My friend and I are currently in Spain and were planning to head to Switzerland tomorrow on a night train. Unfortunately, the French trains are on strike. We have reservations in every city and this could really throw things out of whack. Any suggestions on what to do or information on how long the strikes typically last? Thanks so much for your help!
I just read this on another site:
The industrial action will begin this evening at 20:00 and continue until Friday morning, ending at 08:00.
but oddly I have not read anything anywhere else about it....
I got caught in a strike last year. I went from Genoa hoping to get off in Nice but it didn't happen. The train stopped at the border and we all had to get off. We were told the trains would go back the next morning but like you I was locked into hotel bookings etc. I ended up getting a cab. Expensive but convenient. From what I heard the trains did resume the time they had stated the next day. I think the French are fairly orderly with their industrial action. Can't guarantee this though. I think you'll need a contingency plan. Good luck.
I'm not up on my French unions, but they were doing this when we had a sleeper car booked from Florence to Paris. What happened then was they cancelled the car, put us on a regular car (not nearly the comfort) and worked a skeleton crew of Italians all the way to Paris. Who knows? Good luck
One thing you should consider is that there can be strikes over multiple days. When I was in Europe in 2003, I got stuck overnight in the Amsterdam train station due to a strike that shut down the night train from A'dam to Paris (we stayed up all night playing card games). The strike ended the next morning, so we all took the first train out.
However, four days later another strike was in the air. I was going to try for a night train from Paris to Barcelona (I was on my way to Madrid and Leon for a Spanish friend's wedding). But because of the 2nd strike, I changed my itinerary and took the Eurostar to London (the Eurostar appears to be under different management, so it wasn't threatened by the strike). While still in Paris, I booked an EasyJet flight from London Gatwick to Madrid. I made it to the wedding on time!
My point: be flexible and adaptable, and you'll be OK. Think outside of the transportation box and consider other ways of getting to your destinations. Good luck!