|I took metro line 3 to Saint-Lazare. These trains, seen here at Saint-Lazare about to climb to hill to Europe, are getting a bit long in the tooth these days.|
|At Saint-Lazare I took an old electric train to La Defense.|
|Pont de Becon|
At La Defense I rode line T2 out to Pont de Becon then returned through La Defense right through to the other end at Porte de Versailles. These trams are 5 unit Citadis trams which are run in multiple. The crowds are such that overcrowding is the norm most of the day. The route from La Defense south is over a converted railway line and there is a pleasant stretch running alongside the Seine. The Parc de Saint-Cloud is worth watching out for. The top of the Eiffel Tower was just visible below the cloud cover.
At Porte de Versailles I made a quick transfer to line T3a and rode through to Porte de Vincennes. This is a pleasant ride along a wide boulevarde, mostly with a grassed right of way, passing Montsouris Park, crossing the Seine and running over the extensive TGV maintenance yards near Porte de Charenton.
|T3a trams at Porte de Vincennes|
At Porte de Vincennes I took a short break to get a coffee and a PN break. I got to the T3b platform just as a tram was coming in from La Chappelle. It disgorged a tram load and took on a very full load. These trams are 7 units as are the T3a trams and, again, it was full and standing all the way.
|Porte de Pantin|
At Porte de Pantin I walked a little way south to take the metro to Bobigny. These trains are much newer and they ride very well. The wide corridor connections allow more people to be carried.
|Metro to Bobigny. Many riders take the opportunity to catch up on their sleep.|
At Bobigny I took tram T1 to the end of the line at Noisy le Sec and then went right to the other end of the line at Courtilles. The trams used here are the earliest ones which are now nearly 25 years old and seem to be in need of replacement. They are always overcrowded even though they are run at close intervals.
|T1 tram at Noisy le Sec|
This line is different from the others in that it is built mainly through city streets although there is a fair amount of separated right of way. There are many interactions with existing streets while pedestrians cause severe problems at times. This line connects with two other lines in the Saint-Denis area although I chose not to get out here.
At Courtilles I caught the metro back to Villiers with a change at Place de Clichy.
All lines that I saw were operating well although over crowding seems to be a universal problem. This could be resolved in the interim by reducing the intervals between trams, providing crews are available but it may be necessary in the long term to increase tram length where this is feasible.
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