Evolution of Night Train Services over Time: Exploration from Timetables in France in the 20th Century

Christophe Mimeur, CY Cergy Paris University
Guillaume Carrouet, Art-Dev, University of Perpignan

Night train is a peculiar object in the French railway ecosystem: a medium and long-distance service operating at night. In the 20th century, despite the contract of the French Railway Network, the night train service was very developed from and to Paris and across the country. Many illustrations and advertising posters depicted the night train service as a touristic service to reach beaches, ski resorts and thermal station. At the same time as the electrification and the increase of speed along the network, night train services was decreasing. Competition with high-speed trains, airlines companies call into question the long night service. This contribution aims to explore the conditions of the long decrease of the night train service until their punctual disappearance in 2017. The objective of this paper is exploratory and methodological. We developed an H-GIS to represent the night train service since the 1950’s: it represents the contraction of the network by the decrease of lines and stations served. More than simple existence of a service, we aim to investigate the evolution of the service by its frequency, regularity, diversity of stops to understand which choices both French National Company and French State made. The exploration of timetables will discuss the rhythms of services’ closing between the 70’s and today. Is there a global model of night train service or multiple models? For example, how the service was evolving between two night services from Paris to the Alps and the Pyrenees, where in one case high-speed trains has appeared in the 80’s and another one without high-speed services? This first exploration will give us some conclusions to extend the analysis to the all-20th century or maybe earlier…

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 67. The Production of Spatial Exclusion