TGV lines may be axed to save cash

SNCF considers axing loss-making TGV lines - while two rail unions call nationwide day of strike action for February 3

18 January 2010

THE SNCF is looking to cut a number of cross-country TGV services by the end of this year to save money, it has emerged.

Les Echos reveals today that routes from Strasbourg to Nantes, Bordeaux and Lille are among those being carefully examined by rail bosses.

According to the paper, long-distance travel has been a cash cow for the SNCF for several years but a drop in profits is expected to be announced today, forcing the operator to "seriously look again at its economic model". Some lines could be axed entirely.

A source told the paper that about 20% of TGV services are loss-making, and there are fears this could rise to 30% in the coming year.

The news comes two months after the French national audit office, the Cour des Comptes, published a report looking at the viability of local TER services around France.
It found that a number of rural services were operating near-empty and it would be cheaper and more environmentally friendly to axe them and run buses instead.

Strike

Meanwhile, France's biggest rail union has announced it is planning a one-day national strike on February 3.

CGT-Cheminots has called the action over a proposal by the SNCF to cut 1,400 jobs this year. Another union, Unsa, is supporting the action and two others, the CFDT and Sud Rail, will decide later this week.

The www.infolignes.com website provides live running details for TGV and Corail trains. For local TER services, see www.ter-sncf.com

If you live near a major mainline railway station, you can get see the latest departure and arrival boards, with details of delays, at www.gares-en-mouvement.com

Related stories:
Rail travel: where to find the best deals
TGV ticket prices up 2%
SNCF to refund delayed trains
Rural trains could be axed for buses

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