New Paris to Normandy train line: Have your say

A new train line will one day make it quicker and easier for residents in Normandy to get to and from Paris. The thousands of British expats living across Normandy can have their say on which route the line will take.

New Paris to Normandy train line: Have your say
A new Paris to Normandy line is to be built and you can have your say. Photo: AFP

French rail operator SNCF has launched what has been described as an “unprecedented consultation” to work out the route of the new Paris to Normandy train line.

The current train routes that link the region to the capital have been blighted by problems and earlier this month passengers on the Le Havre-Rouen-Paris line went “on strike” and refused to buy tickets.

The constant delays, cancelled trains, and breakdowns are the reason SNCF wants to build a new line.

As well as the new Paris-Rouen-Le Havre line there will also be a new line that links the capital to the town of Caen and then Cherbourg.

Three sections of the line have been deemed priority: Paris to Mantes, Mantes to Evreaux and Rouen to Yvetot, which will be ready “before 2030” while works on the rest of the line will be completed after 2030.

Rail chiefs say the new line will bring the journey time from Rouen to Paris down to 50 minutes from the current 1 hour 7 minutes on a good day, and from Caen to Paris down to one hour, with the current average journey time being 2 hours and 4 minutes.

But the exact route will no doubt be a source of controversy, given the environmental and heritage concerns in certain areas, which is why SNCF is trying to involve the public.

SNCF has set up an interactive map, which users can create a log in and study before leaving their opinion.

Pictograms are included to highlight specific areas that need preserving and users are invited to leave comments. The map will be open until January 2016.

SNCF say they have identified the zone through which the future line will pass and narrowed it down to an area stretching approximately 10 km across, but they want the public consultation to help them reduce this area down to around 1 to 3 km.

The final exact route will then be pinpointed by SNCF.

One reader of The Local and one time regular user of the Paris Normandy service doubts whether the planned new line will really improve the situation passengers.

“I spent three years in Caen and I can certify that yes, it's that bad,” said Talvi Wasp Gattaca.

“And what they're planning to do won't make anything better, especially if the prices rise while the work is undergoing and therefore causing more problems.

“Western France in general is really badly connected to the rest of the country, and it's scandalous.

A series of public meetings will also be held in Rouen, Le Havre and Evreux.

Do you regularly travel by train from Paris to Normandy? Is it that bad?



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Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.