RER line B: The first refurbished MI84 train put back in service

Valérie Pécresse, Chairwoman of Île-de-France Mobilités and President of the Île-de-France region, Philippe Martin, Deputy Director General of RATP, Laurent Probst, Managing Director of Île-de-France Mobilités and Marie Adam, Director of the unified RER line B, presented the first refurbished MI84 train put back in service on Wednesday 7 October.

This train is the first in a refurbishment programme financed by Île-de-France Mobilités (just over €100 million, 50% direct and 50% subsidy under its contract with RATP) covering the oldest 33 trains still in circulation on RER line B. RATP appointed Alstom to complete the programme, with the work being carried out on the Reichshoffen site (67).

With these refurbished trains, RATP and SNCF, which jointly operate the line, will be able to offer passengers a more comfortable environment with the addition of a cooled air ventilation system, increased safety with the addition of safety cameras, new LED lighting, new seats, new flooring etc, and have more reliable trains with a more regular service. The refurbishment programme is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

These refurbishments are part of the overall upgrading of the line, culminating in the arrival of 146 new generation MING trains with more capacity and improved communication, the contract for which is currently being awarded. Île-de-France Mobilités brought forward the delivery programme for the next RER generation by 7 years (originally planned for 2032) by launching the MING (New Generation Interconnected Material) invitation to tender for 146 modern, comfortable trains, with 20 to 30% more capacity and above all more reliable in 2018 (potential order for 180 trains). Île-de-France Mobilités wants this new stock to be delivered from 2025.

A lot of work is already underway to improve the regularity of the line and make RER line B as robust and efficient as RER line A: upgrade of signalling equipment and renewal of tracks and overhead lines, construction of new sidings for the new trains arriving, development of maintenance workshops for the future trains, modification of terminuses, notably in Orsay and the NExTEO project.

Mobilisation around RER line B

RER line B is the second busiest train line in Europe with 1 million journeys per day. Before the COVID crisis, it was experiencing a growth of over 3% passengers each year. About 64% of 2019 passenger traffic was recorded in September although peak loads were observed particularly during rush hour in the northern zone.

A gateway to the rest of the world for the Île-de-France region and France with the link between the international airports (Roissy and Orly VAL) and Gare du Nord station, this major line is experiencing difficulties with a punctuality rate (87.4% in 2019) below the targets set by Île-de-France Mobilités for SNCF and RATP (94% according to the contract), due in particular to the very large number of works under way to keep pace with the increase in performance of this line and the growth in the number of passengers.

In consultation with RATP and SNCF operators, elected officials and user associations, Île-de-France Mobilités has created a real emergency plan for RER line B with rapid measures and an immediate start on the longest operations to be carried out at over €3 billion, including the refurbishment of 33 MI84 trains.