France sees nearly 100 trains cancelled each day

Oliver Gee
Oliver Gee - [email protected]
France sees nearly 100 trains cancelled each day
Photo: AFP

The French rail system is meant to be one of the best in the world but all is not well as scores of trains are cancelled each day due to a lack of drivers.


Retiring staff and unattractive working conditions mean there is a serious lack of train drivers in France, and it's the passengers who are losing out. 
Between 70 and 90 regional trains have been cancelled each day in France this year, reported Le Monde newspaper this week.
The cuts to the TER lines of the state-owned SNCF network began in the north of the country, and were continued in the southwest, then in the northeast. 
Future cuts are expected to be felt in the south east Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.  
Le Monde reported that a major problem has been that would-be retirees only need to give six months of notice before hanging up their hats, while it takes a full year to train drivers.
Photo: AFP
Jean-Claude Delarue from rail user group SOS-Usagers says the problem isn't just that people are retiring, it's also that people aren't interested in becoming a train driver. 
"Even though they have job security, working conditions and wages aren't very good," he told The Local. 
"They're working Saturdays, Sundays, late nights, early mornings. It means they're really having problems hiring train drivers across the whole country. 
"It's ridiculous to think of the number of trains which could operate - but which aren't, due to the lack of drivers. Something needs to be done."
He said that his group has already asked the government - the sole shareholder of the trains - to step in and make driving a more lucrative option, but said the requests continue to fall on deaf ears. 
The SNCF runs around 10,000 train journeys a day, meaning close to 1 percent of them are currently cancelled. 


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