France: Riding on Air

If the French have their way, a ride on a subway need no longer be a nerve-racking, ear-wrecking experience on shrieking steel wheels. The government-owned Paris Metro, which celebrated its 63rd birthday last week, has just installed a revolutionary innovation on its high-traffic Vincennes-Neuilly line: cars that run along the tracks on pneumatic tires. The result of ten years of experiments commissioned by the Métro, the new system was developed jointly by tiremaker Michelin, automaker Renault and the Compagnie Electro-Mécanique. Eventually it will be used along the entire 160-mile length of the Métro.

Though the Métro is the first to...

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