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Train strike recap: which trains are running this weekend in France?

Up to 60% of TGVs, international services and Intercités are cancelled. We explain who is striking, why, how to check trains, and how to get a refund

A photo of SNCF workers on a train platform

Ticket inspectors at SNCF are on strike this weekend, with many international services affected Pic: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock

Up to 60% of TGV trains and Intercités services are cancelled this weekend, due to ticket inspector strikes. We recap which trains are running and how to check or get a refund.

Who is striking?

Tickets inspectors (contrôleurs) working for the SNCF. The strike is supported by the major unions including Unsa-Ferroviaire, SUD-Rail, CFDT-Cheminots, and FO-Cheminots, but not the CGT.

Nicolas Limon, member of the Collectif national ASCT (CNA), a collective founded on Facebook in September that already has 3,000 members, said that support among workers is high.

He said: “In total, more than 80% are on strike and more than 90% for the TGVs. It’s unprecedented.”

Why are they striking? 

The workers have decided to strike all weekend to fight for better recognition of their position. Without them, the trains cannot run. As well as checking tickets, contrôleurs are also responsible for the train’s smooth journey and the safety of the passengers.

Rénald Szpitalnik, SUD-Rail representative and contrôleur on the TGV Paris-Milan line, said: “Management hasn’t grasped.the magnitude of our grievances.”

When is the strike?

It started today (December 2), and will last all weekend, up to and including Sunday, December 4.

A “gradual return” to service is expected from Monday, December 5, with three-quarters of TGVs set to be back up and running from that morning. 

Which trains will be affected?

Up to 60% of TGV trains and Intercités services. The Atlantic line and Ouigo services will be particularly affected, with just one in four trains running.

  • 25% of trains on the TGV Atlantique
  • 25% of Ouigo trains
  • 33% of trains on the TGV Est
  • 33% of trains on the TGV Sud-Est
  • 50% of trains on the TGV Nord line

TER trains are running normally and are not affected by the social movement.

Internationally, SNCF is forecasting: 

  • No services towards Spain
  • 33% of trains towards Switzerland
  • 33% towards Italy
  • 50% towards Germany
  • Normal service on Eurostar and Thalys

How can I check if my train is running? 

SNCF has already contacted passengers whose trains have been cancelled to let them know. You should have received a message via email or text. 

You can also check which trains are running on the SNCF website, using the SNCF Connect app, or by telephone on 3635. 

Will tickets be refunded?

All travellers can get a refund for their train tickets for journeys booked for December 2-5 inclusive, no matter which service, and whether their train was cancelled or not. 

Exchange of tickets without fees is also possible if seats are free on another service, for journeys until Thursday, December 8 inclusive.

What has been SNCF’s response?

The workers’ collective has been seen twice by management, but without any concrete advances, the unions say.

In an interview, CEO of SNCF, Jean-Pierre Farandou, said: “This is a strike that we didn’t see coming, neither us nor the unions.”

Are other social movements planned?

The contrôleur collective and unions have already posted strike notices for the weekends at Christmas and New Year, to put pressure on SNCF.

But the unions said: “We will do everything we can so that there will not be a strike at Christmas.”            

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