19 Jul: When Paris Went Underground

The Paris Metro, engineered by Fulgence Bienvenüe and inaugurated on 19th July, 1900, was far from a world first: London, Budapest and Vienna had all beaten France in the race to create the next generation of subterranean trains. 

However, this didn’t stop Parisian anxiety about their new subway. Would the electric lines kill innocent travellers? Would being so close to sewers expose commuters to disease? Would the Metropolitan become a ‘Necropolitan’ – a DEATH LINE?

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider the rival proposals for aerial rail systems that could have been built instead; explain why it is that you can get phone signal on the Metro, but not the Underground; and explain why classic calligraphy of the station signs was not widely appreciated at the time… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Secrets of The Paris Metro’ (The New York Times, 2000): https://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/19/travel/secrets-of-the-paris-metro.html

• ‘Trains, Culture, and Mobility By Benjamin Fraser, Steven D. Spalding’ (Lexington Books, 2012): https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Trains_Culture_and_Mobility/fUOY8941RjMC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=necropolitan+paris+metro&pg=PA122&printsec=frontcover

• ‘How Has This Century Old Metro Stood The Test of Time? – Extreme Constructions’ (Spark, 2022):