France to Spain Line Closure

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by Welby, 29 Oct 2019.

  1. Welby

    Welby Member

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    Does any of correspondents know what is happening to passengers that are booked on the direct Paris to Barcelona services at the moment because of the track being washed-away.
     
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  3. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    The sncf site offers re-booking/refund and states that there are no alternative services. Not impressive, as the motorway Montpellier-Narbonne appears to be open.
    In practice you could travel TGV to Toulouse, then via La Tour de Carol or Port Bou on regional trains, but it would take several hours longer.
     
  4. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    Or to Latour by night train...
     
  5. peteb

    peteb Member

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    There's still absolutely nothing running from Sete to Béziers and SNCF appear not to have arranged anything by way of road transportation. However there's several coach options between Nîmes, Montpellier and Narbonne/Perpignan including Bla Bla Bus.
     
  6. peteb

    peteb Member

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    Coming in the other direction yesterday (by hire car) I thought of some other potentially interesting routes to Cerbère from Paris for those with time or interrail-passes including: Paris to Clermont-Fd then Clermont-Ferrand to Nîmes then coach to Perpignan then train, or Clermont-Ferrand to Béziers then train (but that's messed up temporarily); also Paris to Toulouse via Brive then through TER to Cerbère. Most would entail an overnight stay then mid morning train to Barcelona from Cerbère or Port Bou. But a pleasant if slow way to do it.
     
  7. peteb

    peteb Member

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    I am surprised they don't simply divert the AVE trains from Perpignan to Toulouse, Bordeaux to Paris. Perhaps they are not cleared for use on that route? Must have lost a lot of goodwill and traffic to low cost airlines. Or they could have put on extra TGV from Perpignan and run a Barcelona Perpignan AVE shuttle. However given the recent political unrest in Barcelona maybe the authorities weren't that keen to act?
     
  8. TRAX

    TRAX Member

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    AVEs aren’t authorised everywhere in France.
     
  9. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    The night train doesnt seem to run every night ATM....

    IIRC the AVEs work to Lyon and Marseille only. The Barcelona-Paris trains are TGV Duplex, and AFAIK could run Barcelona-Narbonne-Toulouse(-Paris). I suspect SNCF want to keep them on Paris-Montpellier because that's where the money is to be made at this time of year.
     
  10. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    The RENFE site confirms the Paris services are all Euroduplex (hence SNCF) whilst the Toulouse/Lyon/Marseille are AVE S100 (which are TGVs- based on the Atlantique but 2+8 and with the corners rounded off)
     
  11. k-c-p

    k-c-p Member

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    Latest update from SNCF to be found here (in French only).

    The gist:
    • Line will remain closed until 24/11/2019.
    • TGV will start/terminate in Montpellier
    • Partial service will resume on 25/11/2019
    • Full service from 4/12/2019
    There are also pdf docs detailing which Intercité train will run on the Bordeaux / Marseille and Clermont-Ferrand / Béziers routes.
     
  12. peteb

    peteb Member

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  13. Jamesrob637

    Jamesrob637 Member

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    I'm glad I did my Bordeaux to Marseille train trip in early October! The weather was beautiful that day. Sad it's closed for a few weeks but hopefully SNCF will get it reopened on time.
     
  14. peteb

    peteb Member

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    I did this route Arles to Narbonne in May. The best way to experience it in my opinion is to get the IC loco hauled service from Marseilles to Toulouse/Bordeaux. The trains are great, you have a reserved seat but as they are rarely full you can relocate to a better seat between stops. It also runs close to the sea and we saw flamingos on our trip.
     
  15. Dougal2345

    Dougal2345 Member

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    Thanks for that! I was just looking at the "oui.sncf" site and was wondering why all the London-Barcelona trains in November were showing as "Not Bookable"... would it hurt them to put a little explanation on there, do you think..? :'(
     
  16. daikilo

    daikilo Established Member

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    Whilst the member of my family who wanted to travel through this area has by economy chosen Flixbus in both directions, the attitude of oui.sncf in either providing info or substitute road services is pathetic. In addition, whilst it is true that the damage was significant, no effort has been made to draft in diesel locos or stock whist they rebuild the catenary. And I can only guess that the remaining freight is switching to road. I do hope the head of the Region Carole Delga will ask some pointed questions of the new head of SNCF.
     
  17. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Diesels would be little use when the line has been washed away. However, I am amazed that SNCF only offer bookings for Paris to (eg) Narbonne via Toulouse and TER/IC if you specify that route - seriously customer unfriendly.
     
  18. daikilo

    daikilo Established Member

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    As I understand, the washouts are now repaired but the OHLE masts (and bases) need realigning which I am guessing means a complete rebuild, hence my suggestion of diesels. Toulouse has also been badly hit by the cancellation of the through Bordeaux-Marseille IC service and the Toulouse-Lyon TGVs.
     
  19. peteb

    peteb Member

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    Really cannot understand how SNCF could get away with simply cancelling Toulous-Lyon and Marseille TGV & Intercities with no buses provided, considering the gap between Béziers and Montpellier takes only an hour to drive on the motorway. I thought they might have run TGV via Paris suburbs from Perpignan/Toulouse to Lyon, but nothing. I guess like me most folks hired cars to complete their trips along the South Coast.
     
  20. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Perpignan-Lyon via Paris would take 9 hours, so not competitive. Perpignan-Paris would be viable, though.

    Thanks. I presume there is an engineering possession for the work, and SNCF's diesel fleet is IIRC pretty antique.
     
  21. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    I can't stress enough how important it is to take food and drink with you if you choose this route: it's a beautiful journey but the lack of a buffet or even a trolley (or even self-service vending machines) is something that caught me out on the Sleeper, and Latour is almost a ghost village in low season. Add to that a lack of trolley going down the Spanish side (on it's own that's understandable, as it's just an extended commuter service), and it's almost as if the Bear Grylls meme was inspired by this journey!
     
  22. peteb

    peteb Member

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    To add: the connections off the night train to Perpignan on the little yellow train from Latour don't seem to work too well nowadays, it seems to be run mainly as a day trip up into the mountains. Plus there's only buses not TER currently to take you on to Perpignan. Having said that once at Perpignan it's fairly easy to go to Port Bou and connect there for Girona and Barcelona.
     
  23. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Though for both of those it's far simpler, if less fun, to wait for the RENFE train.
     
  24. mister-sparky

    mister-sparky Member

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    So has this reopened now?

    Looking at different sites it's really confusing as to when its due to reopen. Some say it opened on the 4th, others say not until the 25th.

    I need to travel from Barcelona to Marseille on the 22nd and I need to know if I'm going to be able to get a train or if I'm gonna have to get a Flixbus (which takes all day!)

    Thanks!
     
  25. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Can you book a train on the site that says the route is open? Go by oui.sncf.
     
  26. mister-sparky

    mister-sparky Member

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    no because it was just news sites. On booking sites you can’t even book as far as Perpignan or Girona
     
  27. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Original report said "would" reopen 4th. Clearly hasn't :(
     
  28. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    Post #10 above says 4/12 not 4/11 for full service. 25/11 for partial.
     

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