The Lille Metro (French: Métro de Lille) is a driverless light metro system located in Lille, France. It was opened on 25 April 1983 and was the first to use the VAL (French: véhicule automatique léger, English: light automated vehicle) system. While often referred to as the first fully automated driverless metro of any kind in the world,[4] the Port Liner in Kobe, Japan predates it by two years. The light metro system is made up of two lines that serve 60 stations, and runs over 45 kilometres (28 mi) of route.[1]

Lille Metro
Lille Metro Logo 2017.svg
Oscar Lambret metro station
Oscar Lambret metro station
Native nameMétro de Lille
LocaleLille, Nord, Hauts-de-France, France
Transit typeMedium-capacity rail system
Number of lines2[1]
Number of stations60[1]
Daily ridership271,230 (2011)[2]
Annual ridership99 million (2011)[2]
Began operation1983[3]
System length45 km (28 mi)[1]
Track gaugeno gauge, Rubber-tyred metro with guide rail
System map
Map of Lille metro lines 1 and 2.svg
Lille Metro

    Line 2    

CH Dron depôt
CH Dron
Pont de Neuville
Tourcoing – Centre Lille tramway
Gare de Tourcoing
Gare Jean-Lebas Roubaix SNCF
Roubaix – Grand-Place
Eurotéléport Lille tramway
future Line 3
Roubaix – Charles-de-Gaulle
Épeule – Montesquieu
Saint-Philibert depôt
Mairie de Croix
Croix – Centre
Wasquehal – Hôtel de Ville
Maison des Enfants
Wasquehal – Pavé de Lille Lille tramway
Pont Supérieur
Lomme – Lambersart
Les Prés – Edgard Pisani
Fort de Mons storage
Bois Blancs
Fort de Mons
Mairie de Mons
Port de Lille
Mons Sarts
Saint-Maurice – Pellevoisin
Gare Lille Europe Lille tramway Lille tramway SNCF
République – Beaux-Arts
Porte des Postes
Gare Lille Flandres Lille tramway Lille tramway SNCF
connection between lines
Mairie de Lille
Porte d'Arras
Lille Grand-Palais
Porte de Douai
future Gare de Lille-
Porte de Valenciennes
CHU – Centre
Oscar Lambret
CHU – Eurasanté
Jeanne de Flandre
Mairie d'Hellemmes
Square Flandres
Pont de Bois SNCF
Villeneuve-d'Ascq -
Hôtel de Ville
Cité Scientifique
Quatre Cantons
Quatre Cantons depôt

   Line 1   

The system forms part of a multi-modal public transport system covering the Lille metropolitan area, along with buses and trams, operated under the Ilevia brand.


In the 1960s the decentralisation of the city of Lille was considered; some towns of the Lille region were isolated and were poorly served by existing public transport, while the centre of Lille was congested with traffic and buses. The decentralisation resulted in the creation of the Public Establishment of Lille East development (EPALE) in 1968. In the 1970s, a plan for a proposed four line light metro system was developed, favouring the VAL system over conventional rail systems.

Construction of Line 1Edit

Construction started in 1978, and the first section was opened on 25 April 1983 between Quatre Cantons ("Four Townships") and République. On 2 May 1984 line 1 was completed, with a length of 13.5 kilometres (8.4 mi) (8.5 kilometres or 5.3 miles underground), linking CHR B Calmette (centre hospitalier régional: "regional hospital centre") to Quatre Cantons via Gare de Lille Flandres. All 18 stations have platform screen doors.[citation needed]

Line 2 opened on 3 April 1989 and it connects Lille with its two large suburban towns, Roubaix and Tourcoing, reaching CH Dron (centre hospitalier: "hospital centre") near the Belgian border on 27 October 2000. It is 32 kilometres (20 mi) long with 43 stations.[citation needed]

Line 1 extension and the creation of a second lineEdit

While line one opened in April 1983 between 4 Cantons and République; it was extended, with the extension from République and C.H.R. B Calmette opening on 2 May 1984. The cost of opening the first line in both its phases cost about 2 billion Francs.[citation needed]

Construction of line two began in April 1985. A depot was opened on the second line at Villeneuve d'Ascq, after the terminus of the line Saint Philibert in Lomme. Line one became operational in late 1988 with testing being carried out for four months. In 1989, COMELI which runs the metro merged with COTRALI, which runs the bus and tram networks into a unified public transport body.

The section between Lille and neighbouring towns of Roubaix and Tourcoing was built and opened in four stages. The first extension was inaugurated on 5 May 1994; the underground section has a length of 500 metres and connects the Euralille business area to the rest of Lille.

The third part is the longest to be opened, making about 13 km. It became operational in March 1999 and commissioned on 18 August that year. This section goes through the towns of Villeneuve d'Ascq, Wasquehal, Croix, Roubaix and stops in downtown Tourcoing. Though the route is mainly underground, the metro runs on a 1.3 km viaduct between the stations of Fort Mons and Jean-Jaures. The final section was inaugurated on 27 October 2000 by Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.

Plans for third and fourth linesEdit

While a system of four lines was initially planned in the 1970s only two lines have been built. Lille Métropole Urban Community (now called CUDL) indicates in its urban transport plan (PDU) adopted in June 2000 that 'the subway construction cost does not allow new achievements'. In 2003 a third line was estimated to cost €810 million; a cost considered prohibitive so the city explored surface networks instead; making investments in its bus and tram systems. In 2010, the vice president of urban transport, Eric Quiquet confirms this decision by stating that the LMCU 'plans no more new metro lines' and that 'the priority is the development of the network of buses, urban tramway, the tram-train'.




VAL tracks on the system.

Line 1 is 13.5-kilometre (8.4 mi) long (8.5 kilometres (5.3 mi) of which is underground) and serves 18 stations.[5]

Trains are 2 metres (78+34 in) wide and 26 metres (85 ft 3+58 in) long (composed of permanently coupled two-car sets), and are rubber-tyred. Platforms are 52 metres (170 ft 7+14 in) in length (though only half of the platform length is currently open to the public), long enough for two units. Each unit can carry 156 passengers.

The metro operates from 5:00 a.m. until midnight, with trains every 1½ to 4 minutes (every 66 seconds during rush hour), and every 6 to 8 minutes early mornings and evenings.[6] On Sundays there is a train every 2 to 6 minutes.[6] A one-way ticket costs €1.80.[7]

Planned capacity expansionEdit

Since January 2013, work to double the capacity of Line 1 has been ongoing. The platforms are being lengthened to be used with new 52 metres (171 ft) long trains built by Alstom. This expansion should be complete in autumn 2017.[8] The former VAL 208 of the first line will then be transferred to Line 2 to increase its passenger capacity as well.[9]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Les chiffres clés" [Key figures] (in French). Transpole. Archived from the original on 27 October 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Les chiffres de fréquentation Transpole 2011" [The figures of frequentation Transpole 2011] (in French). Lille Transport - Parlons mobilité. 11 February 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Qui sommes-nous? - Notre Histoire" [Who are we? - Our History] (in French). Transpole. Archived from the original on 25 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  4. ^ Bushell, Chris, ed. Jane's Urban Transport Systems 1995-96. Surrey, United Kingdom: Jane's Information Group; 1995. p178, 472
  5. ^ "De 26 à 52 métres : un métro deux fois plus long pour une capacité de transport renforcée" [From 26 to 52 meters: a subway twice as long for increased transport capacity] (in French). Lille Metropole Communauté Urbaine. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Les lignes de métro" [The lines of the metro] (in French). Transpole. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Les titres occasionnels" [The occasional (titles)] (in French). Transpole. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Nouvelle ligne 1: Alstom entame la modification des rames" [New Line 1: Alstom starts the modification of trains] (in French). Lille Metropole Communauté Urbaine. 23 September 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  9. ^ "La nouvelle ligne 1 : plus de de fluidité, plus de confort, plus de services" [The new line 1: more fluidity, more comfort, more services] (in French). Lille Metropole Communauté Urbaine. Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015. Menés entre 2013 et 2017, ces travaux répondent à la hausse constante du trafic de la ligne 1. Ils visent à anticiper sa saturation future, par une augmentation de sa capacité de transport. [Carried out between 2013 and 2017, these works respond to the constant increase in traffic on line 1. They aim to anticipate its future saturation by increasing its transport capacity.]

External linksEdit

  Media related to Lille Metro at Wikimedia Commons