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The idea of linking France to Belgium and England was studied by the French government as early as 1833. By November 1842, the northern French cities Lille and Valenciennes were already connected to the Belgian railway network. In July 1844 a law was passed that determined the route of the new railway from Paris to Lille. Exploitation of the line from Paris to Lille and several branch lines was granted to the Compagnie des chemins de fer du Nord. Owners of the CF du Nord were Hottinger, Laffitte, Blount and Baron de Rothschild as president. The railway line as well as the Parisian station was inaugurated on June 1846.
The line originally passed through the Oise valley, along Saint-Ouen-l'Aumône and Persan. This way a steep climb and descent between Saint-Denis and Creil could be avoided. The arrival of stronger engines prompted the CF du Nord to construct a 19 km shorter line between Saint-Denis and Creil over the plateau, passing along Chantilly. This new section was opened on 10 May 1859.
Since the opening of the LGV Nord high speed line between Paris and Lille in 1993, most long-distance passenger traffic has shifted away from the classical Paris–Lille line. It remains an important railway for freight traffic and regional passenger traffic.

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Additional Photos by Barbara Stec (Sonata11) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2738 W: 59 N: 2890] (33087)
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