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Thursday, 15 September 2016

SNCF’s catchy little renaming of Paris-Bercy railway station

There's a lot to be said for getting the name right, isn't there? Especially when you’re promoting a product or a service.

The simpler, catchier and more relevant the better.

Bearing that in mind and with a magic wave of its wand, SNCF (Société nationale des chemins de fer français - France’s state-owned railway company) - and of course not succumbing to the implicit political pressure “state-owned” might suggest - has renamed one of its main Paris stations.

On Tuesday, Paris-Bercy - based in the area of the Paris of the same name - officially became…wait for it…”Paris- Bercy- Bourgogne - Pays d’Auvergne”.

Paris- Bercy- Bourgogne - Pays d’Auvergne (screenshot from France3 report)

Snappy, isn’t it?

Precise and to the point and not at all an unnecessary mouthful.

Apparently it took several (well-used) (wo)man hours of meetings to come up with a compromise that would satisfy elected politicians of both Bourgogne (or Burgundy in English)  a  former administrative region of east-central France which is now part of the new Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region and Auvergne, another former administrative region which is now part of the larger Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (the number of metropolitan regions in France was reduced to 13 as part of a cost-cutting and efficiency exercise aimed at making local government and administration  simpler, yadda yadda yadda)

On hand at the inauguration ceremony to soak up some of the political glory (????) was the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Laurent Wauquiez, He was only too keen to emphasise how the name change a) would reflect the area of France the railway station actually serves and b) would be a window to the world for tourists (honestly, even if there’s some truth in the declaration, only a politician would have the gall to say so).

Laurent Wauquiez (screenshot from France3 report)

“At last there’s a railway station in Paris that carries the name Auvergne,” he said in a television interview. “It’s really going to be a super way to promote our region.”

Similarly over the moon  was Marie-Guite Dufay, president of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region.

“It could increase travellers’ knowledge of our regions as a tourist destination,” she said enthusiastically.

“There could be demonstrations (at the station) of our regional products by people from the area,” she added, perhaps forgetting that…well…”Paris- Bercy- Bourgogne - Pays d’Auvergne” (what a mouthful) is just a railway station and nothing more; a point of departure and arrival et basta.

Marie-Guite Dufay (screenshot from France3 report)

Still, politicians love “over-egging pudding” whenever they get the chance.

Surely all that passengers passing through the railway station (and adjoining bus terminus) really care about is that the trains are on time and that SNCF can provide a reasonable service that isn’t too costly.

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