Please sign in to post.

French Rail Strike Starts Today

And it looks like it could be a doozy. press is reporting that only one out of three trains, on average, will be running.

The strike organizers have filed plans for a "reconductible" strike, which basically means that each day they can decide whether to continue it for another day.

Posted by
69 posts

Strike continues 6/11 and 6/12. Limited train service.

Posted by
7687 posts

Dang,I had given lots more detail in a response on another thread, which seems to have disappeared. Yes, as AB noted, the strike continues tomorrow. Please note that only about 1 in 5 trains between Paris center and CDG airport will be running which basically eliminates that as a realistic means of getting to the airport while the strike is on. There are reduced services on just about everything except the Eurostar.

Posted by
47 posts

Hi Kim,
I was looking for the same post and as you said it disappeared. We plan on leaving tomorrow (7am) for our 11:15 flight back to the states from CDG. We plan on taking the RER B from port royal, and guess we will have to change at gare Nord. Any help you can give will be appreciated, I'll check back when we get up tomorrow.
Thanks
Dona

Posted by
7687 posts

Dona,I absolutely would avoid trying to take the RER to the airport tomorrow. It will be a nightmare, with only 1 train in 4 operating. I'm having trouble seeing what the situation is with the taxi strike tomorrow. Ask at your hotel in the morning. Another option would be the AirFrance bus from Gare de Montparnasse.

http://www.lescarsairfrance.com/en/our-network/plan-line-4.html

Posted by
10344 posts

Grrrrrr!
Public transportation strikes are one of the worst surprises that can happen on your trip, especially on arrival day.
Last month we got lucky and dodged the bullet on the London Tube strike.

Posted by
46 posts

Good Morning... I don't mean to sound insensitive or egocentric to the 'plight' of the rail workers, but we are flying into CDG the morning of June 19 and have tickets to train from there straight to Avignon. How concerned should we be? Any suggestions for other options?

Posted by
7687 posts

Judi, for right now I would just hold on and hope that the strike is over by then. The discussion in parliament is supposed to be on June 17, so right now they are striking in the run-up to that.

I know this is aggravating when you've saved and planned, and I wish I had a better answer for you.

Posted by
46 posts

Kim, thank you for that information. I am not in panic mode, yet. Actually, I was just thinking that if the strike continues, we might just have to stay in Paris (dang). I realize finding a place on the spur of the moment will be an issue, but hey, we'll be in Paris.
I wonder if snfc will refund our tickets if the strike continues?

Posted by
274 posts

Judy, are you saying the strike could last through the 17th?

Posted by
46 posts

David, I don't know. I am just trying to make contingency plans in case. I think Kim was just saying that there may be official talks about the strike on the 17th.

Posted by
7687 posts

Sorry, I wasn't being very clear. The bill comes up in the parliament on June 17. the government and the unions are already in talks as the unions try to shape the bill more to their liking.

Judi -- it looks like they have eased their rules for exchanges, reimbursements, etc if your train is one that is cancelled because of the strike. For example, for the first couple of days of the strike, one TGV out of three was running. Now you might get lucky and yours is the one that runs -- great. But if you were on one of the ones that was cancelled, you would have the right to exchange your ticket or get a full reimbursement. The trick is that you have to go to an SNCF ticket window to get that reimbursement (exception: if you purchased an iDTGV ticket, those can always only be dealt with online).

Of course let's hope you don't have to worry about ANY of that, and on June 19th you can just Sally forth and jump on your TGV for Avignon with nary a care!!

Posted by
274 posts

Thanks for the info Kim. Meant to address my prior message to you, sorry. I'm supposed to go from Nimes to Paris and then on to Brussels on Saturday so I can fly home on Sunday. I'm praying Friday's the last day of the strike.

Posted by
7687 posts

David -- do you mean you need to make this trip tomorrow, as in Saturday the 14th? Or a week from now?

Posted by
7687 posts

They just voted to continue the strike over the weekend, French TV is announcing.

You'd better check your Nimes-Paris train at this link:

http://www.infolignes.com/index.php?lang=en

Today they were reporting that the Thalys trains (that is, those between Paris and Brussels) were operating normally, but of course you should check that one too.

If your train is one that's cancelled, you should see if they can get you on another train.

Posted by
7687 posts

They voted today to continue the strike tomorrow (Monday, June 16). Continue checking the links above (posted by George and by me) for information on specific trains.

Posted by
46 posts

Thank you for the update, Kim....you are my source and I keep checking RS and your posts.

Posted by
10344 posts

A public transportation strike, during your travel dates and where you are, well, it's not a welcome addition to your European vacation experience.
This just proves Ed is right: always rent a car in Europe.

Posted by
274 posts

I disagree. You don't always need a car. I've been traveling to Europe for almost 25 years, never had a car. And I managed to get from Nimes to Paris just fine Saturday, even if it was a little earlier than planned. Thanks for the updates Kim. Now if you can do something about my cancelled flight home from Brussels.

Posted by
8491 posts

Kim,
What's happening with thr RER and taxis?

Posted by
7687 posts

The RER is also affected, all lines except the RER A. That is, the # of trains to/from CDG airport continues to be drastically reduced.

Luckily the taxi strike was only that one day last week. Travel into Paris on the roads continues to be difficult, but not as bad as it was the day that that taxi drivers instituted "operation escargot". But the roads are still backed up because commuters have to drive in rather than take the train.

In my opinion, as long as this goes on, the best options to get into town from the airport are the Roissybus or the Cars AirFrance, depending on which neighborhood you're staying in. It might be a pain in the neck and a long trip, but the best option for now.

Posted by
7687 posts

They voted today (Monday 6/16) to continue the strike again tomorrow (Tuesday 6/17).

Only 14% of workers at the SNCF are striking, but they are still causing significant problems!!

Posted by
7205 posts

My new thought of France: Any country where I have to breathe a sigh of relief to get "out of" may not be worth my time, trouble and money to get in to in the first place. You'd better believe this latest round of taxi, rail and Air France strikes will affect my decision to return to France in the future!

Posted by
28069 posts

So @Tim, since Italy, France, England, Spain, Portugal and Greece all have their fair share of transportation strikes, where does that leave for you?

Posted by
7687 posts

Strike renewed again for Wednesday, June 18th.

Posted by
191 posts

A word of advice: marching strikers (anywhere) are not a "tourist attraction". You may be tempted to get up close (the noise, the colorful banners, the horns) but things can turn quickly (as happened outside the National Assembly in Paris yesterday) and tear gas and batons do not discriminate between strikers and tourists. Thanks again to Kim for the updates!

Posted by
2526 posts

Chronic transportation strikes in certain countries erode confidence in traveling there. I can live with a nuisance now and then, but major or continuous disruptions will easily encourage me to travel elsewhere. There's much more to Europe than the countries identified above.

Posted by
28 posts

To be fair, this is not a typical strike. I am not taking sides, but, France and the EU are changing the whole transportation system. Transportation management, working conditions, pensions and the like for people across the EU are affected-sometimes negatively. Unfortunately for those of us traveling, this may disrupt our travel plans. I agree with the people above who advise to steer clear of the protesters. I also will heed Rick's advise to monitor the situation and be flexible. Looks like we could be doing a lot of walking this summer. Vive le France!

Posted by
2526 posts

Can some explain what's going on with the strikes? Greedy unions, oppressive management, politicos on holiday (via autos)?

Posted by
28069 posts

@Bruce

Have a look at
http://www.france24.com/en/20140617-france-rail-strike-enters-seventh-day-lawmakers-debate-railway-reform-bill/

which summarizes it fairly well. France24 is generally respected worldwide - like a French BBC.

Basically, in your question, "B" and a huge amount of "NOT C".

The French government is trying to force through a law resulting in rail workers being in huge peril, and of very limited benefit for passengers. They are trying to get where the Germans and British have been for some time but doing it a completely different way and apparently not having learned the lessons learned.

If the bill is passed I see a summer of unpleasant turmoil.

Posted by
28069 posts

A vote was just announced that the strike will continue tomorrow, Thursday the 19th.

Posted by
26 posts

Does this strike effect trains from Calais o Paris? We are planning to be in Dover and take the ferry to Calais to Paris on the 18th of July but have to buy train tickets now. Thanks.

Posted by
28069 posts

@lm

If you stick with the train-ferry-long walk to the non-TGV Calais station-Paris by slow train plan it is possible you could be affected IF the strike is still on in a month (nobody can say when the strike will end but a month is an extremely long time) but you can't check more than a few days out.

If you were to return to Ashford, Ebbsfleet, or London and take the Eurostar you would likely be less affected. Sometimes Eurostar gets caught up in things but more usually is not directly affected.

My crystal ball doesn't stretch more than a couple of days at best.

Posted by
26 posts

@Nigel,
Thank you for your view. I will think about it. We wanted to do the long journey so we can see the countryside in France and we're not in a hurry.
I will keep my eye on this thread.

Posted by
1288 posts

Heads up: French air traffic controllers have voted to strike for six days starting Tuesday, June 24.

Posted by
7687 posts

Union workers in some cities have called off their strike, but most of the unions in the Paris/île de France area have voted to continue.

Train services have improved a lot since the first days of the strike, but there are still restricted services, especially on the RERB line to the CDG airport (now it's one out of every two normally scheduled trains rather than one out of four or five, for example). However, you should still check ahead to make sure your train is still running, and if so, when. Certain rail lines are still experiencing more difficulty than others.

Posted by
558 posts

Hi Kim,

Thanks for keeping us updated. I've never taken the trains before in France, so I have two questions I'm hoping you can help me with. I will be flying into CDG from the US, arriving Saturday the 28th. I want to take the RER B train all the way to the Port Royal stop (it's only a few minutes from my hotel). This is a novice question, but do I need to buy a ticket before I get to the airport for the RER B train (meaning online before I leave the US)? Originally, I was planning on just waiting for a train upon arrival. Can I still do that now, even if I need to wait much longer, due to the strike (e.g., before, maybe I only needed to wait 1/2 hour but with the strike I'll need to wait 1 -2 hours). Will these trains be so overcrowded that, I should have a ticket ahead of time?

Also, I will need to take a train from Gare Montparnesse to Chartres on Sunday the 29th to start my RS Tour. Is it likely these trains will be affected as well?

Thanks for any info you can give. As I stated, I've never taken trains in France before.

:)

Posted by
7687 posts

Trains are almost back to normal -- except in the area surrounding Paris known as the Île de France.

From the announcements for today's traffic (it's the suburban Paris trains, called Transilien, that are still experiencing the greatest difficulties as the rail workers in Paris continue to keep striking while their colleagues all over France vote to go back to work (Strasbourg today joined those voting to end the strike).

SAMEDI 21 JUIN. SATURDAY June 21

oGRANDES LIGNES:
Eurostar et Thalys: service normal
Axes Est et Nord: service normal
Axe Sud Est: proche de la normale
Axe Atlantique: 8 TGV sur 10
Province-Province: 7 TGV sur 10

oIntercités: 6 trains sur 10

oTER: 8 trains sur 10

oTransilien: 6 trains sur 10

DIMANCHE 22 JUIN. Sunday June 22

oGRANDES LIGNES:
Eurostar et Thalys: service normal
Axes Est et Nord: service normal
Axe Sud Est: service normal
Axe Atlantique: service normal
Province-Province: service normal

oIntercités: 7 trains sur 10

oTER: quasi normal

oTransilien: 6 trains sur 10

Posted by
7687 posts

Gretchen -- I think you'll be fine by next weekend (well as far as the trains go). I think the train strike will be over.

However, see the other thread that on Tuesday the 24th, a 6-day air traffic controllers' strike begins. Hopefully it won't affect your incoming flight, but it's always possible.

Posted by
31506 posts

@Gretchen,

I was going to reply to your questions by PM, but decided to reply here in case the answers might be useful to others.....

but do I need to buy a ticket before I get to the airport for the RER B train (meaning online before I leave the US)?

No, you can buy your ticket for the RER when you arrive in Paris. There's no benefit to buying online, and I'm not sure if that's possible. The ticket kiosks ONLY accept C&P credit cards or Euro coins, so without a C&P card you'll have to stand in the queue at the ticket office to buy tickets. You may find it helpful to have a look at the excellent Paris By Train website as they have lots of information on how to travel from CDG (including photos of the route to follow in the airport). Be sure to watch your luggage when on the RER as there could be scammers on board.

I was planning on just waiting for a train upon arrival. Can I still do that now, even if I need to wait much longer, due to the strike

As long as the strike isn't an issue, you likely won't have long to wait as there are frequent RER departures. Just buy a ticket when you arrive and then board the next train that's leaving.

Will these trains be so overcrowded that, I should have a ticket ahead of time?

The trains may or may not be crowded, depending on how many flights have arrived at about that time. There are no seat reservations for the RER, so you may end up standing for part of the trip, but in all likelihood you won't have any problem finding a seat. A few important notes from the Paris By Train website....

"Remember to keep your train ticket with you at all times throughout the journey. You may be asked by a ticket controller to show a valid fare or otherwise pay a penalty fare of 35€. The tickets are also required to exit the arrival station in Paris as there will be turnstiles protecting the exits, just as they protect entrances. Finally, your RER train ticket is also good for connections onto the Paris Metro and other RER train lines once you’ve arrived in Paris; There’s no need to purchase a separate Paris Metro/RER Ticket T+ for making connections within the city centre onto other Metro or RER trains (but not buses nor trams, which require a new ticket)."

I will need to take a train from Gare Montparnesse to Chartres on Sunday the 29th to start my RS Tour. Is it likely these trains will be affected as well?

Based on the information I'm reading here from Kim and others, it appears that the rail strike is winding down. No one can say for sure whether there will be disruptions on that route on 29 June, but there will probably still be some trains running even if there is strike action. Hopefully you won't have any problems.

Enjoy your tour!

Posted by
7687 posts

Ken explained it all so beautifully! I hope this reassures you, Gretchen!

Posted by
558 posts

Thanks Ken and Kim for your helpful answers.

Now all I have to worry about is the air traffic control strike. ;)