Tuesday, December 15, 2009

40 years since Paris Bastille closed

The station, that is, on the "glacial" night of 14 December 1969. The station served as the terminus of the 54.1 km long line to Vincennes and Verneuil-l'Étang. The line was opened initially to serve the Fort de Vincennes and was extended in 1859 to La Varenne and in 1874 to Brie-Comte-Robert. The line finally reached Verneuil-l'Étang in 1872 and connected to the line to Mulhouse.

The line was doomed with the inauguration of of the RER line A two days earlier on 12 December 1969 into which part of this line was included 5 years later on 14 December 1974. The station was demolished in 1984 and in its place the Opéra de la Bastille was built. Until the end the station was served by steam locomotives hauling rakes of carriages in vert foncé (dark green) through the suburbs. Photos of the station in the last years published in books have a particular atmosphere about them.

This has been the second Paris "grande Ligne" station closure, the first being the Gare d'Orsay in 1939 which now houses the Musée d'Orsay. Six mainline stations remain: Nord, Est, Lyon, Montparnasse, Austerlitz and Saint Lazare, each the terminus for lines stretching to different parts of France.
Three metro lines pass through the Place de la Bastille underground.

Books on French railways are available in our shop.

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