Planning Train Travel

SNCF Strike & France Train Strike Dates 2024: Info and Best Tips to Survive

22/02/2024

Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
This article may contain compensated links. Please read disclaimer for more info.

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.

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.

Last update: 22 February 2024

Train Station in France

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 essential 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 2024

Train Strikes in France

The France rail strike dates 2024 shown in this article are officially confirmed. There are 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 at the 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: 

» Transportation strike by SNCF switchers in all of France from Friday, 23 February 2024, at 11 a.m. to Saturday, 24 February 2024, at 11 p.m.

» Transportation by SNCF Train Controllers in all of France from 16 February 2024 to 18 February 2024. Confirmed!

» In Paris and the Ile-de-France region, some SNCF trains with connections with RATP trains could be impacted by the RATP strike from 5 February 2024 to 9 September 2024. Waiting for information.

France Train Strikes – Description & Traffic Forecast

» Strike by SNCF switchers from Friday, 23 February 2024, at 11 a.m. to Saturday, 24 February 2024. The workers denounce their working conditions and a shortage of staff. According to the latest news, “in general, the train traffic will be almost normal on Friday and Saturday, with some localized disruptions. However, the mobilization risks being significant in the French Alps, the Paris region, and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.”

» Strike by SNCF train controllers from Friday, 16 February 2024, to Sunday, 18 February 2024. The reasons for the strike include demands for salary increases and better consideration of the end of career. There will be significant disruptions, with TGV train cancellations.

Generally, SNCF informs about the trains or train lines impacted 1-2 days before the strike date. Passengers on TGV or Intercités trains affected by the strike are usually contacted by SMS or email (if they have provided their contact details).

CLARIFICATION: When we write, for example, “2 trains out of 3 on average,” it means that 2/3 of the usual trains for that day will be working.

  • National TGV and INOUI trains: SNCF did not share specific information about TGV and INOUI trains. Passengers on canceled trains are usually warned by email or SMS.
    • Axe Nord TGV: the mobilization could be significant in the Paris region, with localized disruptions
    • Axe Est TGV: the mobilization could be significant in the Alps, with localized disruptions
    • Axe Atlantique TGV: the mobilization could be significant in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, with localized disruptions
    • Axe Sud Est TGV: the mobilization could be significant in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, with localized disruptions
    • TGV InOUI:
    • Province to province:
    • Classic Ouigo trains:
  • International Trains: SNCF did not share specific information about its trains traveling abroad. SNCF strikes could impact international lines.
    • Eurostar:
    • Thalys:
    • Lyria trains:
    • Connections with Germany:
    • Connections with Italy:
    • France – Spain:
  • TER trains: SNCF did not share specific information about regional trains. Mobilizations risk being important in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, in the Alps (Auvergne-Rhône Alpes), and in the Paris region. For more details, please check directly on the regional site (“info traffic,” then “grève”):
  • Intercities: SNCF did not share specific information about Intercités trains. However, the mobilization risks being significant in the French Alps, the Paris region, and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Passengers on canceled trains are usually warned by email or SMS
  • Transilien: no information. For more details, please check Transilien’s website
  • RER Trains (part of the line managed by SNCF): no information. The connection SNCF /RATP at Gare du Nord is maintained.
  • Night Trains: SNCF did not share specific information about night trains. However, the mobilization risks being significant in the French Alps, the Paris region, and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
  • 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.

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.

Are Deutsche Bahn Trains Impacted by a France Rail Strike?

Even if Deutsche Bahn is not on strike, any France rail strike could impact their ability to deliver the usual timetable for their France routes. Most of the time, TGV /ICE trains traveling from France to Germany or vice versa have a mixed SNCF + Deutsche Bahn crew.

Click on the TGV Lyria website for more information on TGV Lyria trains.

What to Do if There’s an SNCF Strike in France?

Transportation 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. However, it only takes one instance of having travel plans thwarted by an unexpected strike 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

France Train Travel

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 2024

Gare du Nord - Paris

OK. So there’s an SNCF strike, and you have planned /booked a train journey in France for precisely that day. What to do?

The bad news is that there are no ‘guaranteed minimum transport services when strikes are scheduled in France. Service depends mainly 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.

>>  Click here to browse the car companies operating in France

b- You Have Booked your Train Tickets with SNCF

First of all, don’t panic! Follow these simple steps:

1. Check the SNCF train status to see if your train is one of the canceled trains or not.

To do this, click on the SNCF website and then click on the ‘Train Number’ tab. 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 has not been 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 one of the canceled SNCF trains.

Oh no! This is too bad. If your train is canceled, SNCF proposes different solutions for this strike:

  • A free exchange on all TGVs where there is space until Monday, 19 February. There are still around 300,000 tickets for sale on the TGVs running
  • OR a 100% refund of the ticket price if you cancel your trip scheduled between Friday, 16 February, and Monday, 19 February, included
  • For the SNCF Transportation Strike from 16 February to 18 February 2024, an “exceptional” commercial measure has been decided in favor of passengers whose train will be canceled this weekend: they will receive a code allowing them to make their next trip at -50% of the price, provided they book it within 30 days.

If, for any reason, your ticket is stated as “non-refundable” or the website does not propose a total refund (please verify this before the last click), contact them directly with your ticket reference number.

If you booked your train with Ouigo trains, contact them directly for an exchange or refund.

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

Air Strikes France

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 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.

>>  Click here to browse the car companies operating at Charles de Gaulle Airport

Click here to read more about Train Travel in France

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