Territorial integration of Île-de-France HSR stations facing changes in TGV model. An analysis by the link organisation of the Marne-la-Vallée Chessy case

Keywords: Station; High speed rail; territorial integration; stakeholder system; link organisation; Tourist mobility; Paris Île-de-France

Abstract: The French high-speed rail (HSR) system has contributed to spatial and territorial restructuring. The expansion of the network accompanied the development of new stations. The territorial integration of these stations has been extensively researched, except in the Île-de-France region, at the core of the rail network. Focusing on the case of Marne-la-Vallée Chessy station, this thesis analyses the territorialisation of the Île-de-France HSR stations (located on the outskirts of Paris) in view of the evolution of the TGV model: the development of a TGV offer bypassing the centre of Paris (TGV intersecteur) in the 1980s and more recently of new low-cost HSR services (Ouigo).

This study articulates three approaches to understand the territorial integration of this station: an analysis of stakeholders in the field of transport and urban development; the study of the relational capacity of the station and its traffic; and the analysis of users’ practices (tourist mobility).

This work sheds new light on the way regional development projects consider, or fail to consider, on HSR. This research documents how the relationship with the Parisian centrality has been a lever in the management of the HSR Interconnexion project and its three interlocking objects: line (network-support), service model (network-service) and station (node-place). Contrasting with the national and interregional logics which have gradually come to dominate the reading of the project, we identify a twofold relationship to the Parisian centrality on a sub-regional scale and uncover complex spatial restructuring issues. The development of the Ouigo offer has contributed to an evolution of the role of Marne-la-Vallée Chessy as a gateway to the city, with a complexification of territorial dynamics of which the station is the interface. The evolutions related to Ouigo are not limited to Marne-la-Vallée Chessy, and the thesis provides insights on the new functional distribution between Paris inner-city stations and Île-de-France HSR stations. It also provides an initial analysis of the changes in the offer of TGV services bypassing Paris, and of the organisation of the TGV offer in France, following the start of Ouigo services.