As the sun begins to set on this wonderful Sunday evening, I would like to take a moment to mention that the rolling stock transition on the Paris Metro Line 5 is nearly complete.
Line 5 has had a couple changes in its rolling stock ever since it opened in 1906, with the very first stock trains being the Sprague-Thomson. The Sprague circulated on Line 5 for many years, initially in 3-car sets but then increasing to 4-car trains as the line expanded. In the 1970s, the MF 67-D and E series trains, comprising of 5 cars, began to appear on Line 5, gradually replacing the aging Sprague trains.
The retirement of the Sprague was practically complete as of 1982, until a flooding event at station Église de Pantin occurred on June 7, 1982, forcing several MF 67 trains out of service and the remaining Sprague trains from Line 9 to be rerouted to Line 5. The Sprague was finally pulled from service permanently on April 16, 1983. During this time, many of the MF 67-D and E series trains were gradually being moved over to other lines in favor of the newer MF 67-F series trains from Line 7.
During the late 1980s, the MF 67-F trains were modified to handle outdoor storage at the Bobigny depot. Since none of the trains were designed for prolonged outdoor storage, the doors and windows had to be modified in a fashion by which they could resist water seepage. This measure in the long-term has not done well however, as the MF 67-F trains have suffered excessive wear and tear from being stored outdoors for so long. As a result, they are now being replaced with the newer MF 2000 rolling stock, which is better suited for outdoor storage.
The cascading of trains from the MF 67-F to the MF 2000 began on June 15, 2011, which is 3 years and 3 days after the MF 2000 trains went into service on Line 2, replacing the aging MF 67-D trains on that line. The numbering of units for Line 2 begin at 001 and continue through 045. Line 5 trains run from 046 through 097. And just for the record, Line 9 units will be 098 through 162. Cascading of Line 5 trains is set to be completed sometime in April or May, with cascading of Line 9 trains to begin sometime in June or July. In the meantime, roughly 5 to 7 MF 67-F trains remain in operation on Line 5.
The sight of the aging trains disappearing is somewhat of a ghost story I guess. However, the Soundlandscapes Blog was able to capture the now vanishing sounds of the MF 67-F trains as they make their way through the open air segments of Line 5. I invite you to check out their post and hear for yourself the distinct sounds that the trains make. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually like the sounds of the MF 2000, and the same traction system is evident on other Alstom-built rolling stock throughout the world, including the AS 2002 rolling stock on the Santiago Metro. However, the MF 67 does hold a dose of charm that will be forever lost once the entire series of rolling stock is phased out in the next several years.