Line 18 aims to take passenger comfort to new levels


Author: Mankirat Kaur

Passengers will benefit from 20mm thick soft cushions, comfortable seating, and intelligent circadian lighting on Alstom’s new Line 18 trains that will operate from 2026 on the Ile-de-France Metro in Paris.

Line 18’s new rolling stock will carry up to 350 passengers composing three cars approximately 47m long and designed by Alstom who worked in collaboration with Île-de-France Mobilités, Société du Grand Paris and Egis Rail.

Louis Weerts, train design engineer from Alstom, is particularly proud of the modular design. "All fixed seats are supplemented by folding seats to provide more seats during off-peak hours, with the same level of comfort," said Weerts. During peak hours, these seats are not used [they remain vertical] providing more space for standing passengers.

"We also want it to be comfortable and accessible for all, including people with reduced mobility," Weerts continued. Indeed, in order to accommodate all passenger requirements, Weerts said that they worked in collaboration with a panel of disabled people associations. "The associations have been involved in all the accessibility work and the modular design. We’ve paid particular attention to this passenger community with reduced mobility and so, we’ve implemented features such as integrated grip bars to provide stability and support for wheelchair users. These bars are located by the train doors to be easily accessible, eliminating any difficulties regarding passenger’s mobility and creating a dedicated space for those who need it."

There are also reserved spaces for those with restricted mobility that are said to be clearly indicated with bold red seats. "When not in use, these red seats can be used by the general public. That is why they are modular, by definition," said Weerts.

Elsewhere, innovative lighting technology has been adopted to cater to all passengers’ needs. "We have incorporated smart lighting, more specifically circadian lighting, which adapts the power and colour of the lighting at different times of the day," said Weerts.

Circadian lighting is said to impact one’s circadian rhythm which is essentially the body’s 24-hour internal clock and serves many imperative functions such as telling people when to sleep and when to wake up. The plan is to help reduce the impact of traditional electric light that generally exists on trains, thus, says Weerts, positively impacting the human circadian rhythm to improve well-being, mood, and sleep. "The system also optimises the energy consumption of the train. We use LED-lighting to change the colour temperature," he added.

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