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Angus Grieve-Smith
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Jarrett, I agree that the SNCF/RATP branding war is counterproductive overall. Nobody besides transit geeks really care if their RER train is run by the RATP, the SNCF, the RFF or the RCMP. A couple of things, however: 1. The RER B is in fact jointly operated by the SNCF and the RATP. At the Gare du Nord station, the RATP driver leaves the northbound train and is replaced by an SNCF driver. I'm not quite sure why the RATP developed the original A and B lines, or why they don't turn them over to the SNCF so that they can be run as a single system. 2. You may have seen my translation of an interview that appeared in Le Monde with Roland Castro, where he talks about conceiving of Greater Paris as a single entity. I think that the "Transilien" branding fits with this, and with your discussion of Paris's multicentric structure. Along these lines, the SNCF has also been extending the RER line letters and route codes to all its commuter rail lines. For example, the H and P lines are commuter trains that stop in one or another of the main stations. So you could argue that getting people to think of the commuter trains as part of the same system as the RER and not just "something for suburbanites" furthers the goals of regionalism and multicentricity.
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