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France: Rail strike

French rail strike underway. 40pct. of high-speed trains cancelled. Other services cut in half. Trains to Italy and Spain affected. Eurostar running normally.


Transport chaos hit France on Wednesday, just nine days before the Euro 2016 football tournament, as railway workers went on strike.


Around half of France’s trains were cancelled as workers from railway operator SNCF launched their eighth strike in three months, this time saying they will continue until demands for better pay and conditions are met.


SNCF was asking passengers to delay or cancel their trips, but many had no choice.


“It’s a nightmare today — even more than the other strike days,” said Christine, an SNCF worker surveying the chaos at Ormesson station in the Paris suburbs, where commuters were struggling to squeeze on to one of the few trains that had shown up.


SNCF said that around 17 percent of workers had joined the industrial action – up from the 10 percent who took part in last week’s strike.


The industrial action saw around 60 percent of France’s high-speed TGV trains running. In the Paris region only around 50 percent of the commuter Transilien trains were operating. Transilien line R was said to be the worst hit with only 10 percent of trains running.


The RER A service in Paris was running as normal, but RER B, D and E services were to operate at a third of the normal service. The RER C service will be slightly better.


Elsewhere in the country only 45 percent of Intecité trains will be running. Eurostar services will run as normal as will Alleo services to Germany.


International trains to Switzerland, Thalys services to Belgium and the Netherlands and Ellipsos services to Spain will all be hit. Passengers are advised to check with the rail company.


France has seen a number of rail strikes in recent weeks, which have all impacted on services although the most recent, a two-day strike which took place last week, saw a drop in turn out.

However the three main unions representing rail workers – the CGT, Unsa and SUD-rail are promising a “strong mobilisation” for the rolling strike that will take full effect from Wednesday morning, while other transport strikes are set to take place later in the week. Read more: