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TRAVELLING TO FRANCE

Trains across France delayed and cancelled due to unexpected strike

Trains across France are severely disrupted on Friday after the network was hit by unexpected strike action.

Trains across France delayed and cancelled due to unexpected strike
Photo: AFP

The last-minute strike was announced on Thursday evening and is over safety concerns following an accident, say unions.

In Paris this is affecting the RER suburban trains, which are run by SNCF. These connect Paris to the suburbs and also the city's main airports to Gare du Nord.

“Following an unexpected industrial action, traffic is very disrupted throughout the line,” explained SNCF.

 

The Metro, which is run by RATP, is not affected.

In Lyon no trains are leaving from Perrache and there are limited services from Part-Dieu while regions across the country have seen delays and cancellations to the TER local services network.

Due to the last-minute nature of the strike, there will be changes throughout the day as SNCF struggle to provide a service – passengers are advised to either postpone their trip or check on the SNCF website for disruptions ahead of travel. 

Although there have been several strikes recently over the ongoing issue of pension reform, this industrial action is not related to that, say unions.

The reason for the last-minute strike was given as safety concerns after an incident in Ardennes in eastern France.

A train carrying 70 passengers hit a lorry at a level crossing in Saint-Pierre-sur-Vence.

 

The CGT union said the incident could have had “dramatic consequences”.

A union official told Le Parisien: “The driver was alone and isolated and had to handle a multitude of regulatory procedures and manage users, including several pregnant women, all in a state of shock.” 

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

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.

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