FRENCH National Railways’ (SNCF) station operating business SNCF Gares & Connexions has completed a two-year refurbishment programme to prepare Paris Nord station for the Olympic and Paralympic Games that the French capital will be hosting from July 24.

The Horizon 2024 project has been mainly funded from SNCF’s own resources, with 14% of the €50m total cost provided by Paris transport authority Île-de-France Mobility (IdFM), the French government and the European Union (EU).

Architecture and design practice Arep was project manager for the two-year refurbishment programme, which has aimed to improve passenger facilities and wayfinding within what SNCF says is Europe’s busiest station, served by 2200 trains a day and used by 222 million passengers a year.

Improvements have been tailored to meet the specific needs of commuters, mainline and high-speed passengers, as well as local residents. A total of 50 retail spaces have been refurbished and all sites closed since 2019 have now been relet. A new electronic departure board has been installed in the main station concourse.

Special signage will be installed during Olympic and Paralympic Games to guide spectators to games venues. Every day 75 volunteer guides will be deployed to assist visitors. They will be equipped with the TradSNCF tool able to translate 130 languages. Station announcements will be made in French, English and Dutch.

Photo Credit: SNCF Gares & Connexions/Patrick Lazic

An additional 240 seats for waiting passengers have been provided, including 100 within the Eurostar terminal on the station’s upper level. Capacity enhancements here have also included the installation of 11 new check-in gates.

As part of work to improve connections between different modes of transport, a secure bicycle parking facility with 1186 spaces has been built.

The new facility will meet all its own energy needs, producing an average of 170MWh a year from the 567 solar panels installed on 1100m2 of its roof. Rainwater is harvested for watering plants, and 330m2 of new green space has been created during the refurbishment programme.

By reusing materials during construction work, 213 tonnes of CO2 emissions have been avoided as well as 45 tonnes of waste. Built on a wood and steel frame, the bicycle park roof has reused glazing recovered during refurbishment of the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

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