MP 89

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MP 89
MP89 Ligne 4 - 02.jpg
MP 89 CC departing from Mouton-Duvernet on Paris Métro Line 4.
In service 1997–present
Manufacturer GEC Alsthom
Number built 312 cars (CC)
126 cars (CA)
Formation 6 per trainset
Capacity 720 passengers, 242 seats (CC)
722 passengers, 210 seats (CA)
Operator(s) RATP
Line(s) served CC: Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 4
CA: Paris Métro Paris Métro Line 14
Maximum speed 80 km/h (50 mph)
Power output 2,800 kW (3,800 hp)
Electric system(s) 750 V DC Current taken from the guide bars on either side of the track
Current collection method Horizontal contact shoe
A vertical contact shoe sliding on the rails provides grounding.
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge,
with running pads for the rubber
tired wheels outside of the steel rails

The MP 89 is a rubber tired variant of electric multiple units used on Paris's Métro system. Designed by Roger Tallon, two types are built by GEC Alsthom (now Alstom) for service on Line 4 and 14. The trains on Line 1 were moved to Line 4 between 2011 and 2013 to replace the older MP 59 trainsets, though only 48 trains are used for revenue service. The remaining four trains are stored either at Montrouge or Saint Ouen as operational spares.


An MP 89 CC train at Bastille - Line 1
An MP 89 CC train at Mairie de Montrouge - Line 4

In 1988, the RATP possessed a large number of outdated Sprague-Thomson trains, many of which were rapidly approaching 60 and 70 years old. With the MF 77 trains in place along Lines 8, 9, and 13, most of the Sprague were replaced. However, there were still some trains in service along Line 9, which were approaching 80 years old. Those trains were finally retired in 1983, reducing the average age of rolling stock to 14 years. Anticipating further aging in its rolling stock, the RATP changed its policy regarding replacement of rolling stock to avoid a massive, simultaneous replacement of all rolling stock.

September 28, 1990 marked the approval of the contract to manufacture the MP 89 trains by the RATP for an order of 665 cars, with GEC Alsthom being selected as the manufacturer. In 1994, a prototype MP 89 CA was built for testing at a facility near the Petite Ceinture, the former rail line that encircled Paris. A total of 52 trains for Line 1 and 21 trains for Line 14 were built, totaling 438 cars, fewer than the 665 cars mentioned in the contract. The first MP 89 CC trains went into service on Line 1 on March 27, 1997 and the MP 89 CA trains went into service on Line 14 on October 15, 1998.

The MP 89 class was developed initially when the need to replace the original rubber-tyred MP 55 cars of Line 11 was identified, and rolling stock was required for the new Line 14 as well as the anticipation of the extension of Line 1 into the La Défense business district. This was to be achieved by the construction of this new class of cars for Lines 1 and 14, with the cascading of refurbished MP 59 stock from Line 1 to lines 11 and 4. Two types were designed, the driverless MP 89 CA for the automated Line 14, and MP 89 CC for the manually driven line 1. Both subclasses are visually similar except for the provision of a drivers cab in the outer end of the MP 89 CC cars. (from fr:MP 89).


Bogie from an MP 89 Paris Métro rolling stock showing the two special wheelsets
Automated station announcements of the MP 89 CC as it arrives at station Marcadet-Poissonniers

The MP 89 contains many features that are equipped in both subclasses. These innovative features made the MP 89 the first of its kind on the Metro and allowed the RATP to continue to equip its lines with the modernized stock.

Among many features, the MP 89 is the first class of rolling stock to include the automatic opening and closing of doors. Instead of a passenger having to pull a lever or push a button to open the door in order to enter or exit the train, all of the doors on the platform side open and close automatically. This is due to the fact that the lines using this material are predominantly underground. This feature was carried on by the MF 2000 and MP 05 rolling stock.

The MP 89 is also equipped with an audio and visual automatic system (ASVA) which automatically detects the positioning of the station platform (whether the platform is on the left, or on the right side of the train). This detection allows the automatic opening of the train doors on the appropriate side of the platform. The system also allows for the operation of automated station announcements. Instead of the conductor having to utilize the intercom to announce station names, the automated system does this automatically. On curved stations, this system is especially vital due to the gap between the train and the curved platform. Automated messages announce the presence of the curves.

For example; if an MP 89 CC train approaches the curved station of Barbès – Rochechouart on Line 4, there will be an automated announcement of the station name "Barbès – Rochechouart" just prior to the train entering the station. As the train approaches the platform and begins to slow down, a second station name announcement "Barbès – Rochechouart" is made. In the case that a platform is curved, a third announcement is made in French, English, and a third language (usually Spanish, German, or Italian) that alerts passengers to "Please mind the gap between the train and platform". The MP 89 CA does not utilize "Mind the Gap" announcements at the present time because none of the platforms on Line 14 are curved.

Another new feature of the MP 89 is the interconnecting gangways in between cars, which was achieved with the prototype BOA and later the MF 88. This is described further in the next section, because the type of gangway equipped differs between the CC and CA versions. The gangways were subsequently improved and equipped the later MF 2000 and MP 05 stock trains. (from fr:MP 89).

Manually driven (CC) stock (Lines 1 and 4)[edit]

MP 89CC #46 at the St. Ouen shops
Cabin of the MP 89CC

The MP 89 CC is manually controlled by the driver and originally circulated on Line 1 from their inception in 1997 until February, 2013, replacing the aging MP 59 during the course of 1997 and 2000. The first train (#01) was delivered to the RATP in 1995 and was originally without articulation. Interconnecting gangways would not be installed until the train went into passenger service in 1997. 52 6-car trains were ordered for Line 1.

From 2006 to 2007, an experimental program ran on selected train-sets on an LCD passenger information system (Dilidam). This system would later be adopted by the new MP 05 automated rolling stock that now operate on Line 1 (from fr:MP 89).

Besides the provision of a driver's cab on the CC version of the MP 89, another key difference between the CC and CA stock is the interconnecting gangways between trains. Most of the CC stock are equipped with reinforced gangways, which consists of solid interior panels. This was designed mainly due to fears that the curved platforms on Line 1 (such as Bastille), as well as storage of the trains within the tunnels, could cause significant damage to rubber gangways. However, some trains (#s 02, 08, 09, 13, 18, 51, and 52) have been fitted with rubber gangways since 2000, and six trains (#s 43, 45, 46, 48, 49, and 50) contain prototype gangways that were later implemented in the MF 01 stock (from fr:MP 89). In 2012, train #12 was retrofitted with the MF 01 type gangways upon transfer of the train to Line 4, and in March, 2014, train #01 was retrofitted.

Because Line 4 is a much curvier line compared to Line 1, there were also concerns that the interconnecting gangways would become damaged from excessive wear and tear caused by the curvature of the tracks and stations. It was originally planned that all of the MP 89 CC trains would be re-fitted with the same rubber gangways as the MP 05. However, after modifying the Line 4 tracks to better suit the MP 89, the plan was cancelled.[1]

Fully automated (CA) stock (Line 14)[edit]

Interior of the MP 89 CA on Line 14.

The MP 89 CA operates on the Line 14, and is best known for being fully automatic without the use of any driver or cab. Similar to the Metropolis counterparts operating on Singapore's North East Line & Circle Line, the trains ends offer passengers an unblocked view of the tracks ahead. They do however have full driving facilities located behind a locked cabinet, for use in case of emergency or when the automatic drive is not adequate. 19 6-car sets were initially ordered, with a further 2 sets delivered for the extension of Line 14 from Madeleine to Saint-Lazare. All of the MP 89CA stock on Line 14 are equipped with rubber gangways.

Transfer of (CC) stock to Line 4[edit]

Beginning in April 2011, and lasting through March 2013, the MP 89 trainsets on Line 1 were gradually transferred over to Line 4. This cascading process was initiated by the full automation of Line 1, which brought on board a new class of fully automated rolling stock, the MP 05. This in-turn, allowed the aging MP 59 trainsets on Line 4 to be retired.

In April, 2011, the MP 89 CC #01 was moved to Line 4, as work to fully automate Line 1 was nearing completion. The transfer of these trains to Line 4 will allow the RATP to retire the MP 59 stock, which are reaching the ends of their useful lives. After various internal components (such as the automated station announcements) were updated to accommodate service on Line 4, train #01 went into service on May 23, 2011. Until September, 2011, train #01 was the only MP 89CC train to operate on Line 4. On September 10, 2011, train #44 went into service, marking the second train to be transferred. As the new MP 05 rolling stock began to debut on Line 1 during November, 2011, more MP 89 stock was put into service, allowing the RATP to transfer two to three trains per month.

By December 21, 2012, Line 1 had reached 100% automation, though three MP 89 trains, #s 02, 46, and 50, continued to operate as supplemental trains during rush hour. As of February 21, 2013, the MP 89 are no longer used on Line 1 and the MP 05 trains are now fully controlled by the central command centre and train spacing (SAET) instead of the signaling system that guided the MP 89 trains.

As of June, 2013, all 52 trains have been transferred over to Line 4. However, only 48 trains are used for revenue service (just as the MP 59s were). The remaining four trains are stored at either the garage behind the Mairie de Montrouge station, or at the Saint Ouen workshop as operational spares.[2]

An uncertain future[edit]

With the development of the MP 14 for Line 14, which will consist of eight-car formations, it is currently unclear as to what will eventually become of the MP 89CA stock. The trains could be moved over to Line 4 once it is automated to provide supplement stock, but nothing official has been mentioned yet.

Furthermore, the manually-driven counterparts of Line 4 face uncertainty as plans for automation move forward. Three possibilities have been raised:

  • Modernize the MP 89CC during mid-life refurbishment, remove the conductor cabins, and automate the trains for operation on the automated Line 4.
  • Shorten train cars from 6 to 5 cars for operation on Line 6 or 11.
  • Abandon mid-life refurbishment and retire the stock early.

The first option would keep the MP 89CC in operation on Line 4, while the other two have the MP 14 operating in six-car formations as replacement stock. A 2012 report by the STIF suggested the second option (moving the trains to Line 6). In May 2013, the STIF announced that it is conducting joint studies with the RATP to further evaluate options for rolling stock along Lines 4, 6, and 11.

Other networks[edit]

The MP 89 CA has been operating on line M2 of the Lausanne Metro since 2008, with two-car trains instead of the six-car trains variant used in Paris (MP 89 TL).

Santiago Metro uses a forked CC version named NS 93. These trains operate in six and seven-car formations on Line 5 and eight-car formations on Line 1.


External links[edit]