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European Railroad Discussion > LGV Interconnexion Est - TGV Paris Bypass

Date: 02/07/20 14:53
LGV Interconnexion Est - TGV Paris Bypass
Author: F7sForever

I've talked a lot about the various LGV (lignes a grandes vitesses, or high speed lines) in France, mostly as they radiate out of Paris across the rest of the country. And while there are several high speed routes that run outside of Paris, probably the most important line for time savings on the SNCF high speed system is the LGV Interconnexion Est, or East Connector. This relatively short line (under 100 miles) starts north of Paris and circles around the east side of the Ile de France, providing a high speed connection between the LGV Nord, LGV Est, and LGV Sud-Est. In addition, there is a connection to a slower speed line that circles Paris, known as the Ligne de Grande Ceinture (Great Belt Line), at Valenton, which allows for a connection to the LGV Atlantique at Massy, south of Paris proper.

The LGV Interconnexion Est makes quick work of some cross-country travel that might otherwise be problematic. A trip from Lille in northern France to Strasbourg in the east, for instance, would be three hours of riding plus a train change and station change in Paris, from Gare du Nord to Gare de l'Est. Via the East Connector, it's a two hour and 45 minute direct trip.

The line opened in 1994. From the north, it leaves the LGV Nord at Vemars Junction, and very quickly reaches another benefit of the route - Charles de Gaulle airport. The station at CDG Terminal 2 fans out six tracks wide, with two tracks for each direction of travel bracketing a pair of run through tracks. This give passengers arriving by air an easy connection to the rest of France without going into Paris proper. Most all of the trains on the Interconnexion Est call on CDG Terminal 2. About 15 miles out of CDG, the line crosses over the LGV Est. There are connectors there to join the eastbound LGV Est from the north and south directions. A connection westbound toward Gare de l'Est was apparently deemed unnecessary.

About ten miles further south, the line has its only other station, Marne-la-Vallée Chessy, which sits directly below Disneyland Paris. In addition to TGV and OuiGo service, Marne-la-Vallée is served by select Thalys and Eurostar trains, making it a busy destination. The line then continues to Moisenay, where it connects with the LGV Sud-Est, both westward toward Gare de Lyon, and southeast toward Lyon proper, as well as the previously mentioned connection to the Grande Ceinture at Valenton.

The biggest obstacle for some trains getting around Paris right now is the Great Belt connection, which is already clogged with freight traffic as well as regular trains on the RER C line. A proposal to built an additional high speed connector - the LGV Connexion Sud (south connector) seeks to fix that, as well as provide a TGV connection to Paris' other major airport, Orly, in the south suburbs near Massy. The final proposal was for a line that departs the LGV Sud Est near Sénart, a fair distance south of the East Connector junction in Moisenay. The project is still in the future though, slated for completion after 2030. I'm not even sure that final considerations for routing and station locations have been completed yet, and there are a lot of other expansions to the Reseau LGV that are competing for attention and financing. Either way, the LGV Interconnexion Est is a busy line, seeing easily 20 or more TGV trains during peak hours. Photos will follow from my visits to Charles de Gaulle and Marne-la-Vallée.

Photo 1: Dasye Duplex TGV 774 brings up the markers on a train departing south from the northbound platforms at Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2 TGV, while a TGV reseau takes on passengers on the next track over. Several of the Ouigo trains that I observed - including the one I rode to Strasbourg in 2017 - make this maneuver, coming in from the south and reversing directions. I am not going to lie - this station is symmetrical and run-through, and I get screwed up pretty much every time I am there. The station and waiting area straddles the tracks in the middle, with waiting platforms overlooking the tracks on both sides. Those platforms look exactly the same, and I found myself getting turned around a few times while I was there. Photo from Nov. 2019.

Photo 2: A Reseau train departs CDG2 northbound as seen from the end of the platform over the tracks, looking back toward the station area and the long escalator up to it. Photo Nov. 2019.

Photo 3: Looking across the Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2 TGV station at the southbound tracks (with a Dasye Duplex in blue and gray departing), the two run-through tracks, and the northbound tracks with a pair of OuiGo Dasye Duplex trains calling on the inner track. At far right, beyond the wall, is an RER station that serves CDG Terminal 1, and downtown Paris. When I was there in 2019, there were orange dividers in the concrete openings between the sets of RER and TGV tracks. Photo Sept. 2017.

More photos to come!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/20 16:15 by F7sForever.

Date: 02/07/20 14:59
Re: LGV Interconnexion Est - TGV Paris Bypass
Author: F7sForever

Photo 4: Looking south on one of the platforms at CDG2. There are a few benches for seating, including two that made for a good overlook of the traffic passing through the station. I had a better idea of my bearings during the 2017 trip because I only went to one side of the station, and never gave myself the opportunity to get confused. The green haired lady has showed up in several of my photos, and if you've been reading these features, it may seem that I followed her all over France. I did - she's my ever-patient wife.

Photo 5: The only traffic I saw on the run-through tracks during the 2017 trip was this pair of diesel freight motors (one bearing markings for Infra, the MOW division of SNCF) Frankly, I am more surprised by that now than I was at the time.

Photo 6: A northbound Neo Duplex train departs, showing off the orange dividers that appeared between the RER and TGV tracks when I saw there in 2019.

More photos to come!

Date: 02/07/20 15:11
Re: LGV Interconnexion Est - TGV Paris Bypass
Author: F7sForever

Photo 7: A Thalys train has reversed directions at Marne-la-Vallée, and is headed back toward Brussels, Belgium with PBA set 4539 bringing up the markers. Photo Nov. 2019.

Photo 8: One of the most unusual things I saw recently was this: TGV NeoDuplex 279 coupled to OUIGO Dasye Duplex 767 at Marne-la-Vallée. The set departed south soon after I took this photo. This portion of the line is underground, and the escalators are up to ground level and the station. Tracks 3 and 4 are for the TGVs, while tracks 1 and 2 are parallel but outside, for RER traffic into Paris.

Photo 9: An RER A line train gets ready to head back into Paris. The A line travels all the way back across Paris, terminating in the west suburbs.

Thanks for reading!


Date: 03/15/20 13:55
Re: LGV Interconnexion Est - TGV Paris Bypass
Author: hawkeye

In your first picture, the train on the right side has o pipe with what looks like a coupling to the car next to it.  Do you know what that is used for?  Thanks in advance.

Richard from Idaho, USA.

Date: 03/16/20 13:45
Re: LGV Interconnexion Est - TGV Paris Bypass
Author: SOO6617

hawkeye Wrote:
> In your first picture, the train on the right side
> has o pipe with what looks like a coupling to the
> car next to it.  Do you know what that is used
> for?  Thanks in advance.
> Richard from Idaho, USA.

If you are referring to the pipe running along the center of the roof, it holds the electrical cable for the traction power and distributes it to the other cars in the train. SNCF feels it is safer to have seperated pn the roof rather than inside the body of the car. The cars of the set are semi-permanently coupled, they are only seperated at tthe workshop for major repairs.  

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