SNCF strikes: 60% of trains cancelled this weekend

SNCF strikes: 60% of trains cancelled this weekend
An SNCF (French National Railways) high speed train. credit: Belga/ Eric Vidal

French railway operator SNCF will cancel 60% of its TGV and Intercity trains between Friday and Sunday this week, but the company has stated that it expects Eurostar and Thalys services to go ahead as scheduled.

Train controllers called a strike over a lawsuit, forcing the company to cancel weekend services. However, Eurostar trains (of which the company owns a 55% share) connecting France to Brussels should run as normal, as well as the Thalys services (which also stop in Brussels).

Belgian railway company SNCB was unable to give details on the exact impact of these actions but posted an update of the trains expected to be running to and from Belgium, stating that all TGV INOUI trains from and to Brussel-Midi will be cancelled except the following:

9870: Brussels - Strasbourg

9872: Brussels - Strasbourg

9886 Nantes - Brussels

9862 Montpellier Sud -Brussels

9894 Strasbourg - Brussels

Tweet translation: "Union action: train traffic will be severely disrupted from 2 to 5 December on TGV INOUI, OUIGO, and INTERCITÉS trains. Check the train timetable before going to the station."

Within France, only half of trains on the LGV Nord (connecting Paris to the Belgian border and the Channel Tunnel via Lille) will run. On LGV Est (connecting the outskirts of Paris to Vendenheim, near Strasbourg) one in three will run whilst on LGV Atlantique (from Paris to Western France) only one in four will run. On TGV Sud-Est, one in three will run.

Meanwhile, just one in four low-cost Ouigo trains and one out of two Intercités services will be operating from Friday to Sunday. One-third of TGVs to Switzerland, half of TGVs to Germany and one in three trains to Italy will go ahead as scheduled. There will be no trains to Spain and all night trains will be cancelled as well.

Exchanging tickets and reimbursement

Travellers impacted by the strikes will be informed by email or SMS on Wednesday but SNCF also recommends people check their journey timetables before leaving for the train station from which they will be travelling.

The company stressed that people can exchange their tickets free of charge to travel on any train that still has places available until Thursday 8 December. Travellers will otherwise receive a 100% refund of the ticket price if the strikes affected their journey. Train traffic is expected to gradually resume on Monday.

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The strike comes on the eve of the start of mandatory annual negotiations (NAO) due to begin on Wednesday 7 December at the SNCF group level. The labour unions CGT, SUD-Rail and CFDT called for a "unitary strike" on that day.

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