Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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SNCF Strike & France Train Strike Dates 2023: Info and Best Tips to Survive12/10/2023
Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
About Train Strikes in France
The best way to get around France is by train. The French rail network connects just about every major city in France, is efficient and often includes spectacular countryside views. If you know a few simple tips about using trains in France, then it’s an absolute breeze.
Sometimes, however, trains in France go on strike, which is a real pain for locals and tourists alike.
Train strikes in France can be a major inconvenience for travelers, especially if caught off-guard. However, these French rail strikes are scheduled in advance, and dates and times are announced and posted online. This means you can find out about them, in some cases, before you even leave home.
Last update: 12 October 2023, 8:00 p.m.
Is there a France train strike tomorrow? What to do if traveling during an SNCF strike or French train strike?
Go on reading; this article gives information about train strikes in France dates and our best tips on how to deal with these strikes.
SNCF Strike or TGV Strike Does not Necessarily Mean France Train Strike
Different trains and train companies operate in France. SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français) is France’s national state-owned railway company, so most of the trains running in France are SNCF trains (TGV trains and other types of trains).
Other train companies are operating in France, especially for international travel. Some examples include RER trains in the Parisian Region (operated by RATP), Thalys, Eurostar, or Deutsche Bahn. Therefore, it’s important to understand that when there’s a France train strike, not all the trains running in France are necessarily on strike.
When there’s a general strike in France, SNCF trains and RATP trains are usually impacted by this strike.
France Rail Strike Dates 2023
The France rail strike dates 2023 shown in this article are officially confirmed. No rumors, no crystal ball about any train strike in France.
Unfortunately, some SNCF strike dates are confirmed only 24 hours before negotiations with the French State fail. But the unions can also cancel the strike last minute if they find an agreement. This means that when there’s a train strike in France, it is necessary to check about this strike until the last minute.
» SCHEDULED SNCF STRIKE OR OTHER TRAIN STRIKES IN FRANCE:
SNCF strike in all of France on 13 October 2023 as part of the General Interprofessional Strike.
The demands behind this General Strike in France on 13 October 2023 are numerous and concern, among other things, salaries, gender equality, social minimums, etc.
GENERAL AND NATIONALSTRIKES | Strikes have been taking place in France since mid-January to prevent the Government’s pension reform from coming into force. The unions expect a “massive mobilization” with the participation of all sectors.
Unsurprisingly, the executive’s choice to draw article #49.3* of the French Constitution on 16 March 2023 to have its pension reform adopted aroused the ire of the opposition and the unions. The unions quickly met and decided on a new day of National General Strike on Thursday, 23 March 2023, 28 March 2023, Thursday, 6 April 2023, and Thursday, 13 April 2023.
France Train Strikes – Description & Traffic Forecast
13 October 2023 | Three unions within SNCF (CGT, Sud Rail, CFDT) have called to strike as part of the General Strike. Later, the Unsa-Ferroviaire union also joined this call for mobilization.
This transportation strike within SNCF will impact TER (regional trains) and Transiliens mainly, but also Intercités.
Generally, SNCF informs about the trains or train lines impacted 1-2 days before the strike date. Passengers on TGV or Intercités trains impacted by the strike are usually contacted by SMS or email (if they have provided their contact details).
- National TGV and INOUI trains: train traffic will be “almost normal.” Passengers on canceled trains are usually warned by email or SMS.
- Axe Nord TGV:
- Axe Est TGV:
- Axe Atlantique TGV:
- Axe Sud Est TGV:
- TGV InOUI:
- Province to province:
- International Trains: normal traffic. SNCF strikes could impact international lines.
- Lyria trains:
- Connections with Germany:
- Connections with Italy:
- France – Spain:
- TER trains: disruptions are to be expected. For more details, please check directly on the regional site (“info traffic,” then “grève”):
- Intercities: disruptions are to be expected. Passengers on canceled trains are usually warned by email or SMS
- Transilien: 2 trains out of 3 on lines H, L, U, and R; 3 trains out of 4 on line N. For more details, please check Transilien’s website
- RER Trains (part of the line managed by SNCF): 2 trains out of 3 on RER C and D.
- Night Trains: no information.
- Tramway lines: no information.
Are Eurostar Trains Impacted by a French Rail Strike?
Even if Eurostar trains are not on strike, any French railway strike could impact their ability to deliver the usual timetable for their train routes in France.
Click here for more information on Eurostar’s impacts and what to do if your journey is affected.
If your train is canceled, you can exchange your ticket or get a refund here.
Are Thalys Trains Impacted by a France Train Strike?
Even if Thalys trains are not on strike, any France train strike could impact their ability to deliver the usual timetable for their France routes.
Click here for more information on Thalys’ impacts and what to do if your journey is affected.
Are TGV Lyria Trains Impacted by a France Rail Strike?
Even if TGV Lyria trains are not on strike, any France rail strike could impact their ability to deliver the usual timetable for their France routes.
Click on the TGV Lyria website for more information on TGV Lyria trains.
What to Do if There’s an SNCF Strike in France?
We cannot say that in France, train strikes are infrequent. From time to time, they happen. You might be lucky and travel around France many times without ever dealing with a transportation strike in France. But it only takes one instance of having travel plans thwarted by an unexpected strike, however, to ruin a trip. These are our top tips for dealing with a TGV strike or any other SNCF strike.
a- Learn About the SNCF Strike Dates in Advance
The good news is that France schedules its strikes in advance, meaning there are some ways you can avoid dealing with them entirely, even if you already have your train tickets.
There are many ways to learn about French train strikes: newspapers, radio, or even travel blogs like this one!
By checking the France train strike schedule beforehand, you may be able to adjust travel plans or avoid traveling during the day when the strike will take place.
b- Understand What Kind of Trains are on Strike in France
As mentioned above, a train strike in France does not mean the whole French rail network is on strike. Is it an SNCF strike? What kind of trains are on strike? What kind of train have you booked?
Tips for Getting Around During an SNCF Strike in France 2023
OK. So there’s an SNCF strike, and you have planned /booked a train journey in France for exactly that day. What to do?
The bad news is that when strikes are scheduled in France, there are no ‘guaranteed minimum transport services.’ Service depends mostly on what (trains) and who (drivers) are available. In other words, if SNCF wants to shut down all its services, it can do it.
a- You Have not Booked your SNCF Train Tickets yet
Usually, as soon as SNCF strike dates are announced, these dates are blocked in the train reservation system, so users won’t be able to book an SNCF train for those dates anymore.
Review your travel plans or find an alternative means of transportation (for example, renting a car) for reaching your destination during these train strike dates. Check out our top tips for renting a car in France.
b- You Have Booked your Train Tickets with SNCF
First of all, don’t panic! Follow these simple steps:
1. Check on the SNCF train status, if your train is one of the canceled trains or not.
To do this, click on the SNCF website and then click on the tab ‘Train Number.’ Enter your train number (it’s marked on the ticket) and your travel date. The system will tell you immediately the status of your train.
2. The SNCF train status says your train is not canceled.
If your train is not canceled, don’t worry! There may be some disruptions or delays, but you should be ok.
3. The SNCF train status says your train is part of the SNCF canceled trains.
Oh no! This is too bad. If your train is canceled, SNCF proposes different solutions:
- You can exchange your train ticket at no extra cost. Just follow the instructions shown on this page and –very important – verify before the last click that you don’t have to pay anything.
- You can cancel your trip and get a refund. If you prefer to be refunded, follow the instructions shown on this page.
- If your ticket is stated as ‘non-refundable’ or the website does not offer you a total refund (please verify this before the last click!), stop everything you are doing and contact them directly with your ticket reference number.
- If you booked your train with Ouigo trains, contact them directly for an exchange or refund (sorry, no page in English found).
GOOD TO KNOW: For the past train strikes, the SNCF contacted by email or SMS the travelers of the canceled TGV and Intercités trains to offer them a refund (including for tickets normally non-refundable) or an exchange for a later date.
These conditions apply only in case of cancellation of the train. For the trains that were circulating normally at the time of the strike, the normal exchange and refund conditions applied.
4. What if your train arrives at the destination late because of a train strike?
For TGV, Intercités, OuiGO lines, and international lines, passengers are entitled to compensations ranging from 25% to 75% of the ticket price depending on the length of the delay (minimum delay for compensation is 30 minutes).
The requests for compensation for delayed TGV and Intercité trains are treated on this site: https://garantie30minutes.sncf.com/s/?language=en_US
Airport – Paris Train Strike
GOOD TO KNOW: trains from Paris Airports to Paris city center are operated half by SNCF (from CDG Airport to Paris Gare du Nord) and half by RATP (from Paris Gare du Nord to Orly Airport). This means that when a train on this line arrives at Paris Gare du Nord, there’s a swap of train drivers. If there’s an SNCF strike or a RATP strike, expect some disruptions in one of the two sections. Also, the interconnection SNCF – RATP might be suspended.
If you are traveling from Charles de Gaulle Airport or Orly Airport to the city during a Paris train strike, there are two good alternatives to avoid this train hassle:
» Consider Welcome‘s transfer services for private transportation from the airport to the city. Welcome has good cars and the best English-speaking drivers in Paris. This service is ideal for groups, families with kids, and couples.
» You can also book a shared transportation service with Viator. This service is just 6€ more for your peace of mind (the ticket from Paris CDG to the city costs 12€).
We recommend booking these services in advance, especially during holidays or the high season, when many people travel.
» We don’t recommend calling an Uber. During transportation strikes, Uber usually increases their prices considerably, while taxis have a flat rate from the airport to the city all the time.
TGV Strike – Paris CDG Airport to Other Cities in France
The TGV train station located at Charles de Gaulle Airport allows visitors to travel to other parts of France without going through Paris. Top routes from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) T2 include Strasbourg, Rennes, Nantes, Lyon, Lille, or Marseille.
If there’s a TGV strike and your TGV train departing from the airport is canceled, we recommend renting a car at Charles de Gaulle Airport as soon as possible. There is also the bus option, which implies traveling to Paris to catch the bus.