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France

Paris rail chaos continues for third day

© Lionel Bonaventure, AFP | Travellers arrive at Montparnasse train station in Paris on July 31, 2017, a day after traffic was interrupted due to technical reasons.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-08-01

Rail traffic continues to be disrupted at one of Paris’s main railway stations on Tuesday, straining holidaymakers’ patience. However, authorities say they have now finally identified the source of the problem.

France’s national rail provider SNCF says that three-quarters of its high-speed TGV trains to and from Paris’s Montparnasse station would, on average, run on Tuesday. Some trains usually scheduled to depart from Paris-Montparnasse will instead be re-routed to the city’s Paris-Austerlitz station further east, it said.

On Sunday, would-be passengers at the French capital’s Montparnasse station found all trains heading for popular holiday destinations such as Brittany and destinations in southwest France had been cancelled. Huge crowds of frustrated travellers were left without information for hours on Sunday as information screens went blank at the key train station. The SNCF initially announced that there would be a gradual return to normal service on Monday, but disruptions continued as the rail company struggled to find the cause of the electrical failure.

Early Tuesday morning, after closing Paris-Montparnasse station between 10pm and 6am and mobilising 50-odd technicians to investigate, the SNCF announced that it had finally pinpointed the source of the problem, tweeting that it was due to “defective insulation on an electrical installation”. The rail company said repairs began overnight Monday and into Tuesday morning and would have to continue overnight Tuesday.

According to the SNCF website, travellers who were unable to board their trains during the disruption have sixty days to obtain a full reimbursement, regardless of the fare rules indicated on their tickets.

Failed to keep travellers informed?

SNCF claimed that they sent text messages and emails to customers to inform of the disruption and kept the website updated.

However, some travellers have informed FRANCE 24 that SNCF failed to inform them that their train was cancelled and that the website was not up-to-date. Joanne Henrion told FRANCE 24, “My husband, myself and our dog had TGV reservations for Sunday night. I did check the SNCF site and there was no problem. At Gare Vendome Villiers [a town south-west of Paris], the train was cancelled. The SNCF clerk gave us two tickets for any train for today. Then the 8:41 train was half an hour late.” Henrion went on to say that SNCF did not send her a text or email to inform her of the problems.

The problems come at a particularly inconvenient time as trains are typically packed with holidaymakers seeking to avoid the infamous holiday traffic jams that clog France’s motorways.

Has you Paris train be cancelled or delayed? Contact us through the tweet below or on our Facebook page.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

 

Date created : 2017-08-01

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