France rolls out new security gates for its TGV high-speed trains

The Montparnasse train station in southern Paris has installed new security gates, with all the major train stations across France to soon follow its lead.

France rolls out new security gates for its TGV high-speed trains
Photo: AFP
The ticket scanners, known as portiques, similar to those on the Paris Metro are being installed in a bid to boost security on France's trains but also to fight against ticket fraud.
The machines are also meant to save time and ease passage for travellers, although some fear they will simply lead to delays in the departure of trains.
The gates, which are already installed in Montparnasse station in Paris, will come into use on Tuesday.
Rail operator SNCF has said the gates will eventually be installed at Gare de Lyon and gare de l’Est in Paris, as well as at stations in Marseille, Rennes, Nantes, at the Aix-TGV stations, at Lyon-Perrache and Part-Dieu, Bordeaux, Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, and Tours.
SNCF ticket conductors will still operate on the trains however to check the validity of passengers discount cards, if they have them that is.
The security gates are however not the same as the full x-ray scanners, like those seen at airports, that were installed at Gare du Nord for the Thalys line that serves Brussels and Amsterdam.
The gates, that were installed at Gare du Nord in December 2015 after the Paris terror attacks, came at an estimated cost of €2.5 million a year, but experts said they were a waste of money that would do nothing to deter terrorists.
“The terrorists will say ok, if you are going to control security on the trains, then we will just target the Metro or the buses,” French terror expert Francois-Bernard Huyge told The Local at the time. 
“They can make their choice of target. I'm afraid it will still happen.”

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French trains ditch plastic water bottles

French national train operator SNCF has announced it will no longer sell water in plastic bottles on its services, saying the move would reduce the waste from roughly two million drinks.

French train bars will no longer be able to see plastic bottles of water.
French train bars will no longer be able to see plastic bottles of water. Photo: BERTRAND LANGLOIS / AFP.

The plastic packaging will be replaced with recyclable cardboard for still water and aluminium for sparkling.

“Plastic is no longer fantastic,” head of consumer travel operations at the SNCF, Alain Krakovitch, wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

France has gradually increased restrictions on single-use packaging to help reduce waste amid growing evidence about the impact of plastic on sea life in particular.

The government announced on Monday that plastic packaging will be banned for nearly all fruit and vegetables from January next year.

The environment ministry said that 37 percent of fruit and vegetables were sold with plastic packaging, and only the most fragile produce such as strawberries will be given an exemption on the ban until 2026.

“We use an outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that it was working to cut back “the use of throwaway plastic and boost its substitution by other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging.”

Last year, France passed a wide-ranging “circular economy” law to combat waste that forbids retailers from destroying unsold clothes and will ban all single-use plastic containers by 2040.

Paris city authorities announced this week that they were aiming to eliminate all plastic from state day-care centres, canteens and retirement homes by 2026.