The event was attended by Ms Nathalie Koscisusko-Morizet, French minister for ecology, sustainable development, transport and housing, and Mr Jean-Paul Huchon, president of the Ile de France regional council.

Eight automatic driverless trains have been introduced on the line which will initially run in tandem with manually-operated trains. Two further trains will be added each month until December 2012 when all 49 trains on the 16.6km east-west line will be entirely automated.

The trains will then be capable of running at 85-second headways, compared with 105 seconds at present.

Siemens was awarded the contract to automate the line in November 2005 and has delivered its Trainguard MT communications-based train control (CBTC) solution, a control centre, and 954 platform screen doors, which have been installed at all stations on the line.

The cost of the project to automate the line, which carries up to 725,000 passengers per day and is the busiest on the Paris metro, is €600m. This is the second fully-automatic driverless line in Paris following Line 14, which was built as a driverless line from the outset.