 1977 are:

  • Nation (1969): deep construction at the Place de la Nation
  • Charles de Gaulle - Étoile (1970): deep construction at the Arc de Triomphe
  • La Défense (1970): near-surface construction beneath the site of the yet-to-be-built Grande Arche de la Défense, just outside the Paris city boundary
  • Auber (1971): deep construction near Gare Saint-Lazare; once the largest underground station in the world
  • Châtelet - Les Halles (1977): near-surface construction on the site of the former marketplace, today perhaps the largest underground station in the world
  • Gare de Lyon (1977): near-surface construction beneath and alongside the main-line SNCF station

Some controversy followed the construction of the Line A. Using the model of the existing Métro, and unlike any other underground network in the world, engineers elected to build the three new deep stations (Étoile, Auber and Nation) as single monolithic halls with lateral platforms and no supporting pillars. A hybrid solution of adjacent halls was rejected on the grounds that it "completely sacrificed the architectural aspect" of the oeuvre. The scale in question was vast: the new stations cathédrales were up to three times longer, wider and taller than Métro stations, and hence 20 or 30 times more voluminous. Most importantly, unlike the Métro they were to be constructed entirely underground. The decision turned out to be expensive: around 8 billion francs for the three stations, equivalent to € 1.2 billion in 2005 terms, with the two-level Auber the costliest of the three. The comparison was obvious and unfavourable with London's Victoria Line, a deep line of 22 km constructed during the same period using a two-tunnel approach at vastly lower cost. However, the three stations represent undeniable engineering feats and are noticeably less claustrophobic than traditional underground stations.

Only two stations were inaugurated to complete Lines B, C and D:

  • Gare du Nord (1982): near-surface construction on two levels
  • St-Michel - Notre-Dame (1988): deep construction on an existing stretch of the Line B between Luxembourg and Châtelet - Les Halles with two tunnels, common in all other deep underground systems but unique in Paris. The station was actually built when the Luxembourg Châtelet tunnel was dug as an enlargement of the tunnel itself. As this station is under the Seine river, it has a very narrow platform much like London Underground stations, and does not sport the usual architectural expanse of other stations.

Two stations were added to the network as part of Line E in the 1990s. They are notable for their lavishly spacious deep construction, a technique not used since Auber. Although similar to the three 1960s "cathedral stations" of Line A, their passenger traffic has so far proved vastly lower.

  • Magenta (1999): deep construction serving both Gare du Nord and Gare de l'Est
  • Haussmann - Saint-Lazare (1999): deep construction serving Gare Saint-Lazare and Auber

Read more about this topic:  RER

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