Paris Metro Line 5 – Vanishing Sounds
LINE 5 OF THE PARIS METRO must surely have the most distinctive sounds on the city’s entire Metro system. Earlier this year, I produced a blog piece about the Quai de la Rapée Metro station on Line 5 together with the sounds of the trains passing in to and out of the station.
Sounds of Line 5 at Quai de la Rapée:
Paris Metro Line 5
Yesterday, I had to travel along Line 5 from Gare d’Austerlitz to Place d’Italie and once again I was struck by the distinctive sounds on this line. I recorded the relatively short journey and I’ve included the end of it, the one stop from Campo Formio station to the terminus at Place d’Italie, for you to listen to.
Sounds of Line 5 – Campo Formio to Place d’Italie:
So what causes these distinctive sounds? I think it’s mainly to do with the fact that the trains on Line 5 are over forty years old – they were introduced in 1967/1968, so they are sounding their age.
Photo from Wikipedia
They are Type MF 67 rolling stock – and here, a quick lesson in Paris Metro train designation is called for. There are several types of trains on the Metro system but they fall into two main categories, those designated Type MF and those designated Type MP. The distinction is that the Type MF’s (Le materiel fer) have steel wheels whereas the Type MP’s (Le materiel sur pneus) have rubber tyres. Needless to say, the Type MF 67’s on Line 5 have steel wheels, which contributes to some of the distinctive sounds.
It is with mixed feelings that I can report that rather swanky new trains are gradually being introduced on Line 5.
Photo from Wikipedia
The existing MF 67’s are being replaced with the new Type MF2000 trains. These are more efficient, quieter and the only trains on the network to have on-board air-conditioning. To date, sixteen MF 2000 trains have been introduced, leaving forty MF 67 trains remaining.
So, the distinctive sounds of the Type MF 67 trains on Line 5 are set to disappear some time soon. Suddenly, recording and archiving these vanishing sounds for posterity seems to be really quite important.