French Train Strike advice

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by Class 172 Fan, 12 Apr 2018.

  1. Class 172 Fan

    Class 172 Fan Member

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    Had a look on the Oui.SNCF site to find out my TGV 5222 service from Lille has been cancelled on Friday as was going to Disney for the weekend due to the strike.

    Would have booked direct Eurostar to Disney but my brother wanted to spend a couple of hours in Lille, plus there was no direct Disney - Ashford on the day we had been due to come back.

    I had sent a message to the people on the Oui.SNCF Facebook page earlier at about 3pm but I had no response.

    As it's my first time using the French rail network, would I be allowed to board the next train from Lille or would something else be in place??
     
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  3. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    I am not an expert on SNCF, but TGV has compulsory reservation. So hopping on the next train is not that easy.
    Also Eurostar is affected by the strike.
     
  4. Class 172 Fan

    Class 172 Fan Member

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    I had a feeling of doom that compulsory reservations would be the case.

    I've checked with Eurostar and my train from Ashford to Lille is still running.

    I've tried phoning the number on my confirmation from Voyages-sncf.com for the Lille to Disney leg and that number is dead (0330 822 0333)

    I've tried phoning the French number they have online on the SNCF Q&A pages (+33 9 70 60 99 70) and all they'll do is refund me, which is no use when I'm travelling tomorrow.

    Tried tweeting Oui.sncf and they can't even find my booking.

    I had a feeling that everything was going to go wrong the other day and it seems it is going completely wrong. Why I allowed my brother to even consider Disney when Britain has a lot to offer I'll never know!
     
  5. daikilo

    daikilo Established Member

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    I live in France and I am sure you will have no problem if you are on the next or reasonably later train after the one that has failed to run. It will certainly help if you show you are not French. It may be best to travel via Paris as the Lille-Disneyland is I believe SNCF.
     
  6. Class 172 Fan

    Class 172 Fan Member

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    As a follow up to this, spoke with Eurostar Ashford (who I was using to get into France) when I was checking in and they have passed me through to Paris on their service and kindly provided tickets to the RER to get to Disney at no additional cost, and even suggested getting my TGV ticket refunded.

    5 stars to Eurostar (even though it was a non refurbished 373)
     
  7. AY1975

    AY1975 Member

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    Does anyone know whether the strikes are likely to carry on into July? From what I remember, in the past strikes have been pretty rare in the two main holiday months of July and August in France, but could happen at any other time. I guess there's always an exception to that rule, though.

    I was considering going to visit a friend in France in July, August or September, but might be better off going somewhere else instead to be on the safe side.
     
  8. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    Fly to Corsica. A wonderful little island. Just dont call it france. The locals dont like it.
    The trains are run by the local authorities.
    Martin
     
  9. daikilo

    daikilo Established Member

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    The government is showing no sign of backing down at present, although they claim to be negotiating, and nor are the unions. Some suggest that actual striker numbers are begining to reduce as a consequence of the hit on salaries.

    It is a fact that strikes tend to be suspended over the summer holiday period.

    At present there is other industrial and social unrest which complicates predictions, and I don't see an easy solution to the SNCF dispute.
     
  10. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    It might be worth mentioning, in case people reading this aren't aware, compulsory reservation still means you can book until just before departure, as long as there are seats.
     
  11. Monarch010

    Monarch010 Member

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    Here's a calendar of the strike days:
    Blue is when rail workers are meant to strike and red is for when Air France staff are due to walk-out.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    Am I right in thinking that the RATP operated half of the RER plus all the Metro and Trams in Paris are operating normally on these dates as they are not part of SNCF?

    I have a trip planned in June...
     
  13. Jonny

    Jonny Established Member

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    The whole thing is a taste of what would happen under nationalisation.
     
  14. Class 172 Fan

    Class 172 Fan Member

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    I believe so
     
  15. AlexNL

    AlexNL Member

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    RER A and RER B are jointly operated by RATP and SNCF. RER C, D, E and the Transilien network are fully operated by SNCF.

    On strike days, there will be less services on the SNCF part of RER A (branches to Cergy le Haut and Poissy) and RER B (Gare du Nord - Aéroport Charles de Gaulle / Mitry-Claye, Gare du Nord - Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse / Robinson). The rest of these lines are operated by RATP and should run normally.

    The buses, trams and métro are operated solely by RATP and aren't impacted by the strikes.
     
  16. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    I don't agree. Other countries have national operators with no strike. France simply has a different strike culture.
     
  17. urpert

    urpert Member

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    Just to add - I was in Paris the day after a strike day and RER C and D claimed to be operating two thirds of trains (though I did have one 17 minute wait at a central Paris station).
     
  18. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    Good; so I can at least concentrate on my required trams and metros on the two days in question during my visit. :)
     
  19. Gerald Fiennes

    Gerald Fiennes Member

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    Based on my recent experience, I would advise people to be very wary about booking Eurostar travel on strike days. The booking I made from Brussels to London for last Sunday was cancelled, I spent about 45 minutes on hold in call centres on Friday and Saturday for Eurostar and SNCB and never got through to anyone. The booking, although allegedly had been made exchangable because of the cancellation, could not be changed at all via Eurostar's website and SNCB's would exchange it but only if I paid an extra EUR200 or so to make it completely flexible. This was all the more frustrating as this was the final leg of a journey through from Praha and I had to be in London for 1000 on Monday. I imagine if that if had just shown up at Brussels at the advertised time, ie. for the 1952, they would have transferred me to a morning arrival in London but with no hotel accommodation etc. etc. I didn't want to risk it so came back by plane.
    Anyway, despite all the blah blah about being customer friendly (which, to be fair, mostly applied in the past), none of this was on offer this week. The words 'complete fiasco' come to mind: I appreciate that ES/SNCB cannot do much about the strike itself but they are in charge of the customer service to handle its implications. NB. travel insurance doesn't do much to cover these kind of situations other than offering a few pounds for delayed departures.
    In addition, in case of cancellation the most the Eurostar will refund is the fare paid (which was about EUR45 in this case).
    The most frustrating thing was never being able to get through to anyone in ES/SNCB to talk to.
    So, given that the SNCF strike looks like it's continuing for sometime yet, I wouldn't anyone advise anyone to make a booking with ES for the time being. If it's goes wrong, you will be left on you own! You have been warned....
     
  20. Jonny

    Jonny Established Member

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    Unfortunately, France and Britain have similar strike cultures.
     
  21. Mwanesh

    Mwanesh Member

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    In England you cant ground an entire network .You normally disrupt only that part of your franchise.I think Mr Macron has looked at the UK way and gone for it.
     
  22. AlexNL

    AlexNL Member

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    Aren't signallers unionised then? :)
     
  23. bunnahabhain

    bunnahabhain Established Member

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    I don't see that as a bad thing, if relations between employer and employees have reached the point where you have to take action to fight for your rights then so be it. Its not a decision taken lightly, and the decision to strike is always made by the employees during the ballot.
     
  24. Groningen

    Groningen Established Member

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    What am i glad to life in the Netherlands. One dutch politician (unknown to you so i will not mention the name) said: France is a beautiful country; such a shame that they are living there. She had some posts in 2 dutch goverments as a head of a department.
     

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