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As soon as you step foot in the Cité du Train, you are taken back in history, discovering in each corner the impact of the railway on everyday French life. The 27 pieces of railway equipment revisit history like a book on the past.

As you travel back in time, a sound and light show submerges you in an atmosphere from the past.

The “golden age of the railway” is presented through 6 themes: the railway and the holidays, the railway and the mountains, the official trains, the railway and the war, the railway workers and the world of travel.



Since the creation of the first railway lines, Paris - Saint Germain and Paris - Versailles, the train has been considered as a popular mode of transport for travellers looking for adventure. However, at that time, the primary beneficiaries of the railway boom remained the royalty and the bourgeois.

In 1936, more than a hundred years after the birth of the railway in France, the legislation on paid leave marks the real beginning of mass tourism. Mirroring these holidays, the Cité du Train presents two pieces of equipment which have transported many “first” holidaymakers to the seaside or the ski resorts.

  • Micheline XM 5005, Compagnie des Chemins de Fer de l'Est, 1936

  • Voiture voyageurs Mixte C5Dt 14068, Compagnie du Paris-Orléans, 1911


For the trains to be able to serve mountainous areas with considerable altitude differences while facing a hostile weather, engineers have developed a myriad of solutions, one of them being the metre-gauge railway.

For the rail connection to the valley of Mont Blanc, the company PLM (Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée) ordered tailor-made self-propelled vehicles, passenger coaches, wagons and snowploughs.

The motor vehicles were ordered to the “chantiers de la Buire” when the line went into operation. You can discover two of them at the Cité du Train.

  • Fourgon automoteur Z 209, ligne de Chamonix, Compagnie du P.L.M, 1901

  • Tombereau automoteur ZS 1420, ligne de Chamonix, Compagnie du P.L.M, 1920

  • Chasse-neige ZR1 Aurillac, Compagnie du Paris-Orléans, 1909

  • Locomotive à vapeur 141 Mikado n° 5.452, Compagnie du Paris-Orléans, 1911



During the big rail revolution, all European memories have travelled in trains especially designed for them. Nowadays, the French President rarely uses the train for official government business travel. And when it is the case, the first citizen of France travels as a normal customer of the SNCF, aboard a TGV.

The Cité du Train evokes these official trains with a locomotive from the PO network (Paris-Orléans) pulling a coach from the imperial train, and with the PR1 coach, built for transporting the highest-ranking state member at the beginning of the 20th century.

  • Locomotive à vapeur 121 A 340 Forquenot, Compagnie du Paris-Orléans, 1883

  • Voiture-salon des aides de camp n° 6 du Train Impérial, Compagnie du Paris-Orléans, 1856

  • Voiture-salon Présidentielle PR1, Présidence de la République Française, 1913



The railway has been through it all: the difficult hours during the French-German war of 1870, the two World Wars, transporting material and fighters to the front lines, benefiting the actions of the Resistance, and sadly also the horrors of deportation; and is thus intricately linked to our history.

The Cité du Train therefore devotes an important space to the equipment used during various armed conflicts. You will discover a “Kleinlok” from the First World War, a coach for the troops, a steam locomotive lying on its side to illustrate the actions of the Resistance, a tank transporter wagon, and another wagon presented as a duty to remember the alienating transport to the concentration camps.

  • Locotracteur ALVF Crochat, 1916

  • Locomotive à vapeur Consolidation 140 A 259, Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Nord, 1928

  • Voiture voyageurs B8 py 135, Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Nord, 1909

  • Wagon plat Rt Zy 16241, War Departement, 1918

  • Wagon couvert KKwf 100 179, Réseau de l'Etat, 1924


Former rail companies have recruited thousands of men and women since the opening of the first lines. The SNCF has been employing up to 500,000 people, working for the operation, the sales, the equipment, the material, the research department, the maintenance services and all other services needed for the proper functioning of the railway.


Since then, the jobs have evolved. A walk through the Cité du Train shows you the progress made over time. In the museum, we wanted to present various positions such as the mechanic (driving) and the driver which would ensure the fuel supply, next to the 241 A 1, the first Mountain locomotive in Europe.

  • Locomotive à vapeur Mountain 241 A 1, Compagnie des Chemins de Fer de l'Est, 1925

  • Draisine à pompe, 1860

  • Wagon couvert à bogies Kywf n°267 901, Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Nord, 1918



In order to accommodate the private and professional needs, the comfort expectations of rich families and the low budgets of a big part of the population, the railroad companies have significantly increased their efforts. During a few decades and up until 1956, they offered their customers three classes of service.

The Cité du Train allows you to discover various coaches. From the bare minimum with a coach which was used on the Alsace-Lorraine network to the luxury of the “Compagnie des Wagons-Lits”, created in 1872 by Georges Nagelmackers and which will, a dozen years later, bring into service the famous “Orient Express”.

  • Locomotive à vapeur Bourbonnais 030 1423, Compagnie du P.L.M, 1854

  • Voiture de 4ème classe A.L 20044, Réseau ferroviaire d'Alsace-Lorraine, 1907

  • Voiture-restaurant n°3348, Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, 1928

  • ​Locomotive à vapeur 030 TA 628, Compagnie des Chemins de Fer de l'Ouest, 1874​

  • Voiture à Impériale B9 20303, Réseau de l'Etat, 1891

  • Motrice de métro Sprague M 1354, RATP, 1935

  • Voiture de 3ème classe C11 24701 Arts Déco, Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Nord, 1924

  • Voiture-lits LX 3532, Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, 1929

  • Voiture Pullman 4018, Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, 1926

  • Locomotive à vapeur Atlantic 221 A 30, Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Nord, 1905


Architecture and scenography: Agence Francois Seigneur and Sylvie de La Dure

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