French state-owned railway operator Societé National Chémin des Fers (SNCF) has unveiled plans for a major overhaul of Paris’s Gare du Nord station in preparation for the Olympic Games due to take place in the capital in 2024.
The project, which will be run in partnership with contractors Ceetrus (former Immochan), will see the station treble its size in a bid to meet the rise in passenger numbers expected in coming years. As part of the deal, Ceetrus and SNCF Gares & Connexions will operate the station for a period of 35 to 46 years.
After the transformation, Paris Gare du Nord will be able to accommodate an extra 100,000 passengers per day.
SNCF president Guillaume Pepy said the project has been long awaited and that the station will resemble London St Pancras station. As part of the overhaul, Gare du Nord will have an enlarged departure hall, an extended Eurostar terminal, major accessibility improvements and a new station front on Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis Street.
Paris’s most iconic train station will also feature a bigger public floor space, which will be increased from 15,000m2 to more than 37,000m2 , as well as a redesigned bus station and more parking for bicycles. The hub’s rebuilt roof is going to have an area dedicated to sports, including a basketball court and a golfing ground.
According to SNCF, the redesigned departure terminal will be inspired by the 19th century Haussman concept of the ‘passage Parisien’, featuring a gallery 18 meters high and 300 meters wide, offering railway, intermodal and commercial services.
According to SNCF, the station currently hosts 700,000 travellers per day, though the figure is to increase to 900,000 by 2030. The growth is due to an increase in long-distance services to the north of France, Eurostar services, the extension of the RER E line to west Paris and the upcoming opening of the train line to Charles De Gaulle Airport. This ambitious project is led by SNCF Gares & Connexions and structured in an innovative way to ensure that the largest station in Europe will be open, functioning and ready for the 2024 Olympics.