Metro B breakdowns in Lyon: why “we can’t say it won’t happen again”

Metro B breakdowns in Lyon: why “we can’t say it won’t happen again”
Metro B breakdowns in Lyon: why “we can’t say it won’t happen again”

By Anthony Sudani
Published on 29 Sep 22 at 15:49

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Metro B in Lyon experienced four breakdowns in just one month, Jean-Charles Kohlhaas gives the reasons and explains why it is likely to happen again. (©Soudan E/Alpaca Productions for Sytral)

Metro B was the victim of four major breakdowns in September which angered users, especially after that of Thursday, September 22. The line again experienced an incident on Tuesday, September 27.

Jean-Charles Kohlhaas, vice-president of the Métropole, explains to Lyon news the root of these recurring problems.

First two abnormal failures due to power outages

The four failures have three different reasons. “The probability of these breakdowns occurring in a month was about the same as winning the lottery jackpot,” says the elected Grand Lyon, who is also vice-president of Sytral.

He develops: “the first two outages were linked to brief power cuts on the Enedis network. The first, a 2 second break, the second 26 seconds. It was completely independent of the metro system. However, these power cuts are not supposed to cause the metro to stop completely.

Jean-Charles Kohlhaas is aware of this: “We must be able to restart and it is not impactful to remain blocked for a minute. The problem is that a number of inverter batteries have not been changed, when they should have been. »

Tuesday’s outage linked to work on line B

The first two breakdowns explained, the vice-president of Greater Lyon in charge of travel, urban logistics and intermodality, hastened to give the reasons for the most recent breakdown, that of Tuesday, September 27.

The latter is linked to the major metro B extension project to hospitals. “While finishing its work, a company badly put a system back in place which blocked the signaling behind the station and it took three hours to find out where the breakdown came from to resolve it. »

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The automation system still in the running-in phase

The biggest outage occurred on Thursday, September 22. The situation could be restored only the next day. An unprecedented incident since the start of the automation of metro B, three months ago.

There, it is really linked to the automation system of the metro. We haven’t found the cause yet… Alstom’s computer scientists are working on it to study it, but there’s nothing abnormal about it. I can’t tell you that will never happen again. When you set up such a complicated system, there is always a debugging period. There are small adjustments to be made, sometimes breakdowns, which allow us to learn lessons.

Jean-Charles KohlhaasVice-president of the Metropolis of Lyon

Automation that is not “low cost”

Jean-Charles Kohlhaas defends the automation of metro B. “When I hear about “low cost” automation, I would like to remind you that it cost Sytral 400 million euros, ie the price of two trams. I think it’s a beautiful and big project, technically very complex, so there’s a development period that will still last a few weeks or a few months. »

So the Lyonnais must still expect breakdowns? “Statistically, there is little risk that it will happen again several times in the coming weeks. »

Keolis must “better” support users

What especially worried Jean-Charles Kohlhaas on Thursday September 22 was the poor management of Keolis, the network operator, at the time of the incident. “Keolis must have the ability to support users as well as possible, which was not the case last Thursday,” he says.

Keolis already seems to have learned lessons from its failures. Tuesday, September 27, during the last outage, “the care was of high quality, with human presence everywhere to direct people to the relay buses, the other lines and to prevent people from going down unnecessarily to the stations. »

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The article is in French

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