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Boucle Villiers/Van Dyck, Paris

 

Before the days of the RATP, the CMP (compagnie du chemin de fer metropolitan de paris) were running the joint. They formed in 1899 and the construction of a metropolitan railway using electric traction was well underway. 

 

The 19th July 1900 brought the opening of Line 1 and within two months eighteen stations were open for the public. The first trains to serve this line were wooden M1 and MM1 stock but after 13 years and a large fire they were phased out in favour of the Sprague-Thomson or ‘Sprague’ stock. These first arrived in grey but were quickly painted a brighter yellow, the M.473 which sits just above this text is in its original colour and has been freshened up in later years with a couple of fat caps. After reaching Villiers station the old Sprague’s would disappear into the loop, reappearing soon afterwords to continue on their journey along line 3.

 

Back to ‘La Boucle’ or ‘The Loop’ to you lot. Under the feet of hundreds of runners that carry out countless laps of the park above, lies a network of tunnels and rooms. The loop was converted over the years as war time shelters, used as RATP training offices up until the 1980’s and in more recent years a paradise for writers. Before reading dsankt’s post on the Paris metro in 2010 I had never really considered running metro. What I did know was that it cemented the need to find some of those empty stations and if I was lucky the mythical trains sleeping in the loop!

 

photo: Nick

 

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