Back home in Bangalore, Namma Metro trains are also capable of being run driver-less; however, certain amount of upgradation is required, said the spokesperson of BMRCL

Line 1 of Paris underground Metro, the oldest in France, is undergoing a silent change, from being manually operated to automated since November last and the changeover will be complete by this December.

This change in mode of operation, officials of Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) claim, will not only reduce the headway (time gap between operation of two trains), but will also reduce the cost of operation. RATP or Autonomous Operator of Paris Transports is a French government-funded public transport corporation that operates metros, buses, trams and regional rail network not only in France, but also in other parts of the world.

The underground network of Line 1 was built using the cut and cover method and was operational in 1900, said Hubert De Blay, Product Training Director of France-based Alstom Transport.

When RATP decided to automate the line, the biggest challenge was to not to disturb regular operations as over 7.25 lakh people used the line every day between 5.30 a.m. and 1.30 a.m. on weekdays and till 2.30 a.m. on weekends. They conducted test runs after the commercial operation hours.

The cost of upgradation is about Euro 700 million, of which the cost of rolling stock itself came to around Euro 400 million, said Guillaume Bougeard, RATP’s Transport Manager of Line 1.

Back home in Bangalore, Namma Metro trains are also capable of being run driver-less; however, certain amount of upgradation is required, said the spokesperson of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. At present, train operator can put the train on auto-mode. While doors of the train open automatically at stations in this mode, the door closing control still remains with the operator for safety of passengers, the spokesperson said.

(This reporter travelled to France with a group of Indian journalists on an invitation from Alstom Transport to visit its facilities).