40th anniversary of the Sprague train’s farewell journey

On 16 April 1983, the iconic Sprague-Thomson rolling stock took a last spin on metro line 9. Throwback on the iconic rolling stock, 40 years after it went out of commission; a locomotive and tow train will be displayed at Porte de Saint-Cloud station on 16 April 2023.

RATP employees and passengers celebrated the iconic train together. The first generations of famous Sprague-Thomson trains were commissioned in 1908, and the last ones remained in operation until 16 April 1983. During this 40th anniversary celebration day, discover the Sprague-Thomson locomotive and tow trains, staff wearing period uniforms, guided tours led by ADEMAS (Sprague rolling stock operation) association speakers, Musiciens du Métro concert, photobooths, goody bags and more. A real Success!


A little history

Following a fire on board a wooden train in 1903, Paris transport operator CMP (Compagnie du chemin de fer Métropolitain de Paris) attempted to design reliable and safe rolling stock, especially regarding electrical equipment. The Sprague-Thomson model was therefore designed to address the company’s concerns in terms of railway safety. As early as 1908, the rolling stock model provided all the features required to operate a modern and safe dense urban railway network: long metallic carriages and powerful and robust engines that were controlled remotely by a multiple-unit traction system. Approximately 2,800 trains were built with this design between 1908 and 1937, with ever-increasing capacity and comfort.

Second-class carriages were green and equipped with typical wooden benches and first-class carriages were red and equipped with leather seat. For a long time, these trains represented the Paris metro as they saw three generations of Parisians. The last trains from this model to operate on metro line 9 took their last journey on 16 April 1983. As both a witness and an important player over the century, the Sprague train was there for all trends and evolutions as well as everything that shaped and defined that period.


The Sprague-Thomson trains’ ornamental elements were outstandingly elaborate for the time. Many of its features bestowed the Paris metro with its unique and iconic look: from the large, rounded windows, the signage made of glazed steel proudly displaying the CMP logo, the nickel silver handrails and the hat stands to the skylight allowing air circulation.


5 choses que vous ne saviez pas sur la rame Sprague-Thomson #ratpsansfiltre #ratp #sprague40

♬ son original - RATP

Did you know? All Sprague-Thomson trains were equipped with bayonet-socket light bulbs larger than those that can be bought off the shelf, their size making them impractical for domestic use. Despite this fact, Parisians had the questionable habit of stealing light bulbs from wooden metro trains in the 1900s.

A final goodbye

From 11 to 16 April 1983, RATP celebrated the Sprague rolling stock’s last journey on metro line 9. It was a way to bid farewell to the iconic train, which were also “the first metropolitan rail star”. Back then, it was “impossible not to catch one of the last Sprague trains”.


social networks

It was possible to follow us on social networks with the hash tag #Sprague40: