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New Uses for Ghost Metro Stations in Paris?

Posted February 8, 2014

Remember that episode of Sherlock where they have a stop a bomb from going off under Parliament, carried under the historic building via a train moving through decommissioned Underground stations, also known as "ghost" stations? How about a similar storyline in V for Vendetta? It seems like unused Underground stations are popping up right and left in pop culture these days, as well they should, because they're kind of fascinating: once built and intended as busy station platforms for people on the go, they've fallen into disuse and been abandoned to time, subway tile and all. (Though Churchill did use one as an underground command center during the war.)

London's subway system is famous, but it's not the only venerable subway system with ghost stations -- New York city has its fair share, as does Paris. A number of stations within the Paris Metro remain unused, including two which were built, but never actually opened. All that might change under a proposal from mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who suggests that it's time to bring in some remodeling teams and bring some life back to the Paris Underground.

She's working with architects to develop viable plans for converting these unused stations into swimming pools, night clubs, performance venues, and more. Part of her campaign includes a promise to engage in a co-creation program soliciting ideas from artists and designers and then having members of the public vote on which they like best. If she takes the election, Parisian nightlife could get a whole lot more subterranean, and that much more interesting.

If she doesn't, hopefully someone else will pick up the idea and run with it, as it has definite merit. Abandoned stations can become problematic for transit authorities, and they represent a tragic waste of space in cities like Paris, where centuries of life have seriously cramped residents. Extending underground space doesn't have to be all fun and games, either -- London is considering proposals to turn abandoned stations into underground farms, another option for helping the city achieve food independence.

New York City, for one, might want to take inspiration from the idea. With a little elbow grease from New York concrete contractors, they could transform ghost stations into lively spots for dancing, food, social events, sports, and so much more. An underground world seems only fitting for New York, since the city is such a trendsetter for the United States. Imagine hopping a train and stepping off into a wonderland -- without having to brave the chill of a New York City winter!

Katie Marks writes for

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