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Trains and flights hit by French transport strike

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Trains and flights hit by French transport strike
Photo: AFP
07:28 CEST+02:00
Paris commuters along with rail and air passengers around France were facing disruption and delays due to strikes by transport workers on Thursday. Here's all the latest.

Main details:

  • Three quarters of Metro services running in Paris
  • RER and Francilien commuter trains running half of usual services
  • 20 percent of flights cancelled out of Paris Orly airport
  • Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to see delays rather than cancellations
  • Nearly 400km of traffic jams on roads around Paris
  • TGV services and regional TER trains also hit by strike
  • This useful map shows walking times between Metro stations in Paris
  • Protests planned around the country against labour reforms
  • Eiffel Tower closed as workers join strike
  • Good luck

Thursday promises to be a challenging day for many who have to travel around France and particularly Paris.

In the capital, a transport workers' strike motivated by a pay dispute with operator RATP that began on Wednesday night means one quarter of the usual Metro services won't be running on Thursday.

And the disruption is even worse for commuter trains around the Paris region

Transport chiefs have announced that the RER A and B commuter lines will be the worst hit, with only one in two trains running as normal. Passengers will be forced to change trains at the Nanterre-Préfecture station on the A line, and at Gare du Nord on the line B.

Commuters should prepare for delays, not least considering these two lines alone serve around 900,000 passengers a day. 

The RER lines D and E will also only run at 50 percent of the usual services, while RER C will only run a third of the number of trains.

Other commuter services that serve Paris also face disruption (Lines H,J,R,U,L,N,P, K).

This will affect those travelling to and from the city's two airports - Charles de Gaulles and Orly - which are both served by the RER B. Passengers are advised to give themselves plenty of time to get to the airports.

There is also the knock-on effect on the roads with reports of 400km of traffic jams in and around Paris at around 9am on Thursday.

Although bus and tram services in Paris are not affected by the strike, numerous services will be affected by the planned march between Place d'Italie and Place de la Nation.

The lines affected are : 20-24-26-27-29-46-47-56-57-61-63-64-65-67-83-86-87-89-91 and 351.

The strike by RATP workers in Paris comes on the same day as the latest nationwide day of action in protest against the government's planned labour reforms.

The protest means that it won't just be transport services in the capital that face disruption.

While services on the TGV line that runs from Paris to the east of France will not be affected, only three out of four TGV trains will be running on the line from the capital to the Atlantic coast and the south east.

Only 50 percent of TGV trains will be running from Paris to the north of the country.

Intercity and TER trains will also only be running around half their usual services around the country, although in reality the situation may be even worse in certain parts of  the country like the south east.

Eurostar trains and other international services however will not be affected by the strike.

Local transport in towns and cities across the country is also likely to be hit, just as in Bordeaux where tram and bus services were badly affected.

Flights also hit

It's not just train and Metro services affected by Thursday's strike.

With air traffic controllers also joining the nationwide walk-out, hundreds of flights have had to be cancelled. It's the 43rd day of industrial action by French air traffic controllers since 2009 and comes just over a week after their last two-day strike.

Aviation authorities have asked airlines to ground 20 percent of their flights out of Orly airport in Paris. Air France says it will guarantee long haul flights and 80 percent of its internal flights. The airline said it would operate only 65 percent of its flights to and from Marseille.

Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris won't see cancellations but airport chiefs are warning of delays.

Elsewhere, in the northern town of Le Havre striking port workers set up a blockade of the town in the early morning.

 

Transport is only one area affected by Thursay's national day of protest against the labour reforms as school pupils and students, hospital workers in Paris, postal workers and members of the press and TV also on strike.

Postal services and TV scheduling will likely be disrupted. While printers also joining the strike means there'll be no copies of French newspapers on Thursday.

 

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