The RATP has highlighted a series of errors, a month after an incident on line 4 of the Paris metro which trapped hundreds of travelers in the middle of rush hour, in stifling heat, in five trains blocked in the tunnels. An investigation had been launched at the request of RATP CEO Jean Castex in the wake of the incident, which occurred on June 14 on this north-south line which serves three major Parisian stations.
Hot weather, rush hour and traveler information “sometimes clumsy and mostly perceived as late” contributed to making the situation painful for users, according to a memo of which Agence France-Presse obtained a copy. One of the trains immobilized in the tunnel “experienced sound system malfunctions, preventing the reception of any information on board for almost an hour”says the memo.
Another error recognized by the RATP: the decision to evacuate the trains blocked in the tunnels should have been taken earlier, due to the “lack of visibility on the return to normal and degraded waiting conditions” for travellers. A succession of incidents have thus “leads to many complicated situations”thus admits the RATP.
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“Everything took longer”
At 6:06 p.m., a signaling failure disrupted the entire line. Then, from 6:42 p.m. to 7:17 p.m., “a bag stuck between the landing doors (on the dock) and the doors of a train leaving the Cité (station in the center of Paris) causes seven immobilizations under tunnel”. At 7.18 p.m., an alarm signal was sounded in a train, which “prolongs the immobilization of four shuttles under tunnel and has caused the immobilization of a fifth”. Finally, at 7:36 p.m., the passengers of one of these shuttles spontaneously decided to evacuate by descending onto the tracks. Supervised evacuations will begin at 7:50 p.m. for a resumption of service at 10:10 p.m.
According to the RATP memo, the series of incidents “made it impossible to correctly assess the time of resumption of traffic”. Additionally, Line 4 is only partially automated, with some trainsets still operating with conductors. “Everything took longer” because of this mix, according to the director of the rail network Agnès Ogier. The full automation of the line is only planned for December 2023.
The Régie therefore proposes several corrective measures such as the use of a stopwatch for incidents with a shuttle in the tunnel in order to better understand the waiting times of passengers and “ask the question of evacuation”. The RATP also recommends reinforcing the controls of the audible announcement systems in the shuttles and appointing a referent per shuttle when they are immobilized to ensure better communication.
Read also: Line 4 of the Paris metro: passengers blocked for more than an hour and a half in trains, Jean Castex calls for an internal investigation