• Every year, around ten sessions to train new drivers are organized on RATP premises.

  • The trainees apply their theoretical knowledge in a simulator, an exact replica of the control stations of metro lines 2, 5 and 9.

  • This simulator “is not the key to training”, believes Eric Dugardin, head of the training division.

    But it makes it possible to recreate disturbed situations such as the presence of passengers on the tracks.

To the east of Paris, near Porte de Vincennes, you can board the M99 line.

This line, which you will not find on any metro map, serves Vienna, Warsaw, Turin, Rome, Prague or Madrid.

This is an imaginary line, the virtualigne, used to train young RATP metro drivers.

Instructors use it during training in a subway control station simulator, an exact replica of a real cabin.

Such training takes place around ten times a year, in the premises of the RATP training department.

Trainees, often in professional retraining, first follow theory and observation sessions.

Then, they put their knowledge into practice in this simulator, or on simplified control doors.

It also happens that they train in real conditions, in real parked trains, or during low traffic.

Passage in the cabin

Final training for Emilie.

The intern takes her final exam next week.

During her time in the cabin, she must remain completely isolated and make all of the decisions alone.

Between two stations, surprise: one of the usual signals is off.

This is a spacing signal, which serves to maintain a safe distance between trains.

The trainee must try not to block the operation of the trains, without putting the users in danger.

It opts for the so-called “marching” technique, which consists of manually adapting the speed of the train according to obstacles.

She thus keeps a safe distance, even in the absence of signals. 

All his actions are recorded and then retransmitted in the observation room in front of the other trainees who "learn as much by watching and analyzing as by practicing", believes their instructor.

Together, they take stock of his passage.

For Emilie, no worries about it.

"If you do that again next week, all the lights are green [for her to get her license]," he said. 

This simulator “is not the key to training”, reminds Eric Dugardin, head of the training division.

But it makes it possible to consider all sorts of scenarios with which drivers may be confronted, such as the presence of smoke, passengers on the track, or even stops necessary for traffic regulation... "These are not things that we can recreate without a simulator,” he continues.

A return to normal by mid-2023

The number of trained drivers should increase.

In 2022, around ten training sessions, each involving nine trainees, had been organised.

From now on, “we are aiming for 400 trained drivers”, specifies Ludovic Ablin, manager of the RATP training center.

An increase which would be made "in anticipation of future sporting events", he explains, referring to the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

It is above all a question of solving the traffic problems which undermine the transport offer in Île-de-France.

Traffic "should return to normal by the second quarter of 2023", according to Ludovic Ablin.

A perspective already mentioned by the former Prime Minister, Jean Castex, during his first participation on the board of directors of the transport organizing authority of the Île-de-France Mobilités region (IDFM).

The one who took over the reins of the RATP intends to recruit 4,500 people in total, over the year 2023. But for any recruitment, it takes a period of six months before the person is able to work.

The time that she follows an appropriate training. 


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  • Paris

  • Ile-de-France

  • RATP

  • Training

  • Driver

  • Subway