Commuters in Paris urged to avoid trains as two-day rail strike begins

Paris commuters are urged to avoid travelling into the capital by train in the run up to the weekend, with regular RER and regional Transilien services cut by third, on average, due to a two-day strike.

Stationary French Transilien regional railway network trains
Photo: Eric Piermont / AFP

The CGT-Cheminots union issued a strike notice for Thursday, December 16th and Friday, December 17th, in protest at what one rail worker at Gare du Nord described as ‘excess pressure on station positions: ticket agents, information points’.

“For Thursday, December 16, we recommend that travellers limit their trips as much as possible, with an average of 2 out of 3 trains running,” SNCF said in a statement.

RER traffic forecasts for Thursday are as follows: 

RER A: normal service;

RER B: Three out of four trains will operate;

RER C: One train in three is expected to run;

RER D: 1 train out of 3 with bus between Corbeil-Malesherbes, Corbeil-Melun and Corbeil-Juvisy via Ris-Orangis. No RER D between Gare-de-Lyon and Châtelet-les-Halles. A replacement bus service has been set up between Corbeil-Essonnes and Juvisy via Ris-Orangis, between Corbeil Essonnes and Malesherbes and between Corbeil-Essonnes and Melun.

RER E: One train in two will be cancelled.

For up-to-date information on RER services in the capital, click HERE

Meanwhile, Transilien rail services will be “highly disturbed” on line R, “very disturbed” on lines N and U, and “disturbed” on lines H and P, SNCF said. 

The travel forecast is as follows:

Line H:Two out of three trains will operate. A replacement bus service has been set up between Creil and Pontoise;

Lines J and L: normal service;

Line P: Four trains out of five will run on average;

Line R: One scheduled service in three will run on average. A replacement bus service has been set up between Melun and Montereau via Héricy;

Lines N and U: One train in two will be cancelled;

Tramway T11: Trams will run every 23 minutes;

T4: normal service.

For up-to-date information on Transilien services, click HERE

RATP networks except RER B, which it runs in partnership with SNCF, are unaffected.

Arnaud Bertrand, president of the association Plus de Trains which campaigns for improved rail services, called on travellers who can telecommute to do so. “We’ll need to leave room for employees who can’t do anything else but go to their workplace,” he told Le Parisien.

“This strike comes at a time when Île-de-France mobilités is still operating a reduced service due to the health crisis.”

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France’s SNCF to offer high-speed passenger links in Italy

French national rail operator SNCF said on Wednesday it planned to offer high-speed passenger services in neighbouring Italy from 2026, competing with rival Trenitalia on its home turf.

France's SNCF to offer high-speed passenger links in Italy

“Italy is a natural market for high speed, with 56 million passengers per year,” said Alain Krakovitch, head of intercity TGV (high-speed train) services at SNCF Voyageurs.

“But it’s a market that’s yet to mature, with many passengers still to bring in.”

SNCF plans eventually to offer nine daily return services between Turin, Milan, Rome and Naples, as well as four Turin-Venice trains.

The French heavyweight moved into Spain with intercity services in 2021, and has seen Trenitalia itself look to pick up business in France on the profitable Paris-Lyon line.

SNCF hopes to claim 15 percent of the Italian high-speed market within a decade, or 10 million passengers per year.

In Spain, it has built its passenger base to 20 percent with its low-cost Ouigo service.

European business already accounts for one-third of SNCF’s annual high-speed revenues, or €3 billion.

The publicly owned firm is also responding to explosive demand for rail travel at home in France.

READ MORE: MAP: Where high-speed trains can take you in France